Monks Investment Trust

Monks Investment Trust
Industry Investment management
Founded 1929
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people

Charles Plowden, Trust Manager

Spencer Adair, Malcolm MacColl, Deputy Managers
Parent Baillie Gifford & Co Limited

Monks Investment Trust (LSE: MNKS) was incorporated in 1929 and was one of three trusts founded in the late 1920s by a group of investors headed by Sir Auckland (later Lord) Geddes. The other two trusts were The Friars Investment Trust and The Abbots Investment Trust. The company secretary's office was at 13/14 Austin Friars in the City of London hence the names. Sir Auckland Geddes was a former professor of anatomy who, during the First World War, had become Director of Recruiting at the War Office. He then went on to become a Unionist MP and a Cabinet Minister as President of the Board of Trade.

Monks' first investments included large holdings of railway and energy companies in the UK, USA, Germany, Australia and South America, and also investments in Chinese Government bonds and Hungarian bonds. The geographic split in the first year was 29% UK, 18% Europe, 13% The Commonwealth, 10% USA, 12% Latin America, 6% Asia, 2% Africa and the remainder in other international markets. Half was invested in ordinary shares and half in fixed interest stocks and preference shares.

In 1931, Baillie Gifford & Co took over the management of all three companies and Monks became a founder member of the Association of Investment Trusts in 1932, of which Carlyle Gifford, the co-founder of Baillie Gifford & Co, was Deputy Chairman. Before the Second World War there were two issues of debenture stocks in 1933 and 1935. By 1935 the UK portion had risen to 46% and investments in ordinary shares accounted for 59%. There were restrictions on foreign holdings during the Second World War, and by 1957 investment in the USA had increased to 31%.

In 1968, under a Scheme of Arrangement, the three trusts were merged with Monks acquiring the ordinary share capital of Friars and Abbots. Monks continues to invest on an international basis with a view to achieving capital growth.

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