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Big changes ahead for Invesco UK equity investors as Mark Barnett leaves

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Invesco has announced an overhaul of its UK equities product range and team, including renaming and merging funds, plus the mutual agreement that Mark Barnett will leave the firm.

Barnett clocked up two decades at Invesco and was the former protégé of disgraced fund manager, Neil Woodford.

Invesco today announced that Barnett has left, with James Goldstone and Ciaran Mallon taking over as co-managers of the open-ended funds. Martin Walker will continue to lead the team as Head of UK Equities and will manage the Perpetual Income and Growth Investment Trust.

The firm is also proposing a reorganisation of the Invesco UK Equity product portfolio “to help add further clarity, differentiation and focus”.

Proposals (subject to regulatory approval) include:

  • Changing the name of The Invesco High Income Fund (UK) to Invesco UK Equity High Income Fund (UK) and changing the distribution frequency to quarterly
  • Changing the name of Invesco Income Fund (UK) to Invesco UK Equity Income Fund (UK)
  • Merging the Invesco UK Strategic Income fund (UK) with the Invesco UK Equity Income fund (UK)
  • Changing the name of Invesco UK Growth Fund (UK) to Invesco UK Opportunities Fund (UK)
  • Merging the Invesco UK Focus Fund (UK) with the Invesco UK Opportunities Fund (UK).

Chief investment officer, Stephanie Butcher, said: “In reorganising the UK Equities portfolio and after discussion with Mark Barnett, we have mutually concluded that this is the right time for him to hand over the leadership of these funds and leave Invesco; we wish to place on record our appreciation of Mark’s profound commitment to both clients and colleagues over 24 years.

“We remain committed to our valuation-driven investment philosophy and are confident that in James and Ciaran we have the right leadership in place to capitalise on the value that exists in the UK market and deliver long-term Investment results for our clients.”

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said the news of Barnett leaving comes as little surprise as performance suffered over the last couple of years and questions hung over the portfolio position of illiquid small caps and unquoted companies.

He said: “While Invesco would have been hoping that the steps taken to improve performance in recent months would have been sufficient, it is clear that making a clean break has been decided as the better course of action for both parties. With a review of the UK range also having taken place, Invesco clearly want to try and get their UK franchise back on the front foot, however it will take a long time for the new managers to turn around performance.”

Hughes added that investors will need to think about whether they remain in the Invesco funds and further clarity will be needed from the new managers as to any portfolio changes that may be made.

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