JPMorgan US Smaller Companies Investment Trust

A trust that offers investors an excellent way to gain exposure to high quality, growth companies, through a low beta portfolio...

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Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by JPMorgan US Smaller Companies. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

JPMorgan US Smaller Companies Investment Trust

JPMorgan US Smaller Companies Investment Trust (JUSC) aims to provide investors with capital growth through a portfolio of US smaller companies.

Don San Jose is the lead manager of the trust, supported by portfolio managers Dan Percella and John Brachle. Together, the team use bottom-up investment analysis to identify high quality companies that demonstrate balance sheet strength and solid cashflows. Through constantly assessing the underlying company’s ‘pathway’ for earnings into the future, and the impact of the wider market, the trust is able to maintain low levels of beta, despite boasting high levels of alpha. With this said, buying companies at fair valuations is important for the team and they are not willing to overlook the price they are paying for exposure to a high growth opportunity.

Currently the portfolio is comprised of 86 companies, and there is a clear tilt towards the larger end of their universe. The weighted average market cap of a company in the portfolio is $3.88bn, 50% greater than the average for the Russell 2000 index. The largest sector overweights come from producer durables, materials and processing and consumer staples sectors. With large exposures to these sectors, one might anticipate that the portfolio has a cyclical tilt, yet the managers demonstrate that the portfolio is far more defensive than one might anticipate.

The trust has an exceptional track record relative to both peers and the benchmark Russell 2000 Index. Over the past five years, the trust has delivered NAV returns of close to 120%, considerably more than the Russell 2000 (92.8%), the IA peer group (97.6%) and the AIC peer group (86.7%). Over this period the manager has achieved an alpha of 3.41, considerably greater than the closest rival Jupiter US Smaller Companies (0.75). As with most equity vehicles, the past year has seen some ups and downs in the volatile environment. Since the start of the year, the trust has outperformed the benchmark by 2.1%, delivering 16.4% NAV returns.

Currently the trust is trading at a discount of close to 3%, slightly wider than it’s one-year average of -1.5%, but it has traded at a premium on numerous occasions. Should the trust’s discount widen out much more it could offer investors a good opportunity to access one of the strongest performing North American trusts.

Kepler View

JUSC offers investors an excellent way to gain exposure to high quality, growth companies, through a low beta portfolio of high quality companies. Over the long term the trust has been an exceptional performer, eclipsing its main competitor – Jupiter US Smaller Companies - and very few managers can boast the levels of alpha this trust can. In our view, the high-quality approach offers a certain amount of reassurance to investors at this moment in time, when the outlook for global growth is uncertain.

Currently the trust is trading at a discount of close to 3%, slightly wider than it’s one-year average of -1.5%, but it has traded at a premium on numerous occasions. Should the trust’s discount widen out much more it could offer investors a good opportunity to access one of the strongest performing North American trusts.

BULL
BEAR
Excellent track record of alpha generation
The US market is in the latter stages of the cycle
Trading at rare discount
Little to no income for investors
High quality and valuation led investment approach could be beneficial in an uncertain economic environment

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.

Fund History

Disclaimer

This report has been issued by Kepler Partners LLP.  The analyst who has prepared this report is aware that Kepler Partners LLP has a relationship with the company covered in this report and/or a conflict of interest which may impair the objectivity of the research.

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 if you are a private investor independent financial advice should be taken before making any investment or financial decision.

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