Buying shares in an investment trust is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to get diversified exposure to global stock markets -- as a fund manager makes key investment decisions on behalf of investors, you won't need to worry about finding time to research companies.
If you're unsure of which investment trusts to consider, then you might want to start out by taking a look at these top-performing trusts.
For investors looking for long-term growth, I reckon the Lindsell Train Investment Trust(LSE: LTI) is worth a closer look. Shares in the investment trust have delivered a total return of 241% over the past five years, allowing it to easily beat the Morningstar Global Investment Trust category performance of 130%.
The Lindsell Train Investment Trust seeks to maximise long-term total return by investing in global equities and other Lindsell Train funds. But what's unusual about this investment trust is that it also owns a significant minority stake in its investment manager, Lindsell Train Limited. This 24.3% stake in the investment management company co-founded by Michael Lindsell and Nick Train accounts for 37.9% of the value of its portfolio.
With such a large position in a single unquoted investment, investors in the trust are highly exposed to fluctuations in the valuation of that single company. And although its position in Lindsell Train Limited has no doubt played a big role in the fund's recent outperformance, the opposite can also happen in the future.
Nevertheless, many investors seem confident that the fund will continue to deliver market-beating returns, as shares in the investment trust currently trade at a 25% premium to its net asset value of £680.03 per share.
The Baillie Gifford Japan Trust(LSE: BGFD) is a standout performer in the Japanese category, with a five-year return of 248%, compared to the average investment trust peer performance of 176%.
The fund has been managed by Sarah Whitley since 1991 and primarily focuses on medium-to-smaller-sized Japanese companies. Despite sluggish economic growth in that country, Whitley reckons there are still good opportunities for many stocks in her portfolio.
She likes to pick stocks with above average growth prospects and top holdings include Softbank (3.6%), Yaskawa Electric (2.9%), Misumi (2.8%),Start Today (2.8%) and Persol Holding (2.5%).
As technology disruption continues to impact the business landscape, the technology sector has proven to be a consistent market leader in recent years. With this in mind, the Allianz Technology Trust(LSE: ATT) is a solid pick for investors expecting further significant gains.
Over the past five years, the trust has delivered a cumulative performance of 217%, earning it a top-quartile ranking in the technology sector category. Many well-known tech brands dominate its portfolio, including Amazon (6.6%), Apple (6.2%) and Facebook (4.3%) -- its top three positions. But the fund also holds big positions in lesser known names, such as cloud computing firm Workday (3.7%) and payments solutions company Square(3.2%).
And as expected, the US is by far its largest geographical exposure, representing just over 80% of total assets. This is followed by China (6.6%), France (3.0%) and South Korea (2.7%).
Jack Tang has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.