The Board considers the following to be the principal risks facing the Company. Mitigation of these risks is sought and achieved in a number of ways:
The Company is exposed to market risk due to fluctuations in the market prices of its investments. The Investment Manager actively monitors economic and company performance and reports regularly to the Board on a formal and informal basis. The Board formally meets with the Investment Manager quarterly when portfolio transactions and performance are reviewed. The Management Engagement Committee meets as required to review the performance of the Investment Manager. Further details regarding the Company’s various Committees and their duties are given in the statement on corporate governance. The Company is substantially dependent on the services of the Investment Manager’s investment team for the implementation of its investment policy. The Company may hold a proportion of the portfolio in cash or cash equivalent investments from time to time. Whilst during positive stock market movements the portfolio may forego notional gains, during negative market movements this may provide protection.
As with many investment trust companies, discounts can significantly fluctuate. The Board recognises that it is in the long-term interests of shareholders to reduce discount volatility and believes that the prime driver of discounts over the longer term is performance. The Board does not intend to adopt a precise discount target at which shares will be bought back. However Ordinary shares will not be bought back for cancellation or into Treasury at a discount to NAV of less than 7.5%.
Relevant legislation and regulations which apply to the Company include the Companies Act 2006, the Corporation Tax Act 2010 (“CTA”) and the Listing Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). The Company has noted the recommendations of the UK Corporate Governance Code and its statement of compliance appears on page 18. A breach of the CTA could result in the Company losing its status as an investment company and becoming subject to capital gains tax, whilst a breach of the Listing Rules might result in censure by the FCA. At each Board meeting the status of the Company is considered and discussed, so as to ensure that all regulations are being adhered to by the Company and its service providers. The Board is not aware of any breaches of laws or regulations during the period under review and up to the date of this report.
The financial situation of the Company is reviewed in detail at each Board meeting. The content of the Company’s annual report and financial statements is monitored and approved both by the Board and the Audit Committee. Inappropriate accounting policies or failure to comply with current or new accounting standards may lead to a breach of regulations.
The Board monitors the liquidity of the portfolio at each Board meeting and regularly reviews the investments with the Investment Manager.