Invesco exec departs to set up fund

Neil Woodford, who oversees the U.K.'s largest equity fund, is leaving Invesco Perpetual after more than 25 years to set up his own company.

Oct 15, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

Neil Woodford, who oversees the U.K.'s largest equity fund, is leaving Invesco Perpetual after more than 25 years to set up his own company.

Mark Barnett, 43, was named head of U.K. equities and will run the Invesco Perpetual High Income Fund and the Invesco Perpetual Income Fund, which have a combined $39 billion in assets, at the end of a six-month transition, Invesco said in a statement Tuesday.

“My decision to leave is a personal one based on my views about where I see long-term opportunities in the fund-management industry,” Mr. Woodford, 53, said in a statement. “My intention is to establish a new fund-management business serving institutional and retail clients as soon as possible.”

Mr. Woodford, who joined the British unit of Atlanta-based Invesco Ltd. in 1988, oversees about 33 billion pounds from Henley-on-Thames, England. He declined to comment on his new venture, adding that details will be provided after he departs on April 29.

The Invesco Perpetual High Income Fund fund has returned 12% annually over the past five years, exceeding the returns of 57% of similar funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It counts GlaxoSmithKline Plc, BT Group Plc, British American Tobacco Plc, BAE Systems Plc and BT Group Plc among its biggest holdings.

Mr. Woodford's departure follows a decision by Sanjeev Shah to step down from Fidelity Worldwide Investment's Special Situations Fund last month, five years after taking over from Anthony Bolton.

Invesco named Ciaran Mallon, 42, to immediately take over the U.K. equity components of the Invesco Perpetual Monthly Income Plus Fund and the Invesco Perpetual Distribution Fund. Mallon will work with fixed-income managers Paul Causer and Paul Read.

“We have planned for succession for many years and have built a world-class investment culture,” Mark Armour, chief executive officer of Invesco Perpetual, said in the statement. “Barnett is an exceptional fund manager who has the same active, value-driven investment approach and long-term focus as Neil. A key member of the U.K. equities team for 17 years, Mark has a first-quartile track record over one, three and five years.”

Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc, the U.K.'s largest publicly traded broker, said investors should maintain their holdings in the fund.

“I myself will be remaining invested,” he said. “For new investors we would suggest waiting until the new manager has taken over the fund.”

(Bloomberg News)

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