Personal Assets Trust > About Us
About Us
About Us

Personal Assets Trust is run for private investors, who may often have committed to it a substantial proportion of their personal wealth. Its activities are defined not by any particular portfolio specialisation or investment method, but by a desire to satisfy the personal requirements of those who invest in it.

The Board's definition of "risk" is fundamentally different from that commonly used, ours being "risk of losing money" rather than "volatility of returns relative to an index". The Board will usually, although not invariably, prefer the Company's portfolio as a whole to have a lower level of risk than the FTSE All-Share Index.

The Company's policy is to ensure that its shares always trade at close to net asset value through a combination of share buybacks at a small discount to net asset value and the issue of new or Treasury shares at a small premium to net asset value where demand exceeds supply.

The Directors are elected by the shareholders and regard corporate governance and accountability to shareholders as fundamental. They therefore place considerable emphasis on running the Company in the way they believe to be best suited to the successful management of an investment trust on behalf of its shareholders.

All of the non-executive Directors are considered to be independent in character and judgement and, in the opinion of the Board, there are no relationships or conflicts of interest which are likely to affect the judgement of any Director.

Our History

The Trust was listed in 1983 and it is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.  Troy Asset Management Limited was appointed Investment Adviser to Personal Assets Trust on 3 March 2009 and Investment Manager to the Trust on 1 May 2020. 

Personal Assets Trust is an investment trust that invests in multiple asset classes and geographies in a similar way to the Trojan Fund. It has a large investor base among private individuals and its primary objective is to protect and increase (in that order) the value of shareholders’ funds per share over the long term.

The Trust is managed Sebastian Lyon with the assistance of Charlotte Yonge and with the help of Troy’s wider Investment Team. 

Investment Objective & Policy
Trust Objective and Investment Policy

The Company is an investment trust with the ability to invest globally. Its investment policy is to protect and increase (in that order) the value of shareholders’ funds per share over the long term. While the Company uses the FTSE All-Share Index (the ‘‘All-Share’’) as a comparator for the purpose of monitoring performance and risk, the composition of the All-Share has no influence on investment decisions or the construction of the portfolio. As a result, the Company’s investment performance is likely to diverge from that of the All-Share. Our definition of ‘‘risk’’ is fundamentally different from that commonly used by other global investment trusts and the industry at large (ours being ‘‘risk of losing money’’ rather than ‘‘volatility of returns relative to an index’’). Taking this as our definition of risk, the Board will usually, although not invariably, prefer the Company’s portfolio as a whole to have a lower level of risk than the All-Share.

The Company will invest in equities and fixed income securities and it may also hold cash and cash equivalents (which may, depending on circumstances, include gold). The Company may use derivatives as a way of increasing or reducing its investment exposure and to enhance and protect investment positions. The Company may also from time to time make use of currency hedging.

The Company has no predetermined maximum or minimum levels of exposure to asset classes, currencies or geographic areas but these exposures are reported to, and monitored by, the Board in order to ensure that adequate diversification is achieved. The Company’s equity portfolio is typically concentrated in a short list of stocks and turnover tends to be low. No holding in an individual company will represent more than 10 per cent. by value of the Company’s total assets at the time of acquisition.

The Company is prepared to make use of both gearing and liquidity, the former by using short-term borrowed funds or derivatives such as FTSE 100 Futures. The Company’s gearing will not exceed 50 per cent. Of shareholders’ funds in aggregate. In exceptional circumstances, the Company’s liquidity could be as high as 100 per cent. of shareholders’ funds. These limits would not be exceeded without shareholder approval. In practice, gearing has not be deployed in the Trust since inception. 

The Company may also invest in other investment trusts, especially as a way of gaining exposure to a region or industry in which the Company preferred not to invest directly. The Company’s policy is not to invest more than 15 per cent. of its total assets in other investment trusts and other listed investment companies.

Why Personal Assets Trust?

Troy's Investment Approach

Emphasising capital preservation and absolute returns, Personal Assets Trust is conservatively managed, with concentrated equity holdings and low turnover. The Trust is long-only and has the flexibility to invest across a broad range of asset classes. 

In practice the investment universe is comprised first of:

• liquid developed market equities, where the team invest in quality businesses for the long term when valuations are attractive.

Other asset classes are selected on the basis of:

• risk diversification (e.g. gold-related investments and government bonds)

• safety and optionality (e.g. short dated treasury-bills and cash)

• inflation protection (e.g. index-linked government bonds and gold-related investments ).

The allocation to these diversifying asset classes increases at times of elevated equity valuations or uncertainty. In each of these asset classes, we seek the highest quality securities.

Our long-term investment horizon and emphasis on protecting our investors’ capital rather than chasing returns allow us to ignore market noise and stick to our core principles of preserving and growing investors’ capital.

Personal Assets Trust is managed by Sebastian Lyon with the support of Troy’s wider Investment Team. Sebastian is Troy’s Chief Investment Officer and is responsible for Troy’s Multi-Asset Strategy. He is the Fund Manager for the Trojan Fund and Personal Assets Trust. Click here to see further information on the team.

Strong long term, risk-adjusted returns

Our focus is on the ability of the portfolio to generate strong risk-adjusted absolute returns over the long term. Click here to see the Trust’s performance over time.

Below Average Volatility

The protection of investors’ capital is central to Troy and PAT's ethos. We do not generally aim to achieve this by derivative protection; rather our approach is to protect through the selection of high quality companies, with particular attention paid to the downside risk of any investment. Evidence of this can be seen here from the Trust’s maximum drawdown and annualised volatility relative to the FTSE All-Share Index (TR) comparator. 

Discount Control Mechanism

Personal Assets Trust has had a successful DCM in place since November 1999 and it has not traded at a material discount to NAV since.  Excess supply/demand of shares in the market is met by PAT, which is committed to buying back/issuing stock in order to prevent PAT's shares from trading at anything more than a minimal discount/premium to NAV. We believe that no investor should be forced to buy at a material premium or sell at a discount to NAV. Click here to find out more.

Enhanced Liquidity

The DCM also increases the liquidity of PAT. Subject to certain required shareholder approvals, the DCM has the potential to provide for near unlimited secondary market liquidity for investors.

Oversight of the PAT board

PAT has an independent board comprising six directors. Independent boards are a unique advantage of investment trusts and provide an additional layer of oversight and governance for investors.

Dividend Policy

The Company aims to pay as high, secure and sustainable a dividend as is compatible with protecting and increasing the value of its shareholders’ funds per share and maintaining its investment flexibility. Dividends are paid in July, October, January and April of each year.

The Company offers a Dividend Re-Investment Plan (“DRIP”) facility to shareholders who hold their shares on the main register. The DRIP allows your cash dividends to be used to purchase shares at current market prices, on your behalf. You will not receive any cash dividends while you remain in the plan, only additional shares. Any cash balance remaining after buying the shares, including the dealing costs, or any cash dividend which is not enough to buy one share, will be carried forward (without interest) and added to your next dividend. The commission charge is 0.5%, subject to a minimum fee of £1.75. Stamp Duty Reserve Tax, charged at 0.5% of the value of shares that you buy, will also be paid from your dividend proceeds on your behalf.

If you wish to participate in the DRIP, please contact Equiniti on 0371 384 2459 (or 0121 415 7047).

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The Board
Iain Ferguson CBE
Independent Non-Executive Director - Chairman
Mandy Clements
Independent Non-Executive Director
Gordon Neilly
Independent Non-Executive Director
Paul Read
Independent Non-Executive Director
Robbie Robertson
Independent Non-Executive Director
Jean Sharp
Independent Non-Executive Director
Investment Managers
Sebastian Lyon
Sebastian Lyon
Investment Manager
Charlotte Yonge
Charlotte Yonge
Assistant Manager