This has been a tough year for investors generally, but some funds have fared much worse than others. The riskiest have imploded.
Global stock markets have crashed this year, with the once rampant US technology sector suffering a severe sell-off.
Many of the stocks and funds operating in this sector became overhyped and overpriced after years of record-breaking returns.
Elon Musk’s electric car maker Tesla is down 51.25 percent year-to-date, with Facebook (now renamed Meta Platforms) plunging 63.52 percent.
Streaming service Netflix is desperately hoping to revive its fortunes with the upcoming documentary series about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, after suffering a 43.36 per cent share price blow out in 2022.
The UK’s two most popular funds have also been hammered, in particular the tech-focused Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust.
Investors have lost billions as a result.
But one fund that offered stellar prospects has done even worse.
The Seraphim Space Investment Trust was launched with great fanfare last summer as a UK-based fund focused on space technology.
It raised £178.4million via in oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO) and enjoyed immediate lift off.
The share price jumped from 102p to more than 130p in just two months, a rise of 27.5 percent.
It has been all crashing back to earth ever since. A seraph is a celestial or heavenly being but this one has had a hellish year, plummeting 61.99 percent so far in 2022.
That makes it one of the worst performers of all, with investors losing almost two thirds of their money, depending on when they bought it.
It’s a far cry from the optimism surrounding the launch, when Seraphim Space’s chair Will Whitehorn declared the fund had “hit the ground running”.
He said: “We fully expect Seraphim Space Investment Trust’s portfolio companies to be central protagonists in the space sector’s quest to help solve some of our world’s most pressing challenges.”
The pressing challenge Seraphim now faces is to turn this disastrous performance around before it crashes to earth.
The market has turned sharply against speculative investments like this one, Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell.
“Any investment fund dedicated to exploring the commercial possibilities of space definitely falls into the speculative bucket.”
Khalaf said the trust’s ambitions are high, but so are the risks. “Seraphim Space offers investors exposure to a niche set of companies, many of them very early stage that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible to ordinary investors.”
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Companies in the Seraphim portfolio aim to use space to provide data on events such as weather, climate change, defence and security
Others are aimed at keeping space exploration sustainable by removing debris and maintaining satellites.
Khalaf said: “It’s a specialist investment trust with an interesting story to tell, but investors should be wary as the potential for losses is very high if things don’t go to plan.”
The meltdown may tempt some investors, who can now buy this trust at a much cheaper price than at the start of the year.
It trades at an incredible discount of 53.52 percent to the underlying net asset value of the companies it holds.
That would often be a trigger to buy but tread carefully. Khalaf warns: “The discount may look attractive but bear in mind that the portfolio includes early stage companies which aren’t listed on a stock exchange. Their valuations can be sporadic and more subjective than a publicly listed company.”
He added: “The heavy discount may be a sign that the market thinks these valuations are a bit rich.”
Khalaf added: “A trust like this should only make up a tiny proportion of an otherwise well-diversified portfolio.”