rita Whig takes over as manager of ailing US Growth fund in bid to turn around its fortunes
The manager of the poorly performing Invesco Perpetual US Growth fund has resigned and the mandate has been handed to Henley-based manager Rita Whig, the group's retail head of US equities.
Trent May, who managed the fund from Denver in the US, left the group at the beginning of July bringing forward the date which Invesco Perpetual planned to hand the fund over to Whig.
Invesco Perpetual chief investment officer Bob Yerbury said the move, which comes as the fund has slipped into the bottom five worst performing funds in the entire UK fund universe in the three years to 1 June 2002, was taken in the interests of investors.
In the three years to that date £1,000 invested in the fund would, on an offer to bid basis with net income reinvested, have fallen to £399.29 in value. At £28.88m the fund is also a shadow of the £77.9m fund as of 4 July 2001 and £116m in August 2000.
Only Framlington NetNet, Premier Technology and Aberdeen's EuroTechnology and Fund of Investment Trusts having performed worse over the period, according to figures from Standard & Poor's.
Whig, who joined Invesco Perpetual in September 2001, also currently manages the group's Invesco Perpetual US Core fund, the old Perpetual US fund. Currently, she has no other US fund manager back up, but Yerbury said the group is in the latter stages of recruiting a second manager to work with her.
Yerbury added the group is investigating ways of making better use of the Amvescap group research on the US to further strengthen the investment process.
The US Core fund is ranked 77 out of 85 funds in the North America funds sector in the year to 17 June with losses of 30.5% compared to a sector average loss of 25.5%. Speaking of the US Growth fund, Yerbury said: 'We decided a few weeks ago that we were going to bring the fund back to the UK.
It has suffered poor performance and I felt we had to make a change because that was not something we could accept. As we had Rita in Henley we felt we had the option of bringing it back.'
Yerbury said the fund will remain an aggressive growth fund, but it will have a more balanced, less technology-focused approach, so reducing sector specific risk.
'The reason for the poor performance was that it had a far too high weighting in technology. The manager was a committed technology investor and bought into the idea of the new era. We all know what has happened since March 2000,' Yerbury said.
'The companies he owned were reasonable companies but they were far too expensive looking back to 2000. The Nasdaq is down now over 70% since then and these companies have suffered as a result.'
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