Keystone trust board backs Mark Barnett to perform

The board of the £263.4m Keystone Investment Trust has backed manager Mark Barnett of Invesco Perpetual to continue his strong performance as he prepares to take over responsibility for more than £30bn in assets from Neil Woodford.

In its annual financial report the trust’s chairman Beatrice Hollond said the board was “confident” that Mr Barnett would be able to keep running the product alongside the Invesco Perpetual Income and High Income funds, which he will take on in April when Mr Woodford leaves to set up his own company.

Ms Hollond said: “We believe the recent recognition by Invesco of Mark’s talent in naming him as successor to Neil Woodford is well deserved.”

Article continues after advert

As well as taking on Mr Woodford’s funds, Mr Barnett also runs the £64.3m Invesco Perpetual Select UK Equity trust and the £949.8m Perpetual Income & Growth trust, alongside the UK equity portion of a global equity trust.

Mr Barnett - who has now run the Keystone trust for 10 years - has led the trust to post a 387.7 per cent share price total return since he took over to September 30, the end of the trust’s financial year.

The manager hailed strong performance from holdings in Thomas Cook, BT and BAE Systems during the 12 months to September 30.

But he warned of volatility in equity markets next year driven mainly by the reduction of quantitative easing in the US, which he said would be “longer and slower than previously believed”.

“It is unlikely that the performance of the market over the past year will be repeated over the coming 12 months,” Mr Barnett said.

“The portfolio strategy therefore remains largely unchanged from the recent past, with a strong preference for companies that have proven ability to grow revenues, profits and free cash flow in this low growth world, coupled with management teams that are fully cognisant of the need to deliver sustainable, long term, dividend growth.”