Skandia shifts $1 bln to manager Woodford's new firm from Invesco

LONDON Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:49am EDT

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LONDON Aug 22 (Reuters) - Star British fund manager Neil Woodford will get a 640 million pound ($1.1 billion) boost for his new investment firm from asset manager Skandia, which is shifting money to him from Invesco Perpetual funds that he previously managed.

"Following the launch of the Woodford Investment Management Equity Income fund, we have decided to transfer assets ... so that investors continue to benefit from the proven investment expertise of Neil Woodford," Skandia said in a statement.

The money will shift from the Skandia Invesco Perpetual funds into the OMW Old Mutual Woodford Investment Management fund in October. Investors can still choose to invest with Invesco Perpetual using another Skandia fund.

The move follows an announcement by investment group St James's Place earlier this year that it was ending 7.7 billion pounds worth of investment mandates with Invesco Perpetual and would allocate nearly half of that to Woodford.

"We suspect Skandia will be the first in a line of life companies who switch Invesco Perpetual investors into Woodford's new fund," said Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Life companies do close funds from time to time because of lack of investor interest, but to switch from one manager to another in this way is a highly discretionary call," he added.

Woodford, who left Invesco Perpetual in April, built a name for himself during more than 25 years at the firm.

The Invesco Perpetual High Income Fund gained more than 2,200 percent under him, data from fund tracker Lipper showed, while the FTSE All-Share Total Return index rose 868 percent.

($1 = 0.6029 British Pounds) (editing by Jane Baird)

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