Books that cover the investment trust sector used to be pretty thin on the ground, reflecting the low profile nature of the industry, but we’ve seen a resurgence in interest in the past couple of years.
If you purchase any of them through the links below then I earn a small referral fee but some of the histories of individual investment trusts are available for free. You might find that the older titles are out of print however there are often second-hand copies available.
The seventh edition of this annual round-up of investment trusts, edited by Jonathan Davis, is due to be published on 12 December 2023.
Like the previous versions, it has plenty of excellent insights on the year just gone, thoughts on what might come next, and informative interviews from numerous industry experts. The Kindle/ebook version is free or you can pay for a hardcover edition.
I have been working with Jonathan on his Money Makers site and have written a few chapters for this edition.
Written by Andrew McHattie, who has published the monthly Investment Trust Newsletter since 1996, this is the most recently published book on this list.
I’ve known Andrew for a couple of decades and he kindly sent me a review copy. It’s a comprehensive look at the sector, packed with useful and up-to-date examples to illustrate many of the nuances of investment trusts.
The FT’s guide is probably the best-known title on investment trusts. It’s written by John Baron, who runs his own subscription service offering investment trust portfolios and who also writes a monthly column for the Investors Chronicle.
The second edition was published in August 2020.
This book covers the rise and dramatic fall of Neil Woodford.
Most of the focus is on his income funds, both at Invesco Perpetual and at the ill-fated Woodford Investment Management. It also touches on Woodford Patient Capital Trust, now run by Schroders, which was the largest investment trust IPO for a number of years until Smithson came along in 2018.
There is another book covering the Woodford saga called When The Fund Stops.
I haven’t read this one but I thought it was worth flagging at it runs to just 92 pages and was selling for only £1.99 the last time I checked. Money Observer magazine was first published in 1979 but was closed down in 2020.
This book covers the birth of the investment trust industry in the 1860s and its subsequent development. It’s over 20 years old now and only second-hand copies seem to be available.
Baillie Gifford, the firm that runs Scottish Mortgage, Monks, Scottish American etc, has had a very rich history.
This was published in 2008 and second-hand copies crop up every now and again.
For a long time, Alliance Trust seem to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, with a long-running saga over its online investment platform and management changes, but it now seems to be back on track these days using a multi-manager approach.
This book was published in 2013, just before the kerfuffle of a few years back, but there was plenty going on in the trust’s first 125 years.
In the early 2000s, these niche investment trusts gave their shareholders a whole world of pain. There are still some split-capital trusts around today but they are now very much a niche part of the trust sector.
It’s a reminder of the twin dangers of too much debt and too much complexity when it comes to investing. Not the industry’s finest hour!
The oldest investment trust, which dates back to 1858, recently ditched its full moniker in favour of just F&C.
I came across this 44-page PDF on the Aberdeen website while researching an article. It’s essential reading if you hold this popular global equity income fund. This is the second edition published in 2018.
Aberdeen Standard has also produced something similar for Dunedin Income Growth, which was the first investment trust to be launched in Scotland in 1873 by Robert Fleming.
This is a free 58-page PDF that covers this trust’s history from 1889 to 2016.
Please note that I may own some of the investments mentioned above -- you can see my current holdings on my portfolio page.
Nothing on this website should be regarded as a buy or sell recommendation as I'm just a random person writing a blog in his spare time and I am not authorised to give financial advice. Always do your own research and seek financial advice if necessary!
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