Fund Review: Invesco Perpetual Global Opportunities

Stephen Anness has only been at the helm of the £154m Invesco Perpetual Global Opportunities fund since December 2012.

Having joined the firm in 2002, he worked on the UK team for star managers Neil Woodford and Mark Barnett until he took over the running of the fund.

Mr Anness explains the aim behind the fund is to generate capital growth for clients over the medium to long term.

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“What we’re trying to do is uncover companies where we think there is limited downside but very significant upside on a three-to-five-year horizon,” he adds.

He explains there are two core investment strategies behind the portfolio, with 80 per cent in what he considers to be “classic compounding companies”, and the other 20 per cent invested in special situations or those firms that the manager recognises “face more structural challenges”.

While its aim has remained consistent, Mr Anness acknowledges that he has changed the fund “quite a lot” to a more “definitive” process than what was in place before.

He says: “When I first took it on… there were around 56 to 60 holdings and I’ve taken that right down to 40. I’m a big believer in concentrated funds.”

He insists the fund’s investment process is much clearer now and notes he is not interested in companies that are “a bit cheap” or “in the middle of the spectrum”.

“What we want are the businesses at one end of the spectrum that are really good businesses, which can compound value over many years, and [firms] that are out of favour or special situations that require some change.”

Mr Anness has also bolstered the fund’s team, with the appointment last year of Andy Hall from Bramshott Capital to work with him on the global opportunities strategy.

He explains: “We felt that actually there was an opportunity in the marketplace for funds that were completely benchmark agnostic, a very unconstrained portfolio, and very high conviction-based investing, which is what this fund is, and we felt that it was right to have a very dedicated team in place to run the portfolio.”

Mr Anness is yet to build a significant track record but the performance of the fund last year is a reassuring start. According to FE Analytics, it delivered a respectable 13.97 per cent return in the year to April 23, placing it top quartile in the IMA Global sector.

The fund is top quartile over one, three and five years, although the manager admits he was only “partially involved” in that performance.

The portfolio’s “standout” performer last year was holiday company Thomas Cook. Mr Anness cites the firm as a good example of a ‘special situation’ business that was in “intensive care” at the end of 2011, but in 2013 its shares soared 300 per cent.

“In 2012, new management came in and started to change things and we had a very big position in this fund. At one point last year it was our biggest holding,” he says.