James Anderson to step down from Scottish Mortgage

Ryan Hughes
19 March 2021

“News that James Anderson is stepping down as joint portfolio manager on the Scottish Mortgage investment trust will potentially cause some worry to the thousands of investors who have made fantastic returns over many years,” comments Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell. “However, it’s important to remember how Baillie Gifford work with the investment process being firmly embedded in the team-based approach and experienced investor Tom Slater remaining at the helm. With Anderson not stepping back for over a year, this has been well planned with a clear handover process for Lawrence Burns to become deputy manager on the trust to support Slater.

“Anderson has helped build Scottish Mortgage into a phenomenal investment trust over many years with his clear, high conviction approach being a driving force behind its willingness to invest in early stage companies and hold them while they become global winners with Amazon, Tesla and Alibaba all being great examples. Since being appointed manager on the trust on the 1 April 2000 he has delivered a staggering 1,700% returning, equivalent to turning a £1,000 investment into £18,000 compared to just £4,440 if invested in the FTSE All World benchmark. These returns have propelled the trust into the FTSE 100, remarkably making it the 31st biggest company in the market.

“For investors, while this announcement may be unsettling, the strength of the team-based approach, long handover period and continuity through Tom Slater shouldn’t result in major concerns. Slater has worked at Baillie Gifford for over 20yrs and been a manager on the trust for the last 10yrs ensuring that he knows the portfolio inside out. As a result, I expect no change to the approach which should hopefully give investors reassurance that the investment process will remain intact.”

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