Playing Games With LIC Performance Reporting

A simple game I used to like playing as a kid was spot the difference.

It is not unusual for LICs to play their own version of the game.

Firstly the pic below will bring back some memories of the game in case you have forgotten.

spot diff

Let’s just say that are certain times fund managers like displaying their NTA returns against the indices, and certain times they don’t. Then there are certain times some feel the need to compare returns including the advantage of franking credits.

Below I have plucked out a couple of LICs who recently slightly changed the format of their regular monthly NTA reports.

NTA Report as at end September 2018

(Click on image to enlarge)


Same LIC’s NTA Report as at end October 2018


Another LIC’s NTA Report as at end October 2018


Same LIC’s NTA Report as at end November 2018


I thought this can be a useful post to sit here, and if readers find other examples they can point them out in the comments section throughout 2019. I suspect we will see more creative changes to various monthly NTA reporting formats as the year progresses.

Some will wonder why I have picked out these 2 examples, which happen to be a couple of the most trustworthy LICs I know out there. It is because if we have to examine their performance reporting with a fine tooth comb on occasions to see how they are going, what can we expect from the other 100 plus LICs out there? Remember there are no standardised regulated performance reporting when it comes to LICs.

With the examples above I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong about how they are presenting their performance numbers with their new formatting. I would prefer to see consistency though whatever the LIC chooses, stick with the same method. It could be a sign however they are feeling a bit under pressure from their numbers versus the benchmark over the last 5 years. Also to some extent regarding their nominal returns. To their credit the current format is still presenting their own numbers net of fees, so they are well ahead of many other LICs in terms of integrity of reporting.

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