Friday 15 May 2020 10:31 am

Woodford protege Mark Barnett leaves Invesco after 24 years

Woodford protege Mark Barnett is leaving Invesco after 24 years, after a disappointing few months.

Invesco confirmed the departure after Sky News reported Barnett would be leaving the firm after a difficult few months for the fund manager.

Read more: Invesco and Woodford protege Mark Barnett sacked by Perpetual Income and Growth

It comes just weeks after he was sacked by Perpetual Income and Growth Trust after more than two decades. The trust’s board said it was concerned with Invesco’s “poor performance.” It was a further blow to Barnett, who was also sacked by Edinburgh Investment Trust at the end of last year.

Last month Barnett was forced to apologise to investors over his performance after his £5.1bn high income and £2.7bn income funds were downgraded by Morningstar. It had cited concerns over the funds’ exposure to smaller and illiquid companies.

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The performance of Barnett’s funds has been hit by a drop in the value of a number of listed companies he had large stakes in, including AA, BT and Kier.

The fund manager’s responsibilities will be taken on by two members of the firm’s UK equities team, James Goldstone and Ciaran Mallon. Barnett’s departure was agreed following a review by chief investment officer Stephanie Butcher.

Read more: Goldman Sachs in talks to buy Invesco holdings

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said: ““News that Mark Barnett has left Invesco will perhaps come as little surprise after the last couple years with performance suffering and questions being asked over the positions taken in the portfolios, particularly around illiquid small caps and unquoted companies.”

“While Invesco would have been hoping that the steps taken to improve performance in recent months would have been sufficient, it is clear that making a clean break has been decided as the better course of action for both parties. With a review of the UK range also having taken place, Invesco clearly want to try and get their UK franchise back on the front foot, however it will take a long time for the new managers to turn around performance.”

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