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'We still have faith' - Openwork sticks with Woodford

Openwork’s fund arm Omnis Investments is sticking with fund manager Neil Woodford despite a prolonged period of poor performance.

'We still have faith' - Openwork sticks with Woodford

Openwork’s fund arm Omnis Investments is sticking with fund manager Neil Woodford despite a prolonged period of poor performance.

The advice network, which has over 700 wealth advisers, operates an investment proposition on a similar basis to St James’s Place. Omnis Investments acts as the authorised corporate director for funds that are managed on exclusive segregated mandates by third-party fund managers, such as Woodford.

Omnis has attracted over £6 billion in assets and the Omnis Income and Growth fund run by Woodford has attracted £386 million. However the fund is down 3.6% over the year and is one of the worst performers in the sector.

Speaking to New Model Adviser® as part of an exclusive interview, Openwork chief executive Mark Duckworth (pictured) said: ‘I think Mr Woodford’s had a tough time, it would be fair to say, over 18 months and it’s not the first time in his career.  I think he’s been through this twice before. It’s slightly different this time, I don’t think he’s necessarily at a contra-view to the market, but we’ve worked hard with Neil and the Omnis board to understand where he wishes to go.’

He added: ‘We’ve had a number of meetings with him in recent times, but yes we still have faith that Neil will turn it around. I think if anybody can, he will'.

Last Week Omnis announced a number of manager changes.

  • Citywire AA-rated Ezra Sun, head of Asia at Veritas Asset Management, will run the new Asia Pacific ex-Japan equity strategy. The new Japanese equity strategy will be managed by new managers Andrew Rose and Masaki Taketsume for Schroders.
  • At the moment Baillie Gifford is the investment manager for the Omnis Asia Pacific Equity fund but, when asked, a spokesman for the firm would not say if Baillie Gifford is being dropped from this mandate.
  • The Omnis UK Equity fund (with £1 billion of assets) is splitting into one strategy focused on smaller companies, run by Franklin Templeton’s Colin Morton and another investing in all UK firms, run by Citywire + rated Richard Bullas. Both will be managed by Franklin Templeton, which came on board as a replacement for Schroders earlier this month.
  • The fixed income fund will be split into a sterling corporate bond strategy, run by Citywire + rated Alasdair Ross and a UK gilt strategy managed by Dave Chappell – both managers are at Columbia Threadneedle.

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