Henderson European Focus

HEFT’s wide discount offers an attractive entry point into an increasingly actively managed portfolio…

Disclosure – Non-substantive Research

This is not substantive investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. With this commentary, Kepler Partners LLP does not intend to influence your investment firm's behaviour. 

Henderson European Focus

Henderson European Focus Trust aims to offer investors attractive total returns through a highly concentrated portfolio of European companies.

The portfolio is comprised of just 45 stocks, with the top ten making up close to 40% of the total NAV. The manager, John Bennett, utilises a bottom-up approach to portfolio selection, looking for high-quality companies with strong balance sheets and cash-flow potential. However, he still places a high level of importance on the price, and won’t overpay to include a company in the portfolio.

The trust has a strong track record relative to the benchmark (the FTSE World Europe ex UK), having outperformed in eight of the past ten years. The trust has also outperformed its AIC peer group in seven of these years. Performance has been equally impressive in recent times, with the trust generating NAV total returns of 24.8% over 2019. In comparison, its AIC Europe and IA Europe peers generated NAV total returns of 22.6% and 20.4% respectively while the benchmark returned 20.4%.

Despite the strong recent performance, the trust continues to trade at a double-digit discount (10.1%). This is the second-widest discount in the eight-strong AIC Europe sector, where the weighted average discount sits at 7.2%.

Kepler View

HEFT has an impressive and consistent long-term track record for outperformance of the benchmark and peer group. However, the manager and board have recognised that they are coming under increasing pressure from passive vehicles which track the European index at considerably cheaper fees. As such, a key topic of discussion between the manager and board has been on how to further differentiate the portfolio. At the AGM in January 2020, investors will be asked to approve a policy which will allow the manager to hold 35–45 stocks, down from 45–60. Furthermore, shareholders are also being asked to approve an increase of 40% to 50% to the limit for stocks weighted at 5% or more of the portfolio.

We particularly like managers that have conviction in their investments, and these changes will give John greater scope to demonstrate his stock-picking skills and ensure greater differentiation from European indices and peers. These adjustments are also the only ones that can be successfully achieved in a closed-ended fund, without the worries of subscriptions or redemptions should the trust or sector go out of fashion. As such, with the discount currently sitting at 10.1% – considerably wider than the peer group average of 7.2% – we see this as an exciting time to enter a trust that is truly looking to outperform its peers and the benchmark.

bull bear
Increasingly active approach has the potential to generate high returns
Increase in concentration mixed with gearing means potentially higher volatility
Long-term track record of outperformance of the benchmark and its peers

Attractive discount relative to the peer group

William Sobczak
William joined Kepler Partners in February 2018 as an investment trust analyst. Prior to joining, William graduated from the University of Western Australia, with a BSc in Psychology.

Kepler Partners LLP considers this commentary to be a minor non-monetary benefit, as it:

1. Is intended to enhance the quality of service provided to you by us and is generic in nature;

2. Consists of short-term market commentary on the latest economic statistics and/or company results and/or information on upcoming releases or events;

3. Contains a brief summary of the author’s own opinion on such information;

4. Is not substantiated nor does it include any substantive analysis;

5. Reiterates the Kepler Partner LLP’s view on an existing recommendation or substantive research material; and/or

6. Is unlikely to impair your investment firm's compliance duty to act in the best interest of your client.

This report has been issued by Kepler Partners LLP for communication only to eligible counterparties and professional clients as defined by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Its contents may not be suitable for and are not to be communicated to or be relied on by retail clients. It is not an indication as to the suitability or appropriateness of investing in the security or securities discussed.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested when you decide to sell your investments. It is strongly recommended that Independent financial advice should be taken before entering into any financial transaction.

The information provided on this website is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation or which would subject Kepler Partners LLP to any registration requirement within such jurisdiction or country. In particular, this website is exclusively for non-US Persons. Persons who access this information are required to inform themselves and to comply with any such restrictions.

The information contained in this website is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is given by any person as to the accuracy or completeness of the information and no responsibility or liability is accepted for the accuracy or sufficiency of any of the information, for any errors, omissions or misstatements, negligent or otherwise. Any views and opinions, whilst given in good faith, are subject to change without notice.

This is not an official confirmation of terms and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell or take any action in relation to any investment mentioned herein. Any prices or quotations contained herein are indicative only.  

Kepler Partners LLP (including its partners, employees and representatives) or a connected person may have positions in or options on the securities detailed in this report, and may buy, sell or offer to purchase or sell such securities from time to time, but will at all times be subject to restrictions imposed by the firm’s internal rules. A copy of the firm’s Conflict of Interest policy is available on request.

PLEASE SEE ALSO OUR TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Kepler Partners LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 480590), registered in England and Wales at 9/10 Savile Row, London W1S 3PF with registered number OC334771.

Welcome to Kepler Trust Intelligence

Kepler Trust Intelligence is authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Please enter a valid email address
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid email address
{{item.msg}}
Please check your email. If an account exists you'll be sent instructions on how to reset your password.
Kepler Trust Intelligence is authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. To ensure that we are able to provide content which is appropriate for you, please tell us a little about yourself.
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a company name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a location name
{{item.msg}}
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a platform
{{item.msg}}
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a trust
{{item.msg}}
?
The information contained herein is not for distribution and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy any securities in the United States to or for the benefit of any United States person (being residents of the United States or partnerships or corporations organised under the laws thereof). The investment funds referred to herein have not been registered in the United States under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and units or shares of such funds are not registered in the United States under the Securities Act of 1933.
Please confirm
{{item.msg}}
Please select an option
{{item.msg}}
See benefits
A free Kepler Trust Intelligence account allows you to access premium content including the ‘Kepler View’ – our verdict on the trusts we cover – and historical research so you can see how our view has changed over time. An account also unlocks useful facilities like the ‘follow’ button which lets you keep track of the trusts you’re interested in and as a logged in user you can also download PDFs of our research, and choose the layout of the page you’re reading to suit your preference. We will not share your details unless you give us permission to do so, and we won’t bombard you with emails – we only send one a week.
Please select an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter your first name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter your last name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid email address
An account already exists with this email - have you forgotten your password?
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Your answers help us to tailor our content to relevant investment trusts, and to ensure that the asset allocation and portfolio strategy research we produce is appropriate to our userbase. We do not share your personal information and your answers are not linked to your identity for marketing purposes.
Need help?

One more thing...

Did you know, you can 'follow' individual trusts on Kepler Trust Intelligence? Use the functions below to set up alerts and we'll send you research and updates on your chosen trusts.

Suggested trusts to follow

Browse all funds
Need help?
Current Site Kepler Trust Intelligence is produced by the investment companies team at Kepler Partners and is the UK’s premier source of detailed qualitative research on investment trusts. Absolute Hedge is a market leading UCITS research database providing proprietary research on funds, themes and strategies in the UCITS space. Kepler Liquid Strategies is a Dublin domiciled UCITS fund platform featuring a number of best-of-breed fund managers. Kepler Partners is a corporate advisory and asset raising boutique specialising in the regulated funds market in Europe and investment trusts in the UK.