New Edinburgh manager after Woodford exit

DISTINGUISHED fund manager Neil Woodford will officially be replaced as lead portfolio manager at Edinburgh Investment Trust (EIT) by Invesco Perpetual’s Mark Barnett.

Woodford’s departure from the trust was announced in October last year, but his replacement was only revealed yesterday, after a decision by the board to retain Invesco’s management.

Shares in the trust dropped sharply after Woodford’s departure, reflecting the high regard he has throughout the sector.

“We are delighted that the board of EIT has decided to retain Invesco Perpetual as manager of the trust. At Invesco Perpetual we believe we have a world class investment team and in Mark Barnett a manager with long experience and an exceptional track record,” said Invesco’s head of specialist funds, Graeme Proudfoot.

Share prices in the trust rose by 1.4 per cent yesterday following the announcement.

Woodford is moving from Invesco and the EIT to Oakley Capital, an investment group that claims over $1bn (£602.4bn) in managed assets.

EIT’s board also announced a change in the company’s fee structure in response to regulatory changes, which will take effect from April. Managers will then receive a flat fee of 0.55 per cent of the group’s market capitalisation, with no additional performance fee.

PROFILE: MARK BARNETT

FROM April, Mark Barnett will take over both as manager of Edinburgh Investment Trust’s portfolio, and of Invesco Perpetual’s income and high income funds.

He also takes Neil Woodford’s place as Invesco’s head of UK equities.

Barnett has been on Invesco’s equities team for the past 17 years, but his investment career started over two decades ago with Mercury Asset Management, before he switched to Invesco in 1996.

He is currently the manager of the group’s UK strategic income fund, with a first-quartile performance throughout the years that it has been under his stewardship. He has also managed the Keystone Investment Trust since 2003, as well as two other funds.

Barnett was named as the next manager of the flagship Invesco funds after Woodford said he would be bowing out in October last year. Barnett said at the time that he had a similar investment style to Woodford and was unlikely to make huge changes.

Edinburgh Investment Trust chairman Jim Pettigrew said: “Mark shares the same active, value-driven investment approach and long-term focus as Neil Woodford and comes to us with an excellent track record built up over many years of managing money.

“With Mark’s expertise, management continuity and lower cost, we believe these new management arrangements are an excellent outcome for the company and shareholders.”