Annual Financial ReportSource: RNS
The Monks Investment Trust PLC (MNKS)
Legal Entity Identifier: 213800MRI1JTUKG5AF64
Regulated Information Classification: Annual Financial and Audit Reports
Annual Report and Financial Statements
Further to the preliminary statement of audited annual results announced to the Stock Exchange on 21 June 2022, The Monks Investment Trust PLC ("the Company") announces that the Company's Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 April 2022, including the Notice of Annual General Meeting, has today been posted to shareholders and submitted electronically to the National Storage Mechanism where it will shortly be available for inspection at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism
It is also available on the Company page of the Baillie Gifford website at: www.monksinvestmenttrust.co.uk (as is the preliminary statement of audited annual results announced by the Company on 21 June 2022).
Covid-19 coronavirus - arrangements for the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Subject to Government measures restricting public gatherings, and related public health guidance associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Annual General Meeting of the Company will be held at the Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ED on Tuesday, 6 September 2022, at 11.00am. Given the ongoing uncertainty, the Board will continue to monitor developments and may be forced to prohibit shareholders from attending in person. The Board therefore encourages all shareholders to exercise their votes at the Annual General Meeting by completing and submitting a form of proxy; and to monitor the Company's website at www.monksinvestmenttrust.co.uk where any updates will be posted. Should shareholders have questions for the Board or the Managers or any queries as to how to vote, they are welcome as always to submit them by email to email@example.com or call 0800 917 2112. Baillie Gifford may record your call.
Responsibility Statement of the Directors in respect of the Annual Financial Report
The Directors confirm that, to the best of their knowledge:
¾ the Financial Statements set out in the Annual Report and Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with applicable law and United Kingdom Accounting Standards (United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice) including FRS 102 'The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland', give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and net return of the Company;
¾ the Annual Report and Financial Statements taken as a whole is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Company's performance, business model and strategy; and
¾ the Strategic Report set out in the Annual Report and Financial Statements includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Company, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that it faces (as also set out below).
Principal Risks relating to the Company
As explained on page 30 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements, there is an ongoing process for identifying, evaluating and managing the risks faced by the Company on a regular basis. The Directors have carried out a robust assessment of the principal and emerging risks facing the Company, including those that would threaten its business model, future performance, solvency or liquidity. A description of these risks and how they are being managed or mitigated is set out below.
The Board considers the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, geopolitical tensions arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the impact of Brexit to be factors which exacerbate existing risks, rather than discrete risks, within the context of an investment trust. Their impact is considered within the relevant risks.
Financial Risk - the Company's assets consist mainly of listed securities and its principal and emerging financial risks are therefore market related and include market risk (comprising currency risk, interest rate risk and other price risk), liquidity risk and credit risk. An explanation of those risks and how they are managed is contained in note 19 to the Financial Statements on pages 58 to 63 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements. The Board has, in particular, considered the impact of heightened market volatility during the Covid-19 pandemic and over recent months owing to macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict. To mitigate these risks, the composition and diversification of the portfolio by geography, industry, growth category, holding size and thematic risk category are considered at each Board meeting along with sales and purchases of investments. Individual investments are discussed with the investment managers together with their general views on the various investment markets and sectors. A strategy meeting is held annually.
Investment Strategy Risk - pursuing an investment strategy to fulfil the Company's objective which the market perceives to be unattractive or inappropriate, or the ineffective implementation of an attractive or appropriate strategy, may lead to reduced returns for shareholders and, as a result, a decreased demand for the Company's shares. This may lead to the Company's shares trading at a widening discount to their Net Asset Value. To mitigate this risk, the Board regularly reviews and monitors: the Company's objective and investment policy and strategy; the investment portfolio and its performance: the level of discount/premium to Net Asset Value at which the shares trade; and movements in the share register, and raises any matters of concern with the Managers.
Climate and Governance Risk - As investors place increased emphasis on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, perceived problems on ESG matters in an investee company could lead to that company's shares being less attractive to investors, adversely affecting its share price, in addition to potential valuation issues arising from any direct impact of the failure to address the ESG weakness on the operations or management of the investee company (for example in the event of an industrial accident or spillage). Repeated failure by the Investment Manager to identify ESG weaknesses in investee companies could lead to the Company's own shares being less attractive to investors, adversely affecting its own share price. This is mitigated by the Investment Manager's strong ESG stewardship and engagement policies, which have been endorsed by the Company, and which are fully integrated into the investment process, as well as the extensive up-front and ongoing due diligence which the Investment Manager undertakes on each investee company. This due diligence includes assessment of the risks inherent in climate change (see page 32 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements).
Regulatory Risk - failure to comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements such as the tax rules for investment trust companies, the FCA Listing Rules and the Companies Act could lead to the Company being subject to tax on capital gains, suspension of the Company's Stock Exchange listing, financial penalties or a qualified audit report. To mitigate this risk, Baillie Gifford's Business Risk, Internal Audit and Compliance Departments provide regular reports to the Audit Committee on Baillie Gifford's monitoring programmes. Major regulatory change could impose disproportionate compliance burdens on the Company. In such circumstances representation is made to ensure that the special circumstances of investment trusts are recognised. Shareholder documents and announcements, including the Company's published Interim and Annual Report and Financial Statements, are subject to stringent review processes and procedures are in place to ensure adherence to the Transparency Directive and the Market Abuse Directive with reference to inside information.
Custody and Depositary Risk - safe custody of the Company's assets may be compromised through control failures by the Depositary, including breaches of cyber security. To mitigate this risk, the Board receives six-monthly reports from the Depositary confirming safe custody of the Company's assets held by the Custodian. Cash and portfolio holdings are independently reconciled to the Custodian's records by the Managers. The Custodian's assured internal controls reports are reviewed by Baillie Gifford's Business Risk Department and a summary of the key points is reported to the Audit Committee and any concerns investigated.
Operational Risk - failure of Baillie Gifford's systems or those of other third party service providers could lead to an inability to provide accurate reporting and monitoring or a misappropriation of assets. To mitigate this risk, Baillie Gifford has a comprehensive business continuity plan which facilitates continued operation of the business in the event of a service disruption (including any disruption resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic) or major disaster. Baillie Gifford staff continued to work from home to maintain a business-as-usual service throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the removal of Covid-19 restrictions by the Scottish and UK governments, a hybrid model is now operating, with staff determining the most appropriate split between working from home and working in the office, which ensures ongoing resilience. The Board reviews Baillie Gifford's Report on Internal Controls and the reports by other third party providers are reviewed by Baillie Gifford on behalf of the Board. The other key third party service providers have not experienced significant operational difficulties affecting their respective services to the Company.
Discount Risk - the discount/premium at which the Company's shares trade relative to its Net Asset Value can change. The risk of a widening discount is that it may undermine investor confidence in the Company. To manage this risk, the Board monitors the level of discount/premium at which the shares trade and the Company has authority to buy back its existing shares when deemed by the Board to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders.
Political and Associated Economic Risk - political change in areas in which the Company invests or may invest may increasingly have practical consequences for the Company. To mitigate this risk, developments are closely monitored and considered by the Board. The Board has particular regard to repercussions from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and ongoing tensions between the US and China, and monitors portfolio diversification by revenue stream as well as by investee companies' primary location, to mitigate against the negative impact of military action or trade barriers.
Leverage Risk - the Company may borrow money for investment purposes (sometimes known as 'gearing' or 'leverage'). If the investments fall in value, any borrowings will magnify the extent of this loss. If borrowing facilities are not renewed, the Company may have to sell investments to repay borrowings. The Company can also make use of derivative contracts. To mitigate this risk, all borrowings require the prior approval of the Board and leverage levels are discussed by the Board and investment managers at every meeting. Covenant levels are monitored regularly. The majority of the Company's investments are in quoted securities that are readily realisable. Further information on leverage can be found on page 71 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements and in the Glossary of Terms and Alternative Performance Measures on pages 74 to 76.
Emerging Risks - as explained on page 30 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements the Board has regular discussions on principal risks and uncertainties, including any risks which are not an immediate threat but could arise in the longer term. The Board considers that the key emerging risks arise from the interconnectedness of global economies and the related exposure of the investment portfolio to emerging threats such as the societal and financial implications of the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict, cyber risk, and new coronavirus variants or similar public health threats. These are mitigated by the Investment Manager's close links to the investee companies and their ability to ask questions on contingency plans. The Investment Manager believes the impact of such events may be to slow the pace of growth rather than to invalidate the investment rationale over the long term.
Baillie Gifford & Co Limited
6 July 2022