| LONDON, July 7
LONDON, July 7 Star British fund manager Neil
Woodford, who left Invesco Perpetual in April to start his own
firm, is beginning his new role with a focus on tobacco and drug
stocks, believing they can withstand what he expects will be a
faltering global economy.
Woodford built a strong following after managing money for
more than 25 years at Invesco, including the $22 billion Invesco
Perpetual High Income, Britain's largest equity fund.
In his first portfolio disclosure after he started managing
money for Woodford Investment Management last month, the fund
manager said the liquidity flows that have supported asset
prices over the past five years were going into reverse, while
growth in many parts of the world was being downgraded.
"I have been very careful in building a portfolio that
avoids sectors that I believe are vulnerable to a faltering
global economy," Woodford said in a statement.
"There is significant emphasis in my new fund on the tobacco
and pharmaceutical sectors. These two sectors are resilient to
falling demand, have strong balance sheets and attractive
valuations," he added.
Woodford's top bets at the end of June included AstraZeneca
Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, British American
Tobacco Plc and Imperial Tobacco Group Plc.
His new fund, which focuses on companies offering "sustained
dividend growth", also disclosed investments in Rolls-Royce
Holdings Plc and Imperial Innovations Group Plc.
Investors pay close attention to bets of high-profile fund
managers such as Woodford, who also committed to disclose all
the holdings of his CF Woodford Equity Income Fund on a monthly
basis. Most funds usually only disclose top-10 bets.
For over 25 years under Woodford, the Invesco Perpetual High
Income Fund gained more than 2,200 percent, according to data
from fund tracker Thomson Reuters Lipper. By comparison, the
FTSE All-Share Total Return index rose 868 percent.
Woodford stopped managing the fund in March this year and
moved on to start his own firm.
His new venture got off to an auspicious start with asset
management firm St James's Place announcing 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.
(Editing by Mark Potter)