Morningstar approves Barnett’s takeover of Woodford’s Invesco funds

Morningstar has given its stamp of approval to Mark Barnett’s role replacing Neil Woodford on two Invesco Perpetual funds – a year after he took on the job.

The research firm has bumped the Invesco Perpetual High Income and Invesco Perpetual Income funds up from a neutral to a bronze rating, saying Barnett has proved he can handle the funds.

Barnett took over the two funds in March last year after star manager Neil Woodford left Invesco, following which it was reported that around £5bn of assets left the funds.

However, Morningstar says that Barnett’s similar approach to Woodford and his management of the fund over the past year have met their approval.

“Morningstar has a positive view of Barnett, bolstered by his strong track record managing similar mandates such as Invesco Perpetual UK Strategic Income and the Perpetual Growth and Income investment trust,” says the manager report.

“Morningstar has now seen evidence of [Barnett’s] ability to cope with the considerable increase in assets under his management, and he has the support of a rebuilt UK team allowing the fund’s rating to move from neutral to bronze.”

The research firm has also initiated coverage of the Invesco Perpetual UK Strategic Income, which Barnett has managed since 2006. Morningstar has awarded the fund a bronze rating too.

Speaking to Fund Strategy earlier this year, Nick Mustoe, chief investment officer at Invesco, said that Woodford’s departure had been a good thing for the asset manager as it had allowed it to make use of more of its fund manager talent, resulting in a boost to assets under management.

“We have reshaped the UK team and brought in good people, such as product director John Richards and Tim Marshall, an investment analyst who works with Mark Barnett. Life has moved on in a positive way,”  he said.

However, Woodford has just eclipsed the assets of his former Invesco fund. The assets to the end of July for Woodford’s Equity Income fund reached £6.7bn, surpassing the £6.4bn in Invesco’s equivilent fund at the end of June.