Howard Kennedy's Investment trust team successfully advised Ashoka WhiteOak Emerging Markets Trust plc ("AWEM") on its IPO on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, raising £30.5 million. The IPO represented the first successful launch in the investment trust space since November 2021 and the first listed equities-focused investment trust launched since 2018. AWEM shares were admitted to trading at 8 a.m. this morning, Wednesday 3 May.
AWEM will invest predominantly in listed securities that offer investors exposure to global emerging markets. The interests of investors and the investment manager will be aligned through an innovative fee structure and annual redemption facility. AWEM will be managed by WhiteOak Capital Partners, who also act as AIFM to Ashoka India Equity Trust plc, which raised £46 million on its IPO in 2018 but has quadrupled in size to nearly £200 million since.
Based in Singapore, Prashant Khemka, founder of WhiteOak, stated: ‘Emerging markets currently provide a compelling entry point for an actively managed equities strategy, with generally lower inflation, lower debt levels and higher growth rates versus developed markets’.
Martin Shenfield, AWEM's chair, said: ‘The investment companies IPO market has been dormant since late 2021... we are pleased to introduce the first listed equities-focused investment trust in almost five years to the premium segment of the main market of the London Stock Exchange.'
As the only London based law firm that can provide legal advice and sponsorship services to investment companies, the Howard Kennedy team, led by Marc Proudfoot and supported by Ian Scott, acted as sponsor to AWEM and legal adviser to Ellora Partners, the sole bookrunner. Following the successful launch of Guinness VCT plc at the beginning of April, the capital markets team at Howard Kennedy have played a key role in two of the four successful main market IPOs in London this year.
Marc Proudfoot, Partner and Head of Investment Trusts at Howard Kennedy said: “Following a relatively quiet period in the investment trust space, it is great to once again be part of a successful investment trust launch and have the opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in this area. We thoroughly enjoyed celebrating with the team today at the London Stock Exchange and we look forward to continuing to work with the Board and investment management team going forward.”