Majedie takes control of £1.1bn Barnett trust

Majedie takes control of £1.1bn Barnett trust

Majedie has formally taken control of the £1.1bn Edinburgh investment trust, which had previously been run by Mark Barnett at Invesco, and before him by Neil Wodford.

This morning (March 4) the trust's board confirmed the appointment of James de Uphaugh of Majedie as manager with immediate effect, while Invesco also lost the right to act as the trust's administrator, with Praxis FM winning that contract.

The intention to replace Mr Barnett as manager with Mr de Uphaugh was first announced in December, after the trust’s results showed its under performance had extended beyond three years.

Over the past three years the trust has lost 14 per cent while its sector, the AIC UK Equity Income, has gained 7 per cent. It is the second-worst performing trust in its sector over that period.

This piles more pressure on Mr Barnett, who is co-head of UK equities at Invesco. The Invesco Income and High Income funds he manages have under performed over the past three years, and investors have withdrawn at least £7.5bn from those funds over the past three years, according to data from Morningstar.

The fund manager has also been warned by the board of the Perpetual Income and Growth trust, which he also runs, that performance needs to improve if he is to maintain the mandate.

Mr Barnett took over the management of most of those funds when he replaced Neil Woodford as head of UK equities at Invesco in 2014 - the Perpetual Income and Growth trust being the exception, since he had already managed it.

He deployed the same value style of investing as Mr Woodford, and had major investments in many of the same companies as his former boss, including chronic underperformers such as Stobart Group and Provident Financial.  

He took the same view as Mr Woodford on Brexit, declaring that the impact would be much less severe than the market expected, and that this meant UK domestically focused stocks were the most attractive part of the market. 

Mr Barnett also invested alongside Mr Woodford in a number of unquoted companies which subsequently ran into problems. 

The investment strategy resulted in the collapse of Mr Woodford’s business and his removal as manager of the three funds he ran.

Glen Suarez, chairman of the Edinburgh investment trust said: “We are delighted that Majedie has now taken over the portfolio. We believe James has the skills and experience, coupled with the right total returns approach, to capitalise on the great opportunities currently available in the market.

"Majedie’s flexible investment approach and team culture, which clearly distinguished its offer during the selection process, should enable it to meet our objectives of capital appreciation and dividend growth over the long term."

Mr de Uphaugh said: "Majedie’s investment process is founded on rigorous, bottom-up, fundamental research. We are confident that this approach is well suited to the next phase of the market cycle, particularly given the significant valuation opportunities available in UK equities."