Missed out on Royal Mail? Here’s five alternative investments…

4th November 2013


Investors in Royal Mail shares have enjoyed a huge uplift as the shares have rocketed since their stock market debut last month.

It what was the most hotly-anticipated UK IPO in decades, investors in their thousands sought to snap shares at their now apparent ‘bargain’ initial price of 330p.

Since then, the stock has risen by some 77% to circa 530p.

Any applications over £10,000 received no shares at all, while those applying for less than this all received the same allocation of £749 worth of shares.

But undoubtedly many private investors are still reeling as a result of not getting in on the action or from their much-reduced allocation of Royal Mail shares.

However for those wanting to invest their remaining money committed but not allocated to Royal Mail shares there are still many options available to them says Robert Hudson, head brokers Charles Stanley Direct.

Below the Charles Stanley Direct lists five income and growth investment ideas they believe are presently worthy of consideration

Royal Dutch Shell “B”

Last Thursday, shares in Royal Dutch Shell fell 5% following a gloomy third quarter update. Profit was 15% below expectations due to production issues in Nigeria, rising costs and low refining margins. However, Shell has an enviable track record.

It has grown its dividend in dollar terms every year since the end of World War II, The oil giant will bring five major projects online in the next 18 months, which should add an extra $4bn to cash flow in 2015. If this target is met there should be no reason for Shell to break its dividend record. The prospective yield is 5.2%, variable, not guaranteed. NB UK-based investors should purchase the “B” share class rather than the “A” as the latter has a Dutch source and income may be subject to withholding tax.

National Grid

National Grid owns regulated electricity and gas transmission and distribution networks in the UK and US. It announced a new dividend policy in March this year to grow the annual pay out “at least in line with the rate of RPI inflation each year for the foreseeable future”. This followed a review by the UK regulator that has fixed allowable returns and required investment all the way out to 2021. The prospective yield is 5.4%, variable, not guaranteed.

Artemis Income

UK equity income funds are a perennial favourite of investors – and for good reason. With interest rates at historic lows, equity income funds offering yields in the region of 4% have considerable appeal. They also offer the potential for the income – and capital – to grow over time, though unlike cash they can also fall in value so you could get back less than you invest. One of our preferred funds in the sector is Artemis Income. Managed by equity income experts Adrian Frost and Adrian Gosden, It offers exposure to a portfolio of high-yielding UK blue chip companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Shell and Vodafone. Since Adrian Frost took over the fund in 2002, it has outperformed its sector handsomely, and income payments have grown impressively too.

Jupiter Merlin Income

For more defensively-minded investors a spread of asset classes can help dampen volatility while still providing the prospect of rising income and capital growth. In this regard a “multi-manager” fund such as this represents a one-stop-shop investment portfolio. It contains a spread of UK equities and bonds as well as other assets such as gold and overseas shares. Managed by the highly respected Jupiter team, exposure to each asset class and geographical area is obtained through carefully selected funds – presently 14 in total.

Liontrust Special Situations

More adventurous investors bullish on the UK economy could consider a growth fund investing in the entire breadth of the UK market, from smaller companies through to FTSE heavyweights. One of our preferred funds in this area is Liontrust Special Situations managed by Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh. They focus on investing in companies with an ‘economic advantage’ through innovative technology, strong distribution or a well-defined brand. These are factors that can create barriers to competition and help ensure success in a world of slow growth. The long term returns of this fund have been highly impressive, though past performance is not a guide to the future, and we believe it is worth considering as a broad-based, long term holding for exposure to UK equities.

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