Alliance Trust has been named ‘Best Board’ at this year’s Citywire Investment Trust Awards in recognition of the work done to transform its fortunes and refocus as a global equity portfolio.
The judges commended the board for the changes that have been made over the past four years, saying they had tackled issues “head on” and implemented significant change “at a rapid pace”.
The disposal by the board of the trust’s fund management subsidiary and sale of the Alliance Trust Savings platform were key developments in the transformation of the trust, as was the appointment of Willis Towers Watson to implement a multi-manager global equity investment approach.
Current chairman, Gregor Stewart, stepped into the role earlier this year to replace Lord Smith of Kelvin, who stepped down having overseen much of the transformation. The current board members are: Karl Sternberg, former global head of equities at Deutsche Asset Management; Anthony Brooke, ex-vice chair of SG Warburg & Co; Clare Dobie, former Times journalist and group head of marketing at GAM; and Chris Samuel, former chief executive of Ignis Asset Management.
Congratulating the Alliance Trust board, panel judge John Newlands, founder of Newlands Fund Research, said: “The fact is the present board was faced with serious issues, it tackled them head on and it implemented significant change, at a rapid pace and so far to good effect. That is very much a beacon for best practice going forward, hence our nomination.”
The Citywire award is designed to highlight the role of boards of directors whose job it is to look after shareholder interests. Alliance Trust beat F&C (FCIT) and Fidelity Asian Values (FAS), to nab the award. The previous winner was Schroder Asian Total Return (ATR). Ewan Lovett-Turner, head of investment companies research at Numis Securities, and Genevra Banszky von Ambroz, a fund manager at Smith & Williamson, made up the judging panel alongside Newlands. The committee is chaired by Citywire editor in chief Gavin Lumsden.