Invesco’s chief investment officer Stephanie Butcher, who was appointed at the beginning of this year, has spearheaded the changes following a period of under-performance for the fund manager’s UK equity funds.
A number of images of Mr Barnett, who leaves after 24 years, were removed from the Invesco website today.
Ms Butcher said: “I have undertaken a comprehensive review of the UK equity range, recognising a period of disappointing performance and listening hard to client feedback. When I became CIO in January, I made it clear I would not shy from introducing change where I saw it necessary.”
The two key changes are:
• A proposed reorganisation of the Invesco UK Equity product portfolio to help add “further clarity, differentiation and focus.” There will be a “clear distinction” between the Invesco High Income Fund (UK) and the Invesco Income Fund (UK). The Invesco High Income Fund (UK)’s objective will be “clarified” to assist with investors’ understanding of the income objective and benchmarking of the fund’s income.
• Invesco is also proposing to merge the Invesco UK Strategic Income Fund (UK) with the Invesco Income Fund (UK), subject to FCA approval and the approval of shareholders in the Invesco Strategic Income Fund (UK).
James Goldstone and Ciaran Mallon take over as co-managers of the open ended funds that Mr Barnett was responsible for. Martin Walker will continue to lead the team as head of UK equities and will manage the Perpetual Income and Growth Investment Trust.
Ms Butcher said: “As we reorganise 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. All of us at Invesco wish to place on record our appreciation of Mark’s profound commitment to both clients and colleagues over 24 years.”
Mr Barnett said: “I am extremely proud of my career at Invesco and for my long term track record of value creation for my clients. I wish James and Ciaran huge success in managing the portfolios in the future.”
Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said: “News that Mark Barnett has left Invesco will perhaps come as little surprise after the last couple years with performance suffering and questions being asked over the positions taken in the portfolios, particularly around illiquid small caps and unquoted companies.”
Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at Willis Owen, said: “Barnett has struggled to produce the kind of returns the Income and High Income funds historically delivered, and other managers have stepped more firmly into the limelight. His close association with Woodford, a former protégé and sharing investments in illiquid assets created extra challenges and pressures for the manager and the business. His departure and subsequent restructuring of the Invesco UK equity fund range gives Invesco an opportunity to reset things.
“Nonetheless, this will leave the many thousands of investors who stuck it out with Barnett with a big decision to make. The fact is, there are other options out there that they can take now, who have proven track records, and this could, in the short term, result in further outflows from Invesco's flagship funds.”