AIF’s objective is to provide shareholders with a high income and the opportunity for capital growth. The portfolio is split into two pools: one (c 70–80% of assets) is invested in UK small-cap equities; the other is an income portfolio containing fixed-income instruments, convertibles and high-yielding shares in other investment companies. Performance is measured against a composite benchmark made up 75% of the Numis Smaller Companies (excluding investment companies) Index and 25% of the ICE BofAML Sterling Non-Gilts Index.
The board of Acorn Income Fund (AIF) has announced the results of its strategic review ahead of the company’s five-yearly discontinuation vote in August. It is proposing to change the mandate from its present c 75% in UK smaller companies and c 25% in income-producing assets to a global equity income fund focused on sustainability and positive impact, managed by BMO Global Asset Management rather than the current partnership between Unicorn Asset Management and Premier Miton. AIF’s approach of investing in well-financed, income-generating and often domestically oriented small caps had led to a period of underperformance, partly attributable to Brexit uncertainty but compounded by last year’s COVID-19 induced dividend cuts. However, returns have rebounded strongly in the past year (see chart) as investors have begun to reassess the UK equity market. The board advises that shareholders who favour the move to BMO should vote against discontinuation and in favour of the proposals at the AGM and EGM in August. A circular will be published in due course.