Four funds to follow

INVESTMENT trusts are a complicated form of investment, and most people should not consider putting money into them before taking advice. The Independent on Sunday asked four independent financial advisers to choose their preferred trust, and explain their reasons.

Adviser: Alan Durrant, Hargreaves Lansdown Investment Management

Name of fund: ECU Trust

Reason for choice: "We particularly like the quality of the underlying portfolio, coupled with the depth of experience and commitment shown by the fund management team. Another appealing point is the fact that the trust is currently standing at a discount of 14 per cent to its net asset value. "

Fund management company: Gordon House Securities

Minimum lump sum investment: No minimum

Minimum monthly investment: Not available

Initial charge: Stockbrokers' commission and stamp duty

Annual charge: 1 per cent

Fund manager's aims: To achieve high capital growth by investing in quoted companies. It is a pan-European Trust, meaning mostly the economies of western Europe. The strategy is to identify a corporate event - perhaps a change in management or switch in business - and determine how it will affect shareholder value.

Adviser: David Gates, Capital Planning & Finance

Name of fund: TR City of London

Reason for choice: "I like the trust because of the undoubtedly solid fund management company behind it, and the good performance within the trust - a compound annual return of 16.4 per cent over five years."

Fund management company: Henderson TR

Minimum lump sum investment: pounds 500

Minimum monthly investment: pounds 50

Initial charge: Transaction charge of 1 per cent plus 0.5 per cent stamp duty

Annual charge: Management charge of 0.35 per cent on underlying fund

Fund manager's aims: Capital and income growth, looking both to outperform the FT All-Share Index and give an above-average yield by investing in large capitalisation UK equities.

Adviser: Chris Wicks, Kidson Impey Scott Lang

Name of fund: Murray International

Reason for choice: "It is a large, long-standing investment trust, as opposed to a new launch. When new launches are issued, they incur set- up charges of up to 4 per cent of the initial capital internally, but with an existing trust you avoid that. The fund has achieved consistent upper-quartile performance."

Fund management company: Murray Johnson

Minimum lump sum investment: pounds 250

Minimum monthly investment: pounds 30

Initial charge: Transaction charge of 0.3 per cent plus 0.5 per cent stamp duty

Annual charge: 0.6 per cent

Fund manager's aims: High and growing income combined with capital growth through a portfolio of international equities. Around 42 per cent of the fund is invested in the UK, with the rest split between continental Europe, the Americas and the Asia/Pacific region.

Adviser: Fiona Price, Fiona Price & Partners

Name of fund: Govett Oriental

Reason for choice: "We take a positive view of Far East markets, including Japan. This is the region in which the trust invests, with 26 per cent invested in Japan. The fund has a consistent performance record. It is not top in the sector, but the top-performing trust has only 1 per cent invested in Japan, which is out of line with the future investment potential for the sector."

Fund management company: John Govett & Co

Minimum lump sum investment: pounds 250

Minimum monthly investment: pounds 25

Initial charge: Transaction charge of 1 per cent plus 0.5 per cent stamp duty

Annual charge: 0.5 per cent

Fund manager's aims: To exploit the opportunities in the Far East, achieving long-term growth by investing in a portfolio of large, medium and small firms.

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