Records of British Assets Trust Ltd, investment trust, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Ledgers 1911-1966
  • Brokers' ledger 1965-1967
  • Journals 1942-1965
  • Register of investments 1899-1943, 1959-1967
  • Investment records 1952-1968
  • Dividend register 1952-1967
  • Share records 1897-1946
  • Register of members 1898-1926
  • Register of directors 1898-1950
  • Statements 1898-1946
  • Purchase and sales records 1961-1964
  • Debentures repayable book 1932-1972
  • Cash book 1955-1962

Administrative / Biographical History

James Ivory (1862-1939) was born in 1862,  the son of William Ivory, Advocate, Sheriff of Inverness, Elgin and Nairn, Scotland, and Janet H Rankin. He was educated at Harrow School, England, before spending some time in Hanover, Germany. On his return to Edinburgh, Scotland, he was apprenticed to Moncrieff & Horsburgh , chartered accountants, qualifying as a CA in 1886  and setting up his own firm in that year. In 1887,  he married Florence T Wyckoff of New York, USA, and went on to have two sons and two daughters.

In 1895  , Ivory went into partnership with Thomas Watson Sime, CA, as Ivory & Sime . This partnership lasted until 1907  when Sime emigrated to Canada. That year also saw the company's incorporation as a limited liability company, Ivory & Sime Ltd .

The late nineteenth century was a period when many Edinburgh lawyers were developing a growing interest in the management and investment of other people's money, the investment trust movement having come into being with the creation of the Scottish American Investment Co Ltd in 1873  , by William Menzies. In 1898  , James Ivory set up British Assets Trust Ltd , an overseas investment company in Edinburgh, with a capital of £15,000 and by 1939  the trust was managing funds totalling £7million. This company was separate from Ivory & Sime, but was linked to it by its directors. From this time Ivory & Sime became associated with the management of investment trusts and by 1985 was managing a total of 13 investment trusts all of which were listed on the London stock exchange as public limited companies.

British Assets Trust Ltd invested in mainly American and Australian stocks and shares in companies such as banks, building societies, lighting companies and railroads but there was also some investment in Scottish financial companies. In 1905  , British Assets Trust Ltd acquired the assets and funds of the Caledonian Assets Trust Ltd , investment trust, Edinburgh, when that company was liquidated. In 1920,  the company acquired the share capital of the Edinburgh American Land Mortgage Co Ltd , renaming it in 1925  as the Second British Assets Trust Ltd . These companies came under the management of Ivory & Sime Ltd and were registered at the same offices in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh.

The company became a public limited company as British Assets Trust plc, probably in 1988  at the same time as Ivory & Sime became Ivory & Sime plc. In 2003, the company was still trading with interests predominantly in the UK and others in America, Japan and Europe.


The material has been arranged into series as shown in the scope and content. Within series, items are generally arranged chronologically.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Permanent loan : via BACS : June 1986 :ACCN 0084

Other Finding Aids

The catalogue of British Assets Trust Ltd's records exists as part of the UGD 228 finding aid which also includes catalogues of companies owned by Ivory & Sime Ltd or in which they had an interest. A digital file level list is available searchroom.

Manual file list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1577, replaced by NRA(S)2764) and London (NRA21280)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Ivory & Sime Ltd, investment trust managers, Edinburgh


None expected

Related Material

Ivory & Sime Ltd owned or held interests in a number of investment trust companies whose records exists as follows:

GB 248 UGD 228/1 Records of Ivory & Sime Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/3 Records of Second British Assets Trust Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/4 Records of Independent Investment Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/5 Records of Investors' Capital Trust Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/6 Records of Second Investors' Mortgage Security Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/7 Records of Scottish Realisation Trust Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/9 Records of Edinburgh American Land Mortgage Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/10 Records of the Pleasance Trust

GB 248 UGD 228/11 Records of Atlantic Assets Trust Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/12 Records of Clydesdale Investment Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/13 Records of Third Scottish Western Investment Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/14 Records of Second Caledonian Trust Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/15 Records of Third Caledonian Trust Co Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/16/1/1-2 Records of Edinburgh Trust & Agency Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/16/1/3 Records of Electrical Securities Trust Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/16/1/4 Records of Canning Downs Estate Ltd

GB 248 UGD 228/16/1/5 Records of Caledonian Assets Trust Ltd

See source list on Banking and Finance available via Glasgow University Archive Services home page at

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 15 January 2003

No alterations made to date


Geographical Names