Playing safe and not sorry is the best option
Wednesday 19 July 2000
By Keiron Root
By Keiron Root
19 July 2000
Warrants and Value Investment Trust, run by Scottish Value Management, is the only investment trust in the UK focusing on a portfolio of warrants.
They work in a similar way to options and are linked to individual shares. A warrant confers on the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy shares at a fixed price on a specific date, or during a specified period, after which the warrant expires.
There is a stable of trusts at Scottish Value, a company set up in 1990 to manage funds in line with the principles of "value investing". The trust's manager, Donald Robertson, was involved at the start of the company, with the firm's founders, Colin McLean and Margaret Lawson, and has managed the trust since its launch in 1993. The rationale behind the trust is to allow investors access to the warrant market while lessening the risks of investing in individual warrants.
"Since warrants are a wasting asset, it is important to mitigate against asset losses and we do this by imposing a rigid stop-loss policy," says Mr Robertson. "The drawback of such a defensive stance is that, when you do get a very positive move up in the equity market, you tend not to participate fully in all of the gain.
"We don't worry necessarily if a warrant heads down, if it still has a reasonable amount of time to expiry, but unless we can see an immediate improvement in its market, we will exit a warrant position when it only has six months to run.
"Warrants are the opposite of equity investments, where the assumption is that they will gain in value over time. With a warrant, you have to assume they lose value as the exercise date approaches."
But warrants do offer considerable potential profits, since they enable investors to buy shares at a fixed price. If the share price rises significantly above the exercise price, large instant gains will be made. This is the "intrinsic value". They are also highly geared investments - any movement in their prices, up or down, is magnified in terms of the profit (or loss) to the investor.
Mr Robertson says: "I started at Ivory & Sime in 1982 as a junior member of the administration staff. I moved on to doing venture capital and ended up running a couple of funds."
He sees his venture capital training as important for his current fund, since the key part of establishing the intrinsic value of a warrant is assessing the prospects for its underlying share. "It was a good grounding looking at companies as companies, and not just as investments," he says.
Warrants & Value initially concentrated on warrants issued by other investment trust companies. "We didn't have to look elsewhere because there were lots of opportunities in that sector. In the subsequent retrenchment of the sector we had problems. Since warrants are a decaying asset, in a downward cycle they can destroy a portfolio.
"So, at the end of 1994, we looked to widen the net to more buoyant sectors and markets, and we had BTR, Westland Helicopters and Belgian and Indian government bonds. By the end of 1995, we were down to about two-thirds investment trusts, one-third other issues. The investment trust portion has continued to come down, and the split is about fifty-fifty.
"The year 1993 and the early part of 1994 were good times for investors and the fund went up 50 per cent in its first six months. During t hat period, you didn't have to be particularly good at investing, you just put your money into the market and watched it grow. Since then, market conditions have been more difficult.
"One-third of all of the warrant issues around in 1993 have expired worthless. Within our portfolio, the figure is about 10 per cent. Avoiding the disasters is almost as important as picking those issues that are going to give an uplift."
Mr Robertson says he focuses on intrinsic values. "Maybe by doing this we are not getting into the highly geared issues, but we are also not paying through the nose for that potential uplift. For warrants with a high level of gearing, you are often paying a premium of 10 to 15 per cent, which means your investment has to rise that much before you start to see a profit."
Warrants & Value has a global investment brief. Mr Robertson says: "The fund tends to be underweight in America, because we have roughly one-third of the portfolio in what we would class as proxies to America, ie Latin America and the Far East. Because of their link to the dollar, they are very much geared plays on the US. We have one-third in Europe, one-sixth in the UK and the remainder in what we class as defensive investments.
"We have been criticised for not going for all-out growth, but I don't think our shareholders really want a white-knuckle ride. If that's what they were after, they would invest in the underlying warrants themselves."
Compare with the Independent: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Watch: The student election Macklemore parody that isn't completely awful - and all the others that are
- 3 Son attacks Apple after it refuses to unlock his late mother’s iPad
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
iJobs Money & Business
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...
£35000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A top, City ba...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED : Reach Volunteering: Fantastic opportuni...
Day In a Page
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds
A four-bedroom chalet bungalow with three bathrooms and a spacious garden, £525,000
A two-bedroom flat with an open plan kitchen and two balconies, close to Arsenal station
A Grade II-listed home with six bedrooms, secluded landscaped gardens and views across Hadley Green
A Grade II-listed mansion with two apartments and a cottage, near Gretna Green
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill