The fund that has held HSBC for 129 years
Many fund managers talk up the benefits of long-term investment but some take the idea to extremes. By James Connington
In the same year that the Bankers Investment Trust first invested in HSBC, the Eiffel Tower opened, Charlie Chaplin was born and Queen Victoria was on the throne. The £1.2bn trust has been a holder of HSBC since 1889, which probably makes it the longest-held stock in the history of collective investment.
Although owning a stock for as long as 129 years is not common, many fund managers stand by their favourite firms for decades. Here are four examples of taking long-term investing to the extreme. Since 1995, the earliest date from which the figures are available, the total return from HSBC shares, including reinvested dividends, has been 547pc, despite the global financial crisis.
Alex Crooke, the trust’s manager, said: “In the first set of accounts from 1889, the portfolio was dominated by water companies, railroads, breweries and government bonds.
“Some names stand out. The Liebig’s Extract of Meat Company was the owner of Fray Bentos pies and Oxo cubes – and the enigmatic Gibraltar Railway Company must have operated a limited network.” He added that the portfolio included multiple names held for more than 30 years. “Longer holding periods mean lower transaction costs and the ability to benefit from a company’s strategy over multiple economic cycles,” he said. This £3.7bn global investment trust recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, and for the past 93 years it has held Royal Dutch Shell shares. The trust’s manager, Paul Niven, still believes Shell is an opportunity, last adding to his holding in late 2017. He said: “It has some very good-quality oil assets. In the past its spending has been poor when the oil price has been
Halma, held by one fund for 29 years, started life in 1894 as a tea producer in Sri Lanka