Saturday 30 March 2013

First Quarter Portfolio Returns

I have just had a quick look at my portfolio for the 3 months to the end of March so thought I would post the results.

The FTSE 100 is up 8.7% since the start of the year - if we add on another say 0.8% for dividends paid, this will give a ballpark figure of 9.5% total return for the quarter. Personally, I don’t compare my returns to any benchmark - maybe I should do - but the FTSE 100 is a commonly used benchmark with many fund managers.

My portfolio is allocated between fixed interest (40%) and equities, which in turn are divided between individual shares and investment trusts.

The higher interest from the PIBS and fixed interest sector are mainly paid in the second and fourth quarters, so returns in the past 3 months have been negligible and this sector has returned only 2.3% over the quarter.

Individual shares fared much better, providing a total return of 9.5% over the 3 month period. The better performers were Reckitt & Benckiser (21.7%), Dialight (21.4%), IG Group (19.7%), and Unilever (18.6%). On the naughty step were Carillion (-14%), BHP Billiton (-8.3%) and Imperial Tobacco (-4.1%).

Once again, my individual shares sector has been beaten by the professionally managed trust sector which returned 11.1% - the better returns came from smaller companies specialist Aberforth (17.9%) - also Bankers (13.7%), Edinburgh (13.4%), Murray Income (13.4%) and Murray International (13.1%). The only trust not to make much headway over the 3 months was New City High Yield.

As a whole, the portfolio has advanced 7.5% over the first quarter including the payment of 0.8% income. I have no idea where the markets may be heading over the next quarter, we have the new ISA season starting next week so this may provide some further support for equities. The one thing I do know is the income returns for both fixed income and equities will be considerably higher over the next 3 months and should take returns for the half year up from 0.8% to 2.5% and the forecast for the full year is 5%.

I would be interested to hear how others have done over recent months - leave a comment if you keep track of your portfolio.

Meantime, have a good Easter break!


  1. My equity portfolio is up just 7.6% this year, owing to some well known plonkers like AV. and BBY. Overall, though, I'm not unhappy.

    1. Thanks for passing by - yes, Aviva has had a very turbulent ride in recent years. I think it was only a matter of time before the inevitable dividend cut (do they still call it re-basing?). I held in my sipp for a shortish time but was lucky to sell last year.

      Balfour has appeared on the radar a couple of times but the fundamentals never seem to stack up - high debt and uncovered dividend payments for example. Having said that, the gearing for Carillion is nearing similar levels however the dividend payouts are better covered by earnings.

      As you say, you are not going to be unhappy with a return of 7.6% over 3 months!

  2. Hi John

    A nice healthy return there.

    I'm not quite at the end of my quarter as I run a weekly analysis on my portfolio which means this quarter runs from the 05 January to the 06 April. That said to enable some limited comparison I've crunched my personal rate of return to the 30 March at 6.2% for a CAGR of 30%. That's after all expenses and 20% tax on my savings accounts.

    So you've beaten me by some margin but I realise we are not quite comparing the same thing.


  3. Hello RIT,

    Thanks for sharing your portfolio returns - I seem to recall you were roughly 60% equities also, but probably more globally diversified and also a large chunk (20%) in Australia - how has that sector performed recently?

    I guess all these variations will even out over the year - I suspect if you were offered the 6.2% at the start of the year you would be happy to take it - 30% for the whole year would be great and accelerate your quest for the option of earlier retirement!

    1. At its most basic building block level it's a 69% "Equity" / 31% "Bond" portfolio. Actual equity holdings as of today are 57.5%.

      Australia has ok. My main holding is a Vanguard tracker which has gained 6.7% (ignoring dividends which adds about 4.3% or so a year at current valuations) when priced in AUD, which is not quite as good as the FTSE. On top of that Sterling has devalued a further 6% or so against the AUD adding to the GBP measured return.

      To be honest I don't like these big shifts in valuation. It's just froth being blown in from the likes of QE and negative real interest rates. I believe that most Equity markets are now over valued however I'm staying true to my strategy as I'm also conscious that the market can remain irrational longer than I can remain solvent. Give me a steady portfolio return of 4% after inflation year on year any day.