RIT Capital Partners sees net asset value rise 29%

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RIT Capital Partners, Lord Rothschild's eclectic investment trust, enjoyed a 29 per cent rise in net asset value last year, helped by the events of Black Wednesday and a recent switch out of mining and into gold, writes John Willcock.

Lord Rothschild did not say, however, whether he intended to follow George Soros into UK property. RIT already has pounds 23m in UK bricks and mortar, including the restored Spenser House overlooking Green Park in London. Britain's departure from the exchange rate mechanism boosted RIT, which has a large exposure to foreign currencies.

Since RIT's year-end on 31 March it has cut its holding in America's most prosperous mine, Newmont, from 7 per cent to 3 per cent. This sale contributed 5p to the fund's overall increase in net asset value. The NAV rose from 140.7p last year to 181.1p at the end of March, and then on to 188p by the end of May. Part of the Newmont proceedings were invested in gold bullion.

RIT's fund manager, St James's Place Capital, achieved a 12.8 per cent increase in NAV from 95.5p to 107.7p for the year to March. St James's benefited from its 30 per cent holding in RIT itself and first-year profits from its 51 per cent holding in J Rothschild Assurance, the life insurance group. The life company had already attracted pounds 380m in funds under management in its first year of operations. St James's is now concentrating on its financial services companies.