InvestmentsJun 21 2019

Openwork replaces Woodford with Jupiter’s Whitmore

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Openwork replaces Woodford with Jupiter’s Whitmore

Openwork's asset management arm, Omnis, has chosen Jupiter’s Ben Whitmore to replace Neil Woodford as manager of its Income and Growth fund.

Omnis revealed on June 7 it was replacing Mr Woodford as manager of the £317m fund.

That announcement came just four days after Mr Woodford was forced to suspend dealing in his flagship £3.7bn Woodford Equity Income fund, with outflows running at about £9m a day.

Omnis already has a relationship with Jupiter, with the company managing the Omnis European Equity and Emerging Market funds.

Mr Whitmore runs the £1.9bn Jupiter UK Special Situations fund, which has returned 31 per cent over the past five years, slightly underperforming the IA UK All Companies sector over the same time period.

The Omnis Income and Growth fund is only available to clients of Openwork, which is one of the UK's largest adviser networks with 3,900 members.

Mike Morrow, wealth and platform director at Openwork, said: "We have the utmost confidence in the Omnis Income & Growth fund value-driven mandate and in Jupiter’s ability to manage the portfolio in the best interests of clients and advisers."

A spokesman for Openwork said Mr Whitmore was a fund manager who deployed the value style of investing.

This is style that has performed poorly in the UK in the decade since the financial crisis, as a world of relatively low growth, low interest rates and low inflation tends to boost the growth style of investing.

Stephen Pearson, Jupiter's chief investment officer, said Mr Whitmore would be assisted in running the Omnis Income and Growth fund by Richard Curling, who manages the £415m Jupiter UK Smaller Companies fund, which is the second best performing fund in the IA UK Smaller Companies sector over three years.

The fund has returned 76 per cent while the sector gained 42 per cent.

Mr Pearson said: "Richard will thoroughly analyse and manage the fund’s small and unquoted holdings and, over time, bring this element of the portfolio in line with Ben’s strategy.

"Omnis has been a valued client since we first took on a mandate for them over five years ago. At a time when it is crucially important to maintain investor confidence in active management, we look forward to working closely with them to help deliver the best outcomes for their clients and the advisers that serve them."