In , Rose found that one of his clerks was suffering from pulmonary TB, but couldn’t find a hospital that would treat him. Having tried and failed to get treatment for his clerk, Rose decided to set up a hospital himself. He got started within a week and received support from Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens. Within five years, what was to become the Royal Brompton Hospital had treated almost 300 in-patients and almost 5,000 out-patients for TB. Today, the Royal Brompton Hospital is a global leader in the field of heart and lung surgery, and is the UK’s only specialist heart and lung unit for both adults and children.
Twenty years later, Philip Rose’s pioneering, “can-do” attitude spurred him to set up F&C Investment Trust.
Years later, Philip Rose’s son, Frederick Rose said,
I confess I am astounded at the pluck and determination of my Father, who would not take “No” for an answer, but battled on until he had succeeded in his task.
The directors of the Trust wanted to do their bit during the First World War by investing in British War Bonds. However, their Articles of Association prevented them from buying meaningful amounts. In , F&C Investment Trust had its Articles of Association amended to allow it to buy substantial amounts and by , the Trust’s single largest investment was 5% War Loan –.
The Trust also took part in the voluntary sale of American securities to release US dollars in order to “maintain the rate of exchange between this country and America and to pay for munitions etc.”
F&C Investment Trust’s first recorded purchase of an ordinary share was Shell Transport & Trading in . 90 years later, this company is still in the portfolio as Royal Dutch Shell. Other early equity investments included Peninsular & Oriental and Liebig’s Extract of Meat, followed by Debenhams, ICI, and General Electric.
By , the overwhelming majority of the portfolio was invested in equities (94.7%)
In the 1960s, F&C Investment Trust was one of the first UK generalist investment schemes to make equity investments in Japan via “eight of the best Japanese companies” (Michael Crichton, ). It’s worth remembering however, that the Trust had invested in Japanese bonds as long ago as .
In the 1970s, F&C Investment Trust invested in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals “Cats” and “Starlight Express”. “Cats” in particular more than washed its face: to date, it is one of the Trust’s most successful investments, and it still receives royalties over 40 years later.
In the 1970s, the portfolio’s top-ten holdings began to reflect the rise of the technology sector. Today, major holdings in the Trust’s portfolio include Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple.