Lloyd's trust offers to close

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PUBLIC offers for Lloyd's of London corporate capital investment trusts start to close next week and investors must be quick off the mark to apply for shares.

Institutions have already shown their preferences, subscribing in full for some issues but giving a lukewarm response to others.

Johnson Fry failed to raise the minimum pounds 15m for its Lloyd's trust. Charles Fry, chief executive, said lack of time scuppered the issue, which was marketed in 11 working days. The trust was structured to invest in other Lloyd's corporate capital vehicles, so it had to close ahead of the others to ensure it obtained allocations.

Mr Fry insists that with more time enough money would have been raised.

Sharelink, the share dealing service, says it has had a big response to its marketing of theLloyd's vehicle Syndicate Capital Trust.

Dunbar Boyle & Kingsley, the stockbroker, has had a 'tremendous response' to its service advising which Lloyd's trust to choose. Robin Kingsley, chairman, said the firm was recommending four trusts - CLM, Finsbury, Angerstein and Masthead. He suggested that additional costs of the fund-of- funds approach of Johnson Fry contributed to its downfall. He added that most people could afford to buy into three or four trusts. The minimum subscription for some trusts is as low as pounds 500.

Gerrard Vivian Gray, the private client stockbroker, has launched a managed portfolio of four to eight Lloyd's trusts with a minimum investment of pounds 20,000. Nigel Sidebottom, associate director of GVG, says all the good trusts will be heavily oversubscribed. He believes they will move to a substantial premium to net asset value over the next two to three years.

The best returns will be available to those entering the market early, Mr Sidebottom maintains. But investors can still buy shares soon after flotation.

Offers now open include CLM, LIMIT, Masthead, SCT and Finsbury (being marketed exclusively through intermediaries).

HCG, which raised pounds 35m short of its pounds 100m target exclusively from institutions, is the first to start trading on Monday.