In April 2016, Picton was awarded 'Best Large Trust' at the Money Observer Awards, beating 117 investment companies, whose net assets were larger than £300 million.
A full extract from Money Observer is detailed below:
UK Commercal Property Trusts have enjoyed a vintage period. The growth in the economy has buoyed rents, while investment demand has added to growth of capital values. As a result half the top 10 trust in our Large Trust award category are property specialists. Picton Property Income Trust claims the award, having picked up impressively since it became a self-managed trust and changed its name in January 2012.
Michael Morris has been Picton's chief executive since the change, but was also involved with the trust for several years when it was externally managed by Dutch group ING Investment Management. He believes self-management has brought three key advantages. Firstly, it creates a strong alignment between the management team and the shareholders, through a long term incentive plan. Secondly, it has cut costs. Thirdly, it has encouraged a more entrepreneurial spirit.
"The team is now totally focused on the trust, and as a smaller business it can be more opportunistic," Morris says, "It encourages us to really focus on our occupiers - the basis of our cash flow. By providing them with what they need we have improved occupancy levels from less than 90 per cent to 95 per cent."
Returns have been enhanced by refurbishing space to secure better rental income, refinancing borrowing in order to lower interest costs, and selling off smaller properties so as to focus on fewer larger ones. Concentrating the portfolio has also produced economies of scale: the trust has added just one member to its 11-strong team despite doubling its assets under management.
Picton Property Income has benefited from its strong focus on the buoyant office and industrial sectors, which account for over 70 per cent of the portfolio. A year ago 60 per cent of the portfolio was located in London and the South East, which has been exceptionally strong.
However, 95 per cent of the £102 million that was raised in a Spring 2015 equity placing has been invested outside London on the grounds that valuations in other regions have looked more attractive.
This is a quantitative award and to identify award-winners, Money Observer rank trusts according to the following weighted result: 40 per cent for annual net asset value (NAV) performance to 31 January 2016, 30 per cent to 2015, 20 per cent to 2014 and 10 per cent for the overall three-year NAV return to 31 January 2016. It is therefore particularly pleasing to have beaten 117 other Investment Companies in this category.
The Picton Team, May 2016