Neil Woodford’s protege Mark Barnett hits back after broker compares him to his former boss
Mark Barnett, a one-time protege of Woodford when both worked at Invesco, said claims of similarities were ‘misplaced’
A top stock picker at Invesco has come out fighting after analysts drew comparisons between his fund and the failed investment empire of Neil Woodford.
Mark Barnett, a one-time protege of Woodford when both worked at Invesco, said claims of similarities were ‘misplaced’.
He tried to place his former mentor at arm’s length, saying that he has taken the Invesco High Income and Income funds in a different direction since Woodford left to set up his own firm in 2013.
Analysts at data firm Morningstar published a note this week downgrading the two Invesco funds, raising concern about its high exposure to small, risky companies which are harder to sell in a hurry.
It noted Barnett was suffering from ‘an increasing number of stock-selection issues’ – a polite way of saying he had made some bad bets.
But Barnett said: ‘I, and Invesco, fundamentally disagree with these assessments.
‘The funds are appropriately positioned, well diversified and my team is adequately resourced.’
He said he had cut exposure to unlisted companies, which caused problems for Woodford, as they cannot be sold easily to other investors.
On comparisons with the fallen star manager, Barnett added: ‘Under my stewardship, the funds have chartered a very different course and it cannot be overstated that the portfolios I manage are very different.’
Over the past year, the Invesco High Income fund has lost investors 3.2 per cent of their money, while Invesco Income has slid by 1.4 per cent.
The High Income fund contains £6.1billion of savers’ money and the Income fund contains £2.8billion.
Barnett blamed lacklustre performance on Brexit uncertainty.