Investment companies, especially counters with an empowerment tag, are offering fat discounts to the intrinsic worth of their portfolios. There are often quality assets on display, but realising the true worth of these assets is no cinch. As recent events have shown, the keys to unlock value are not always readily available, and some empowerment locks are near impossible to pick.

For instance, underlying subsidiaries might — by regulation — require strong empowerment ownership, which rules out selling such an asset, unless it’s to another equally empowered entity...

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