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Law Debenture Results 2023: Leading UK Equity income sector performer over short, medium and longer term with another creditable year in 2023



Share price total return marginally outperformed the FTSE Actuaries All-Share Index with a total return of 8.1% for 2023.


NAV total return with debt and Independent Professional Services ("IPS") business at fair value for FY 2023 of 9.4% (8.9% with debt at par), outperforming index at 7.9%.


Another good performance from IPS, with net revenue increasing by 11.8%, profit before tax up by 10.5% and valuation up 6.3% to £185 million (excluding net assets).


The Company issued c.3 million new Ordinary Shares at a premium to NAV during 2023, to existing and new investors, with net proceeds of c.£24.2 million to support ongoing investment.


Continued low ongoing charges of 0.49%1, compared to the industry average of 1.20%2.


[1] Calculated based on data held by Law Debenture for the year ended 31 December 2023.

[2] Source: Association of Investment Companies (AIC) industry average as at 31 December 2023.


Winner 2023 Investment Company of the Year Awards in November, in association with the AIC, in the UK Income category for the third year running

Winner in the Active-Income category for the second year in a row at the September’s 2023 AJ Bell Investment Awards.

Law Debenture made creditable overall progress in 2023. The total return of around 8% included another IPS valuation uplift and a further good increase in our full-year total dividend of 4.9%. Law Debenture’s long-term record of benchmark outperformance remains strong. We remain confident that, in the long term, the combination of a robust and well-positioned equity portfolio and continued growth in our IPS business will deliver attractive returns for our shareholders.

Robert Hingley, Chairman

Dividend Highlights

2023 full year dividend increased by 4.9% to 32.0 pence per Ordinary Share (2022: 30.5 pence per Ordinary Share).

Proposed 2023 dividend is fully covered by retained profits earned this year with no requirement to call upon historical reserves.

Dividend yield of 4.1% (based on our closing share price of 778 pence on 23 February 2024), proposed Q4 dividend of 9.125 pence per Ordinary Share.

7.9% CAGR in dividends over last ten years, reflecting strong IPS cashflow and good portfolio performance.

Investment Portfolio Highlights


Consistent share price and NAV (with IPS and debt at fair value) outperformance of the benchmark over one, three, five and ten years (see table below).


Strong long-term record, with share price total return outperforming FTSE Actuaries All-Share by around 48% over 5 years which compares well with its key sector peers.


Revenue from the portfolio of £33.5m (December 2022: £34.5m).



1 year


3 years


5 years


10 years


NAV total return3 (with IPS at fair value and debt at par)





NAV total return3 (with IPS and debt at fair value)





FTSE Actuaries All-Share Index Total Return4





Share price total return4





Change in Retail Price Index5






[3] NAV is calculated in accordance with the AIC methodology, based on performance data held

by Law Debenture including fair value of the IPS business and long-term borrowings. NAV is shown with debt measured at par and with debt measured at fair value and both total returns account for shareholder returns through dividends.

[4] Source: Refinitiv.

[5] Source: Office for National Statistics.


Please note that past performance cannot be relied on as a guide to future performance. The value of investments and any income from them can go down as well as up. Your capital is at risk.

IPS Highlights

The Company's wholly-owned provider of professional services is a key differentiator to other investment trusts and offers additional portfolio flexibility.

Accounts for c.20% of 2023 NAV, but has funded approximately 34% of dividends paid by the Company in the last 10 years.

IPS has now delivered six consecutive years of growth, with a 5-year net PBT CAGR of c.8.7%.

2023 valuation of £185 million (excluding net assets) up 111.4% since 2018.

Longer-Term Record

135 years of history.

Long-term record of valuation creation for shareholders.

113% aggregate increase in the dividend over the last 10 years (7.9% CAGR).

45 years of increasing or maintaining dividends to shareholders.

2023 has been another year of operational and financial progress for Law Debenture, despite the continued macroeconomic uncertainty and elevated interest rates. The overall portfolio and IPS have performed well despite ongoing market volatility, and we had our 45th year of maintaining or increasing dividends. Law Debenture is resilient by design and has demonstrated strong performance over the short, medium and longer term. The combination of IPS with the investment portfolio offers additional flexibility in stock picking and is a well proven and differentiated model. Despite ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty in 2024, I am cautiously optimistic about the Company's prospects for this year and beyond. The investment portfolio is well diversified and attractively valued. Our ongoing investment in IPS leaves it well positioned for medium-term growth in-line with our mid to high single percentage target.

Denis Jackson, Chief Executive Officer

Investment Portfolio

Our portfolio of investments is managed by James Henderson and Laura Foll of Janus Henderson Investors.

Our objective is to achieve long-term capital growth in real terms and steadily increasing income. The aim is to achieve a higher rate of total return than the FTSE Actuaries All-Share Index Total Return through investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks.

Independent Professional Services

We are a leading provider of independent professional services, built on three excellent foundations: our Pensions, Corporate Trust and Corporate Services businesses. We operate internationally, with offices in the UK, New York, Ireland, Hong Kong, Delaware and the Channel Islands.


Companies, agencies, organisations and individuals throughout the world rely upon Law Debenture to carry out our duties with the independence and professionalism upon which our reputation is built.


The Law Debenture Corporation

Denis Jackson, Chief Executive Officer

Hester Scotton, Chief Financial Officer

Trish Houston, Chief Operating Officer


+44 (0)20 7606 5451


Teneo (Financial PR)

David Allchurch/Doug Campbell/Oliver Bell



+44 (0)20 7260 2700