Wednesday, 28 March 2018

City Merchants Trust - Full Year Results

The stock market essentially deals in two kinds of asset; shares and bonds. These investments have very different characteristics; shares make you a part-owner whilst bonds, being debt instruments, turn you into a lender.

They say shares are for optimists, bonds are for pessimists. I have become a little less optimistic on equities over the past year which is why I have reduced the mix to 50:50 (from 60:40 previously).

Similar to my other holding in this sector, City Merchants investment objective is to seek to obtain both high income and capital growth from investment, predominantly in fixed-interest securities.

It is almost three years since I purchased this IT for my ISA as a replacement for a few sales from my shares portfolio.

The overall portfolio is fairly defensive with a significant proportion of higher quality companies which the management consider to be ‘default-remote’.


They have this week announced results for the 12 months to 31st December 2017 (link via Investegate).

Net assets have steadily increased over the year and taking the full year dividend of 10p per share into account, the total return was 9.9% (2016 11.6%). Over the past 5 years, the return has been 49.7%.

CMHY 3 Year Share Price (click to enlarge)


The dividend target for the trust is 10p per share paid quarterly. This amount was paid in each of the previous four years and remains the target for the coming 12 months. At the current price of 177p the shares offer a yield of 5.6% which is obviously attractive compared to the rates on offer from our banks and building societies. The average cash ISA rates are starting to increase but only offer a miserly 1.2% according to latest figures from Moneyfacts. In 2007, the average rate was 5.0%.

Of course, the share price will move around as can be seen from the chart. In recent weeks there has been some weakness and the share price has moved from a 2% premium to an 6% discount which has resulted in the yield becoming more attractive.

Regardless of the share price fluctuation, the trust provides some diversity to equities and a steady and predictable quarterly income stream for my portfolio.

Finally, this article is a record of my personal investment thoughts/decisions and is not a recommendation - as always, please DYOR.


  1. Can I ask what is making you less optimistic on equities?

    1. Chris, yes I started to become a little more cautious on equities at some point last year. her's an article from last June

      The bull run is well described by one of my favourite bloggers Ben Carlson in an article yesterday

      So, currently I feel more comfortable with 50:50 rather than 60:40 and will wait to see how things pan out over the coming year.