Jupiter’s Chatfeild-Roberts: Woodford exit ‘blow’ to Invesco

Multi-managers have backed Invesco Perpetual’s Mark Barnett who is taking on Neil Woodford’s funds, following the news of Mr Woodford’s resignation today.

Mr Barnett is set to take over management of the giant Invesco Perpetual Income and High Income funds at the end of April 2014.

John Chatfeild-Roberts, head of the Jupiter Merlin multi-manager team, said: “We have been happy long-term holders of the Income fund. Mark Barnett has been working with Neil for many years and is a talented manager in his own right.”

Mr Chatfeild-Roberts described Mr Woodford as “a tremendous talent”, adding that his departure “will be a blow to Invesco”.

“Investors will need to make their own decisions based on their own assessment of his capabilities versus other contenders,” Mr Chatfeild-Roberts added.

But Aviva Investors’ head of multi-manager research Ian Aylward said it was “often best to err on the side of caution and exit” when a star manager leaves.

Although the Aviva Investors team does not hold any of Mr Woodford’s funds, Mr Aylward likened the effect of his departure to Richard Buxton’s resignation from Schroders earlier this year. This led to the Aviva Investors team selling out of the Schroder UK Alpha Plus fund.

“There is an individual that can step up who knows the investments and the funds,” Mr Aylward said. “But in these sorts of situations sometimes it does pay to exit.”

Simon Evan-Cook, manager on Premier Asset Management’s multi-asset team, said existing holders of the Invesco funds should look at how closely Mr Barnett worked with Mr Woodford and whether he can replicate the star manager’s performance.

“If you are happy with the replacement manager then there is no need to panic,” Mr Evan-Cook said.