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Simon Read: Woodford walkaway means a waiting game for investors

  • @simonnread

There was shock in investment circles this week when legendary fund manager Neil Woodford (pictured) revealed he is leaving Invesco Perpetual, the investment firm he's been at for more than a quarter of a century.

The reason for the shock is that he's been a fixture for so long and very much an investor favourite. His performance figures reveal why. Anyone who invested £1,000 into his High Income fund at launch in 1988 would now be sitting on £22,919.51. Meanwhile a similar amount invested in the FTSE All Share would be worth just £10,254.66.

His many fans have also enjoyed Mr Woodford's outspoken interventions as an active investor and the fact that he's called the market right on several occasions, most notably when he avoided the first internet bubble.

So his departure from Invesco sparked some panic selling. But anyone who decided to take their money out of Mr Woodford's funds is missing they way they work. Sure, he was the man who led their investment strategy and his departure, which is not until April, by the way, may lead to some changes in due course.

But his replacement Mark Barnett has been at Invesco himself for 17 years. He will almost certainly continue on the same path set by Mr Woodford. Even if Mr Barnett has his own ideas, it will be some time before he will start tinkering with the funds.

In short, don't panic. Stick with the investment, unless you've changed your mind yourself about its strategy. Wait and see what happens rather than rushing to change.