Neil Woodford's exit from Invesco Perpetual could shake up industry

Departure

The supposedly plain-speaking Neil Woodford opted for vagueness in explaining his departure next year from Invesco Perpetual: "My decision to leave is a personal one based on my views about where I see long-term opportunities in the fund management industry."

But what are those views? And whose long-term opportunities is Woodford referring to? His, Invesco Perpetual's or clients'? Has he had a row with his bosses? Or is he bored or frustrated by the bureaucratic hassle that comes with managing £33bn?

All will be explained in due course, apparently. But the one certainty here is that a substantial slice of that £33bn will follow Woodford to his next venture since his following among UK retail investors is second to none.

So let's hope Woodford puts his fame and impressive track record to good use. A simple step would be to charge lower management fees at his standalone gig. An annual fee of, say, 1% would undercut the 1.5% currently charged by both his main Invesco income funds.

If he owned the management company, Woodford would almost certainly be able to pay himself more than he earns at Invesco Perpetual and his investors could then get a similar product at the same price. Under that plotline, everyone's a winner – apart from Woodford's current employer, of course.

But the fund management industry deserves to suffer a shakeup beyond the regulatory overhaul of commissions. It still seems to be padded with hidden fees that make UK funds among the most expensive in the world for retail investors. If Woodford's version of "long-term opportunities" involves lower fees and fewer middlemen we should cheer him on his way.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nils Pratley, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 15th October 2013 18.53 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

image: © C.P.Storm

JefferiesAnd the Best Place to Work in the global financial markets 2016 is...

Register for Financial Markets News Alerts