Royce Global Value Trust Manager Commentary
article 02-19-2019

Royce Global Value Trust Manager Commentary

Though the Fund fell behind its benchmark, we believe the portfolio’s cyclical tilt will be rewarded as recessionary concerns dissipate during the year.

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Fund Performance

In a challenging year for small-caps all over the world, Royce Global Value Trust fell 16.1% on an NAV (net asset value) basis and 17.5% based on market price for 2018, trailing both its new benchmark, the MSCI ACWI Small Cap Index, which declined 14.4%, and the Russell Global Small Cap Index (which Russell Investments has discontinued), which fell 15.3% for the same period. However, the Fund was ahead of both benchmarks on an NAV and market price basis for the three-year period ended December 31, 2018.

What Worked… And What Didn’t

All of the Fund’s 11 equity sectors detracted from 2018’s results. Industrials had by far the largest negative impact, followed by Financials, Information Technology, and Materials. At the industry level, capital markets (Financials) detracted most, with machinery (Industrials) and electronic equipment, instruments & components also having sizable negative effects.

At the position level, CIRCOR International, which makes valves for fluid control systems, detracted most. Its shares fell in the fourth quarter amid concerns that slowing global growth, U.S.-China trade tensions, and the significant drop in oil prices—energy companies being among its larger end markets—would put a damper on CIRCOR’s positive order trends, pushing out a long-awaited improvement in profit margins and free cash flow earmarked for debt reduction. Computer Modelling Group is a Canadian software company whose products help oil companies maximize extractions. Its shares slumped in the second half due to its exposure to the energy industry, which was hurt by falling oil prices, and some slight disappointments in revenues and earnings. Based on its lack of debt, relatively high annual dividend, and strong position in a highly specialized niche, we liked its long-term prospects at year-end.

SEI Investments runs a diverse business that provides investment processing, investment management, and investment operations solutions to clients around the globe. With products and services knit into the operations of several customers, SEI has what we think is a strong niche that’s built for the long term. Concerns about future spending levels from its primary client base as well as a second-quarter earnings disappointment led investors to mostly avoid its stock through the first three quarters of 2018, before its shares slumped further during the downturn, along with most other companies associated with asset management. Air Lease is a leading aircraft leasing business that saw its shares lose altitude throughout the year, particularly in December, when the airline industry came under considerable pressure throughout the eurozone, which resulted in the shuttering of a number of poorly capitalized carriers. Though Air Lease was less exposed to this dynamic, there were concerns among investors that a similar trend would materialize in other geographies. Confident in the potential for its shares to rise when tailwinds return to its business, we increased our stake in 2018.


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The portfolio’s top positive contributor was Australia’s Bravura Solutions, which makes software that focuses on the wealth management and investment fund administration markets. It has what we like in its industry—a market and product application we can readily understand that also delivers mission-critical customer benefits. The company offers a market-leading product, developed after a multi-year period of substantial R&D, and was able to take market share in a growing market. Based in New York City, Virtu Financial uses its technology to act as a market maker and liquidity provider to the global financial markets. Virtu announced impressive first-quarter results in profits and earnings, thanks to increased volatility, high trading volumes, and better-than-expected progress integrating a large acquisition. Its shares then advanced in the fourth quarter as its business model again benefited from increased volatility.

Relative to the MSCI ACWI Small Cap, RGT suffered most from sector allocation as stock selection was additive in 2018. The portfolio’s biggest source of underperformance on the sector level came from our underweight and ineffective stock picking in Real Estate while stock selection also hurt in Communication Services and Health Care. Conversely, the Fund benefited from savvy stock selection, most impactfully in Industrials, Energy, Financials, and Consumer Discretionary.


Top Contributors to Performance 20181 (%)

Bravura Solutions0.44
Virtu Financial Cl. A0.44
Sartorius Stedim Biotech0.28
Trade Me Group0.26
Radisson Hospitality0.23

1 Includes dividends

Top Detractors from Performance 20182 (%)

CIRCOR International-0.57
Computer Modelling Group-0.50
SEI Investments-0.50
Air Lease Cl. A-0.43
Ferroglobe-0.39

2 Net of dividends

Current Positioning And Outlook

While we acknowledge the many potential of risk on the horizon—economic, geopolitical, and financial—we also think that these concerns have already been reflected, perhaps even excessively so, in current valuations. In relatively short order, we transitioned from a period this summer when domestic small-cap’s extended valuations seemed out of sync given the index’s high levels of debt and low profitability, to one at the end of the year where valuations seemed more pessimistic than we think is warranted—at least in select instances. As a result, we put cash to work as we identified what we thought were terrific opportunities to the point where the Fund was fully invested at year-end. Down years for small-caps have often been followed by strong ones. We believe that the portfolio’s cyclical approach to global small-caps will be rewarded as recessionary concerns dissipate during the year.

Average Annual Total Returns Through 12/31/18 (%)

QTR1 YTD1 1YR 3YR 5YR SINCE INCEPT. DATE
RGT -15.11-17.50-17.507.181.281.05 10/17/13
XRGTX -16.85-16.11-16.116.912.042.49 10/17/13

Annual Operating Expenses: N/A

1 Not annualized.

Important Performance and Disclosure Information

Important Performance and Expense Information

All performance information reflects past performance, is presented on a total return basis, and reflects the reinvestment of distributions. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Current performance may be higher or lower than performance quoted. Returns as of the most recent month-end may be obtained at www.roycefunds.com. The market price of the Fund's shares will fluctuate, so that shares may be worth more or less than their original cost when sold.

The Fund invests primarily in securities of small-cap and mid-cap companies, which may involve considerably more risk than investing in larger-cap companies. The Fund's broadly diversified portfolio does not ensure a profit or guarantee against loss. From time to time, the Fund may invest a significant portion of its net assets in foreign securities, which may involve political, economic, currency and other risks not encountered in U.S. investments.

Closed-End Funds are registered investment companies whose shares of common stock may trade at a discount to their net asset value. Shares of each Fund's common stock are also subject to the market risks of investing in the underlying portoflio securities held by each Fund, respectively. Royce Fund Services, LLC ("RFS") is a member of FINRA and may file this material with FINRA on behalf of each Fund. RFS is not an underwriter or distributor of the closed-end funds.

Current month-end performance may be obtained at our Prices and Performance page.

Notes to Performance and Other Important Information

The thoughts expressed in this report concerning recent market movements and future prospects for small company stocks are solely the opinion of Royce at December 31, 2018, and, of course, historical market trends are not necessarily indicative of future market movements. Statements regarding the future prospects for particular securities held in the Funds’ portfolios and Royce’s investment intentions with respect to those securities reflect Royce’s opinions as of December 31, 2018 and are subject to change at any time without notice. There can be no assurance that securities mentioned in this report will be included in any Royce-managed portfolio in the future.


As of 12/31/18, the percentage of Fund assets was as follows: Bravura Solutions was 0.7%, Virtu Financial Cl. A was 1.8%, Sartorius Stedim Biotech was 0.0%, Trade Me Group was 0.0%, Radisson Hospitality was 0.8%, CIRCOR International was 0.6%, Computer Modelling Group was 1.2%, SEI Investments was 1.2%, Air Lease Cl. A was 1.1%, Ferroglobe was 0.1%


Sector weightings are determined using the Global Industry Classification Standard (“GICS”). GICS was developed by, and is the exclusive property of, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC (“S&P”) and MSCI Inc. (“MSCI”). GICS is the trademark of S&P and MSCI. “Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS)” and “GICS Direct” are service marks of S&P and MSCI.

All indexes referred to are unmanaged and capitalization weighted. Each index’s returns include net reinvested dividends and/or interest income. Russell Company (“Russell”) is the source and owner of the trademarks, service marks and copyrights related to the Russell Indexes. Russell® is a trademark of Frank Russell Company. Neither Russell nor its licensors accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the Russell Indexes and/or Russell ratings or underlying data and no party may rely on any Russell Indexes and/or Russell ratings and/or underlying data contained in this communication. No further distribution of Russell Data is permitted without Russell’s express written consent. Russell does not promote, sponsor or endorse the content of this communication. The Russell 2000 Index is an index of domestic small-cap stocks. It measures the performance of the 2,000 smallest publicly traded U.S. companies in the Russell 3000 Index. The Russell 2000 Value and Growth Indexes consist of the respective value and growth stocks within the Russell 2000 as determined by Russell Investments. The Russell 1000 Index is an index of domestic large-cap stocks. It measures the performance of the 1,000 largest publicly traded U.S. companies in the Russell 3000 Index. The Russell Microcap Index includes 1,000 of the smallest securities in the Russell 2000 Index, along with the next smallest eligible securities as determined by Russell. The Russell Midcap Index measures the performance of the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity universe. It includes approximately 800 of the smallest securities in the Russell 1000 Index. The Russell Global ex-U.S. Small Cap Index is an index of global small-cap stocks, excluding the United States. The Russell Global ex-U.S. Large Cap Index is an index of global large-cap stocks, excluding the United States. The Russell 2500 is an unmanaged, capitalization-weighted index of the 2,500 smallest publicly traded U.S. companies in the Russell 3000 index. Source: MSCI. MSCI makes no express or implied warranties or representations and shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to any MSCI data contained herein. The MSCI data may not be further redistributed or used as a basis for other indexes or any securities or financial products. This report is not approved, endorsed, reviewed or produced by MSCI. None of the MSCI data is intended to constitute investment advice or a recommendation to make (or refrain from making) any kind of investment decision and may not be relied on as such. The MSCI ACWI Small Cap Index is an index of global small-cap stocks. The performance of an index does not represent exactly any particular investment, as you cannot invest directly in an index. Returns for the market indexes used in this report were based on information supplied to Royce by Russell Investments. Royce has not independently verified the above described information.

This material contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), that involve risks and uncertainties, including, among others, statements as to:

-the Funds’ future operating results,

-the prospects of the Funds’ portfolio companies,

-the impact of investments that the Funds have made or may make, the dependence of the Funds’ future success on the general economy and its impact on the companies and industries in which the Funds invest, and

-the ability of the Funds’ portfolio companies to achieve their objectives.

This discussion uses words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “future,” “intends,” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements for any reason.

The Royce Funds have based the forward-looking statements included in this commentary on information available to us on the date of the commentary, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Although The Royce Funds undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, you are advised to consult any additional disclosures that we may make through future shareholder communications or reports.

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