The Foreign and Colonial Government Trust (FCGT) was established in London in 1868. Launched in a period of historically low yields, like today, investors were forced to “hunt for yield” in riskier investments. True to its name, the firm focused on loans to foreign governments both within, and outside her majesty’s realm. The FCGT is also the world’s oldest closed-end fund still in operation today.
While yields on government consol bonds were just 3.2%, the lowest and highest yielding holdings listed in FCGT’s first prospectus were 5.1% (New South Wales) and 15.43% (Turkey), respectively. This higher yield was very attractive for British investors, and the popularity of FCGT soared. A wave of new trusts were launched in response to this newfound popularity, and by 1890 there were 100 trusts in operation.
Read More: The Yield of an Empire