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Baillie Gifford Shin (BGS)

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Wednesday 07 April, 2021

Baillie Gifford Shin

Annual Financial Report

RNS Number : 7044U
Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon PLC
07 April 2021
 

Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon PLC

 

Legal Entity Identifier: X5XCIPCJQCSUF8H1FU83

Regulated Information Classification: Annual Financial and Audit Reports

 

Annual Report and Financial Statements

 

Further to the preliminary statement of audited annual results announced to the Stock Exchange on 17 March 2021, Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon PLC ("the Company") announces that the Company's Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 January 2021, including the Notice of Annual General Meeting, has today been posted to shareholders and submitted electronically to the National Storage Mechanism where it will shortly be available for inspection at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism  

It is also available on the Company page of the Baillie Gifford website at: www.shinnippon.co.uk (as is the preliminary statement of audited annual results announced by the Company on 17 March 2021).

 

 

Covid-19 coronavirus - Important note regarding arrangements for the Annual General Meeting (AGM)

 

The Board of Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon PLC (Shin Nippon) recognises the public health risk associated with the Covid-19 outbreak arising from public gatherings and notes the Government's measures restricting such gatherings, travel and attendance at workplaces.

At the same time, the Board is conscious of the legal requirement for Shin Nippon to hold its AGM before the end of July. Given the current uncertainty around when public health concerns will have abated, the Board has for the time being decided to aim to follow the Company's customary corporate timetable and, accordingly, the Company's AGM is being convened to take place as scheduled at 10.00am on Friday 14 May 2021 at the offices of Baillie Gifford & Co, Calton Square, 1 Greenside Row, Edinburgh EH1 3AN without access for shareholders. The Board will, however, continue to monitor developments and, any changes will be advised to shareholders and details will be updated on the Company's website.

In the meantime, the Board encourages all shareholders to submit proxy voting forms as soon as possible and, in any event, by no later than 10:00am on 12 May 2021.

We would encourage shareholders to monitor the Company's website at www.shinnippon.co.uk .  

 

 

Responsibility Statement of the Directors in respect of the Annual Financial Report

The Directors confirm that, to the best of their knowledge:

¾ the Financial Statements set out in the Annual Report and Financial Statements, prepared in accordance with the applicable set of accounting standards, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the Company;

¾ the Strategic Report/Directors' Report set out in the Annual Report and Financial Statements includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the issuer, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that the issuer and business faces (as also set out below); and

¾ the Annual Report and Financial Statements taken as a whole is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Company's position and performance, business model and strategy.

 

Principal Risks relating to the Company

 

As explained on pages 32 and 33 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements, there is an ongoing process for identifying, evaluating and managing the risks faced by the Company on a regular basis. The Directors have carried out a robust assessment of the principal risks facing the Company including those that would threaten its business model, future performance, regulatory compliance, solvency or liquidity. There have been no significant changes to the principal risks during the year. A description of these risks and how they are being managed or mitigated is set out below.

 

Financial Risk   - the Company's assets consist mainly of listed securities and its principal risks are therefore market related and include market risk (comprising currency risk, interest rate risk and other price risk), liquidity risk and credit risk. An explanation of those risks and how they are managed is contained in note 18 to the Financial Statements on pages 56 to 60 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements. The Board has, in particular, considered the impact of heightened market volatility since the Covid-19 outbreak. To mitigate this risk the Board considers at each meeting various portfolio metrics including individual stock performance and weightings, the top and bottom contributors to performance and relative sector weightings against the comparative index. The Manager provides rationale for stock selection decisions. A comprehensive strategy meeting is held annually to facilitate challenge of the Company's strategy. The Board has considered the potential impact on the yen/sterling exchange rate following the UK's departure from the European Union and subsequent trade agreement. The value of the Company's investment portfolio would be affected by any impact, positively or negatively, on sterling but would be partially offset by the effect of exchange movements on the Company's yen denominated borrowings.

 

Investment Strategy Risk -   pursuing an investment strategy to fulfil the Company's objective which the market perceives to be unattractive or inappropriate, or an ineffective implementation of an attractive or appropriate strategy, may lead to reduced returns for shareholders and, as a result, a decreased demand for the Company's shares. This may lead to the Company's shares trading at a widening discount to their Net Asset Value. To mitigate this risk, the Board regularly reviews and monitors the Company's objective and investment policy and strategy; the investment portfolio and its performance; the level of premium/discount to Net Asset Value at which the shares trade; and movements in the share register.

 

Discount Risk -   the premium/discount at which the Company's shares trade relative to its Net Asset Value can change. The risk of a widening discount is that it may undermine investor confidence in the Company. To manage this risk, the Board monitors the level of premium/discount at which the shares trade and the Company has authority to buy back its existing shares when deemed by the Board to be in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders.

 

Regulatory Risk - failure to comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements such as the tax rules for investment trust companies, the FCA Listing Rules and the Companies Act could lead to suspension of the Company's Stock Exchange listing, financial penalties, a qualified audit report or the Company being subject to tax on capital gains. To mitigate this risk, Baillie Gifford's Business Risk, Internal Audit and Compliance Departments provide regular reports to the Audit Committee on Baillie Gifford's monitoring programmes. Major regulatory change could impose disproportionate compliance burdens on the Company. In such circumstances representation is made to ensure that the special circumstances of investment trusts are recognised. Shareholder documents and announcements, including the Company's published Interim and Annual Report and Financial Statements, are subject to stringent review processes, and procedures are in place to ensure adherence to the Transparency Directive and the Market Abuse Directive with reference to inside information.

 

 

 

Custody and Depositary Risk -  safe custody of the Company's assets may be compromised through control failures by the Depositary, including breaches of cyber security. To mitigate this risk, the Board receives six monthly reports from the Depositary confirming safe custody of the Company's assets held by the Custodian. Cash and portfolio holdings are independently reconciled to the Custodian's records by the Managers. The Custodian's audited internal controls reports are reviewed by Baillie Gifford's Internal Audit Department and a summary of the key points is reported to the Audit Committee and any concerns investigated.

 

Small Company Risk -  the Company has investments in smaller companies which are generally considered higher risk as changes in their share prices may be greater and the shares may be harder to sell. Smaller companies may do less well in periods of unfavourable economic conditions. To mitigate this risk, the Board reviews the investment portfolio at each meeting and discusses the investment case and portfolio weightings with the Managers. A spread of risk is achieved by holding a minimum of 40 stocks and the relative industry weightings against the comparative index are considered at each Board meeting.

 

Operational Risk - failure of Baillie Gifford's systems or those of other third party service providers could lead to an inability to provide accurate reporting and monitoring or a misappropriation of assets. To mitigate this risk, Baillie Gifford has a comprehensive business continuity plan which facilitates continued operation of the business in the event of a service disruption (including any disruption resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak) or major disaster. Since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions, almost all Baillie Gifford staff have been working from home and operations have continued very largely as normal. The Board reviews Baillie Gifford's Report on Internal Controls and the reports by other key third party providers are reviewed by Baillie Gifford on behalf of the Board. In the year under review, the other key third party service providers have not experienced significant operational difficulties affecting their respective services to the Company.

 

Leverage Risk -   the Company may borrow money for investment purposes (sometimes known as 'gearing' or 'leverage'). If the investments fall in value, any borrowings will magnify the extent of this loss. If borrowing facilities are not renewed, the Company may have to sell investments to repay borrowings. To mitigate this risk, all borrowings require the prior approval of the Board and leverage levels are discussed by the Board and Managers at every meeting. Covenant levels are monitored regularly. The majority of the Company's investments are in listed securities that are readily realisable. Further information on leverage can be found on page 66 and in the Glossary of Terms and Alternative Performance Measures on pages 67 and 68 of the Annual Report and Financial Statements.

 

 

Political Risk -   political developments are closely monitored and considered by the Board. Following the departure of the UK from the European Union and the subsequent trade agreement between the UK and the European Union, the Board continues to assess the potential consequences for the Company's future activities including those that may arise from further constitutional change. The Board considers that the Company's portfolio of Japanese equities positions the Company to be suitably insulated from Brexit related risks.

 

 

Baillie Gifford & Co Limited

Company Secretaries

7 April 2021

 

 

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