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Advisers split on Woodford hold or fold move

Dampier

Advisers have returned a mixed verdict on whether now is the time to hold or sell Invesco Perpetual Income guru Neil Woodford’s Income and Higher Income funds.

Woodford’s funds have lagged behind their peers in the IMA UK Equity Income sector in the past 12 months but he remains one of the most successful managers in the sector over the longer term having beaten the average return over three and five years.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier (pictured) says: “He has a defensive stance and if you think the market will struggle these are the funds for you. I don’t think size is an issue and he will always bounce back. I would diversify the fund with a couple of others like the Marlborough Multi-Cap Income fund and the JO Hambro Capital Management UK Equity Income fund.”

Skerritt Consultants head of investments Andy Merricks says: “He is not really an active manager as he is limited in what he can invest in because of the size of these funds. Whether it is short or longer term, there are still better options out there. Unicorn UK Income has produced double the returns Woodford has in the past few years.”

Whitechurch Securities investment manager Ben Willis says the firm will continue to hold Woodford’s income funds.

He says: “You have to accept that investing in these fund is a long-term view. Size is an issue that stops him investing in certain areas but he has always performed in the end and that is all investors care about. You need to mix the super-tanker income funds with nimbler offerings to get the right diversification.”

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