Neil Woodford tops performance table with 20% return

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As the first anniversary of the popular Woodford Equity Income fund approaches, star manager Neil Woodford is sitting at the top of the performance tables.

Since its launch on 19 June last year, the fund has returned 20% per cent, compared to a sector average of 9.3 per cent, making it the best performing UK Equity Income fund over this period.

Although this is a very short period, the performance of the new fund continues the trend of Woodford’s career spanning more than 25 years.

Since taking over the Invesco Perpetual High Income fund in 1988, Neil Woodford has turned a £1,000 investment into £28,070, compared to £10,540 from the FTSE All Share.

The Woodford Equity Income fund currently stands at £5.7bn at the last count, putting it comfortably in the UK’s top ten biggest retail funds.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says: “Woodford’s stock selection has been particularly strong in smaller growth companies and large high yield companies. Small-caps contributed particularly positively to performance, accounting for around 40 per cent of performance, despite making up only 15 per cent of the fund. This is particularly impressive against a backdrop in which small cap growth stocks as a whole have actually lost money.

“At a sector level, a miniscule exposure to the oil and gas sector has helped relative to peers. The fund has benefited from exposure to healthcare, financials and consumer goods stocks. Woodford’s stock selection has been particularly good in financials, where he holds no banks but has taken positions in Allied Minds and Provident Financial, among others, which have performed well.

“The former stock also illustrates a slight kicker Woodford has got from using his international allocation to invest in US stocks, which have benefited from a strengthening dollar.”

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