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Peak practice

Raising investor awareness of branding is clearly an uphill climb so is it any surprise that Invesco Perpetual has brought back its mountain logo? The image is famous for being the visual identity of Perpetual until its takeover by Invesco at the end of 2000.

Fund managers have a lot of work to do to restore confidence among investors, particularly those who are barely recovering from the technology crash.

One of the few fund managers who explicitly refused to jump on the technology bandwagon was Neil Woodford, the highly influential income fund manager at Perpetual and now Invesco Perpetual.

His scepticism about technology stocks was rewarded by strong performance for the income fund which has returned 22 per cent, 32 per cent, 62 per cent and 276 per cent over one, three, five and 10 years against average returns from the UK equity income sector of 15.5 per cent, 12.5 per cent, 8 per cent and 133 per cent over the same periods.

John Scott and Partners financial planning director Amanda Davidson feels the Perpetual part of the relationship could be coming out of the shadows.

She says: “It is interesting to see elements of the Perpetual culture creeping back in. For example, Invesco Perpetual is giving fund managers like Neil Woodford a degree of autonomy, where there is a danger in a bigger operation of losing that.”

Best Invest investment adviser Justin Modray thinks the move reveals a swing in the balance of power at the fund firm, particularly after moving some of Invesco staff to Perpetual’s base in Henley-on-Thames last year. He says: “The change in logo makes no difference from a general point of view because investment should be based on research but, as far as the public perception goes, this change would suggest that Perpetual has become the dominant partner. On top of the movement of Invesco’s fund management staff to Henley, it would suggest that Perpetual has gained the upper hand and is now calling the shots.”

Equal Partners managing director Vivienne Starkey prefers the mountain branding and thinks that consumers will still recognise it. She says: “Using the old logo is a sensible thing to do. It was a strong brand and it was silly to do away with it.”

Baronworth director Colin Jackson says: “I cannot see the reason for changing the logo in the first place. It takes years to establish a brand like Perpetual’s in the eyes of the public, why change it?”Invesco Perpetual is keen to associate the themes of heritage, strength, consistency, durability and longevity with its brand in the minds of IFAs.

Director of marketing Rick White says: “We are trying to corner the Isa market in the first quarter and obviously there is lots of activity in this quarter. But we are not setting out our stall to meet Isa season trends.”

YouGov research carried out for Invesco Perpetual reveals that many investors are not influenced by the Isa season. Just over 50 per cent of investors surveyed said there was no pattern to their investment while, of the 49 per cent who said they invested at specific points in the year, only 35 per cent planned to invest in the first quarter.

Invesco Perpetual is keen to emphasise the importance of saving regularly, even to lump-sum investors, who can take up a drip-feed option on their funds to avoid having to bet on timing the market.

Egg design and marketing director Martin Fox says: “I think the Invesco Perpetual look previously had gone very anonymous. This is a good move but, of course, a brand has to reflect the delivery in this market.”

Fidelity head of distribution Michael Jones says: “Heinz beans is a strong brand but what does that mean to you? It has to mean good beans. It is not what a brand is, it is what it stands for that counts.”

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