Katherine Garrett-Cox, Chief Executive of Alliance Trust PLC, said:
"We are pleased with the returns that we have delivered in 2014, in particular the total dividend increase of 14.3%. Our total shareholder returns rank median or above, relative to our global peers, over 6 months, 1, 3, 5 and 7 years. Moreover, we have delivered top quartile annualised dividend growth over these same periods. We know that this combination of capital growth and a consistently rising dividend is an important differentiator for the Trust.
We believe that Alliance Trust should be managed in a sustainable way as this is the best way to deliver returns for our shareholders over the long term. We have received positive feedback on the changes to the investment team that we announced last September, with the appointment of Peter Michaelis as Head of Equities and Simon Clements as equity manager of the portfolio. Both have a well-established track record of managing global investment portfolios on a sustainable and responsible basis and we are confident that their expertise and approach will continue to strengthen the investment process of the Trust. Embedding analysis of ESG factors into our investment process helps us to identify those companies which will thrive against a backdrop of increasing regulation and a growing need to improve the management of resources and supply chains. The portfolio is already delivering good results under the new team.
All assets contributed positively to returns in 2014, with our residual private equity portfolio having a particularly strong year. The assets administered by ATS rose by 19% in a tumultuous year, which included the ongoing changes to platform pricing, pension and ISA rules. These changes, along with the expected consolidation in the platform market, provide significant opportunities for ATS to gain market share and clients in the years to come. ATI continues to strengthen its position and perform strongly, with 80% of our funds that have a three year track record ranked above median. We are confident that superior performance and our specialist product range will continue to attract third party investment.
We also see numerous opportunities for the investment portfolio in the years ahead. The investment team will position the portfolio to take account of any market volatility resulting from economic and geo-political developments relating to the Euro, the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, and the UK General Election. We also await developments at the latest round of the UN Climate Change negotiations, which will take place in Paris in December. We expect this to be a catalyst for a number of sustainable development initiatives, which will set the tone for the negotiations for the next 15 years and which will fundamentally impact upon the way in which we all do business. We see this as part of the irreversible trend that has gained considerable momentum in recent years. We are confident that our experienced team, with their proven track record of investing in sustainable companies, and our distinctive investment process will enable us to identify and support those companies that are creating the future in which we all want to live."