Investment trusts can be a great way to invest in the stock market. Not only do trusts provide an investor with exposure to a range of different companies, but theyâ€™re also very cost-effective.
Here, Iâ€™m going to highlight five investment trusts I like for 2021. These are my preferred plays for exposure to global equities and UK shares.
Global investment trusts for 2021
In the past, Baillie Giffordâ€™s Scottish Mortgage was one of my favourite investment trusts. However, right now, Iâ€™ve concerns over the valuations of many of its holdings. Tesla and NIO, for example, which made up nearly 20% of the trust at 30 November, are very much in bubble territory, in my view.
For this reason, my preferred play in the global equity space for 2021 is Monks Investment Trust, Baillie Giffordâ€™s more under-the-radar offering. Like SMT, this trust focuses on growth companies. However, it doesnâ€™t make the same kind of large bets on higher-risk companies in the way that SMT does.
Tesla, for example, is a much smaller holding at less than 2% of the portfolio. It also offers exposure to more stable growth companies such as Microsoft, Mastercard, and EstÃ©e Lauder. Long-term performance here has still been very good. Over the last five years, it has returned about 220%, according to Trustnet. All things considered, I think it offers an attractive risk-reward proposition.
Also in the global equities space, I like Smithson. This investment trust, which is Fundsmithâ€™s mid-cap/small-cap offering, is run with a similar approach to that of Fundsmith Equity. Smithson has performed well since its launch in October 2018, returning 23% per year (to 30 November). Currently, its top holdings include the likes of Rightmove, data company Equifax, and machine reading specialist Cognex.
Finally, for a pure technology play, I like the Allianz Technology Trust. To my mind, this trust is a good way to play the technology boom. Its top holdings includeÂ Alphabet (Google), Amazon, and Apple. It has returned about 370% over the last five years, which is a very impressive performance.
UK investment trusts for 2021
In the UK equities space, one of my preferred plays is Murray Income. This is an equity income investment trust that has a focus on higher quality companies. Its top holdings currently include Diageo, Unilever, and AstraZeneca. Itâ€™s been a pretty solid investment over the last five years, returning nearly 50%, and comfortably beating the FTSE All-Share index (22%). It also has a five-star rating from Morningstar.
Finally, in the UK smaller companies area, I like Blackrock Throgmorton. This is a high-conviction, growth-focused investment trust that aims to invest in the UKâ€™s most differentiated and exciting emerging companies.
It looks for businesses with strong and dominant market positions and strong management teams. Top holdings at 31 October were Games Workshop, YouGov, and Gamma Communications. This trust has been a strong performer, returning nearly 120% over the last five years. Itâ€™s worth noting it does have a performance fee. Thatâ€™s one downside. However, overall, I see it as a good way to get small-cap exposure.
Edward Sheldon owns shares in Scottish Mortgage, Smithson, Unilever, Diageo, Rightmove, Gamma Communications, Apple, Alphabet, Mastercard, Microsoft. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Foolâ€™s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Foolâ€™s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Foolâ€™s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, Mastercard, Microsoft, and Tesla. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo, Rightmove, and Unilever and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.