City Of London Investment Group: Worth The Risk?

City of London Investment Group which trades on the pink sheets as CLIUF and in London as CTY was recommended by Steven Chen on today quoting heavily from an interview with Zeus Capital's Robin Savage in Director's Talk published last week.. The fund manager specializes in emerging markets. It uses mostly British closed-end funds (investment trusts) trading at a discount to net asset value to invest in. It is taking its expertise in Britain into wider fields by offering funds in the US and Asia for institutional investors. It pays UK taxes on its eps which cannot be recuperated by US individual shareholders.

It is a closed end fund itself, trading at a discount to net asset value and yielding 4.5%. Its founder- manager, Barry Olliff, retiring at the start of next year, already stepped down from management of the fund in favor of Tom Griffith as its CEO with effect in Jan. 2019.

Olliff, a friend of mine, founded a partnership in 1987 to gain from the hefty discounts in UK-listed CEFs, and created CLIUF in 1991.

City of London is currently aiming to use funds incorporated outside Britain for its picks to buy because of Brexit uncertainty. Last week it reported that its net earnings for FY 2018-9 (to June 30) had fallen to £11.4 mn from prior year's £11.4 mn, or 34.9 pence/sh vs 39.5 p. Your editor, who is extremely familiar with this group, is wary of investing in it given the current uncertainties over sterling, emerging markets, and UK taxation, to say nothing of the new broom management. This is a period of extreme volatility and while members of my family who are British continue to hold CTY, I think it is not a good idea now for people eating in dollars.

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