Sunday 2 July 2017

Half Year Personal Portfolio Review

Just time for a brief review before I settle down for my annual tennis-fest! There's not much quality live sport available on Freeview these days. I well remember the many years when life was dominated by work and earning a crust - watching the tennis was limited to the evening highlights and the finals at the weekend.

I really do appreciate now having the time to please myself. Tomorrow I will be off to explore the canals of Cheshire with a few friends.

Following on from my end of 2016 review, I have just reviewed my actual investment portfolios - sipp drawdown and ISA - for the 6m to the end of June.

The Markets

On the markets, the FTSE 100 started the year at 7,142. The index ended the 6m period at 7,312, having pulled back from a high point of 7,550 in May - a gain of  2.4% - if we factor in say 1.8% for dividends paid, this will give a figure of 4.2%  total return for the period.

Of course, the UK listed market makes up less than 10% of the global market place so focussing on just the FTSE 100 for example can give a distorted picture. The total return on world equity markets in GBP terms for the 6m to end June was 6.2%.


The portfolio of individual shares has reduced from 6 to just 2 following the sale of IMI, Berkeley Group, Amec Foster and IG Group. This leaves just Legal & General and Next which is going through a bad patch and is down 20% since the start of the year.

Fortunately I have had a good run from the other shares and the total return from this sector for the past 6 months is 11.0% which includes dividends received of 1.8% which makes it my best performing section of the portfolio so far.

Investment Trusts

With the exception of Blackrock Commodities, all trusts have provided decent gains over the half year. The better returns came from Aberforth 16%, Finsbury Growth 12%, TR Property 15% and recent addition Scottish Mortgage 16%. In recent weeks I have been gradually reducing my equity holdings and have sold Invesco Income and Dunedin Income trusts and also top-sliced others including Aberforth, Edinburgh, City of London and Finsbury. With an eye on preserving capital I added Capital Gearing to my ISA portfolio in May and have HSBC Global Strategy (cautious) on my watchlist.

Share price total return from my basket of trusts has been a very handy 8.5%.

Scottish Mortgage v Blackrock Commodities 6m to June 2017
(click to enlarge)

Index Funds

Vanguard LifeStrategy 60 is now my largest portfolio holding and, although held in check  by the rise in the value of sterling, it has risen from £164.50 to currently £169.85  - an increase of 3.2%. My UK Equity Income fund has gained 4.5% which includes a half year dividend of 2.3%

The total return for my index funds has been 4.1%.

Fixed Interest

As ever, the bonds and fixed interest sector has provided a steady and predictable income of 3.5% and a total return of 7.5% for the half-year.

My holding in Skipton BS PIBS were redeemed in April and the proceeds are currently in cash.

The Combined Portfolio

Total return for the entire portfolio of shares, investment trusts, index funds and fixed income is 7.9%  which includes income of 2.1%.  

Since the crash of 2008/09, I have had positive returns from my investments and I am hoping this will be another decent year although my expectations are not high. As I posted recently, I am expecting a downturn at some point - maybe later this year or next, I don’t really know. I have reduced my equity holding by around 25% in recent months and will hold the proceeds in cash and await developments in the market.

As ever, I would be interested to hear how others have done over the past 6 months - feel free to leave a comment if you keep track of your portfolio.