Neil Woodford protege Mark Barnett to leave role at Invesco

A former protege of troubled fund manager Neil Woodford is set to leave his role at investment manager Invesco.

Mark Barnett has agreed to leave the company where he spent more than two decades after negotiations with chief investment officer Stephanie Butcher.

“We have mutually concluded that this is the right time for him to hand over the leadership of these funds and leave Invesco,” Ms Butcher said.

“We wish to place on record our appreciation of Mark’s profound commitment to both clients and colleagues over 24 years.”

The news comes after Invesco scooped up the dubious honour of being ranked among Britain’s most under-performing funds in Bestinvest’s Spot the Dog report.

Mr Barnett was moved from head of UK equities to co-head last year.

Ryan Hughes, the head of AJ Bell’s active portfolios, said: “News that Mark Barnett has left Invesco will perhaps come as little surprise after the last couple of years, with performance suffering and questions being asked over the positions taken in the portfolios, particularly around illiquid small caps and unquoted companies.”

He added: “While Invesco would have been hoping that the steps taken to improve performance in recent months would have been sufficient, it is clear that making a clean break has been decided as the better course of action for both parties.”

James Goldstone and Ciaran Mallon will become co-managers of the open-ended funds that Mr Barnett was responsible for, Invesco said.

Ms Butcher added: “It is a credit to the quality of our team that we have the experience and capabilities of both James and Ciaran, who have worked together for seven years, to take on these new roles.

“They are highly regarded investment professionals with long-term track records of managing portfolios, both individually, and in partnership with other fund managers.”