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Hargreaves's Dampier joins Invesco investment trust board

Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, sets aside his doubts of investment trusts to join board of Invesco Income Growth Trust.

 
Hargreaves's Dampier joins Invesco investment trust board

Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, the country’s largest funds supermarket, has joined the board of Invesco Income Growth Trust (IVI) as a non-executive director.

The appointment, Dampier’s first outside Hargreaves Lansdown, is a bit of a coup for the £150 million equity income investment trust as the former financial adviser is a well-known financial commentator with a weekly column in the Independent.

Hugh Twiss, Invesco Income Growth chairman, said: ‘Mark brings with him a wealth of experience and wide knowledge of the investment trust world. In addition, his practical involvement, through Hargreaves Lansdown, in the huge growth of unadvised investors over recent years will greatly assist the board in meeting its objective of making Invesco Income Growth Trust plc as appealing and accessible as possible.’

Dampier said he was a fan of equity income funds, which he added would play an increasingly important role as more people retired and looked to take advantage of last year’s pension freedom reforms.

‘Having been an investment trust adviser, supporter and investor for 33 years, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the portfolio manager Ciaran Mallon [pictured below] and the board of Invesco Income Growth Trust,’ he said.

The move represents a bit of a propaganda victory too for the £134 billion investment trust sector, which has traditionally languished in obscurity alongside the £835 billion market in open-ended investment companies and unit trusts.

Investment trusts date back to the Victorian era and have proved they can deliver better long-term results for investors than open-ended funds. However, they are more difficult to understand and have lacked the marketing budgets of open-ended funds.

As the UK’s biggest investment broker, Hargreaves Lansdown has for a long time expressed scepticism towards investment trusts. Peter Hargreaves, co-founder of the Bristol-based firm, once dismissed them as ‘fuddy duddy’ and ‘dinosaurs’ on the brink of extinction.

Critics say Hargreaves didn’t like investment trusts because before 2013 brokers did not earn commission from investment trust groups in the way they did on open-ended funds.

Dampier has taken a more positive view, however, in interviews recognising the advantages that investment trusts’ ‘closed-end’ structure and use of gearing (borrowing) can bring investors.

Nevertheless, he has never selected an investment trust for Hargreaves Lansdown’s influential ‘Wealth 150’ list of fund recommendations, arguing the tendency for the shares to trade either below or above their underlying net asset value made them unsuitable as mass-market savings plans.

Inclusion in Wealth 150 could drive an investment trust share price to a dangerous premium, he feared.

Nevertheless, Hargreaves knows how to move with the times and has recently improved the online information it provides on investment trusts after the sector enjoyed a renaissance after the abolition of commission.

It has backed two of the biggest investment trust launches of recent times, heavily promoting star fund manager Anthony Bolton’s attempted comeback with Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS ) in 2010 and last year’s record £800 million launch by Neil Woodford of the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT ).

Dampier has long been a fan of Woodford (pictured left), who ran Invesco Perpetual’s flagship Income and High Income funds for over 25 years before quitting to set up on his own two years ago.

His admiration for Woodford may be another factor in today’s appointment.

On the face of it, the choice of Invesco Income Growth as Dampier’s first birth as a non-exec is surprising. Although Mallon has a Citywire AA performance rating, the trust is less well known than stable mates Edinburgh (EDIN ) and Perpetual Income & Growth (PLI ), which also sit in the UK Equity Income sector and have a more impressive track record.

However, they are now run by Mark Barnett (pictured above, right), the Citywire AAA-rated fund manager who succeeded Woodford as Invesco Perpetual’s head of UK equities and manager of its big income funds.

Dampier slighted Barnett by backing Woodford over Invesco Perpetual, adding his first fund, Woodford Equity Income , to the Wealth 150 list while excluding the Income and High Income funds now the hands of Barnett.

Of course investment trust boards are meant to independent of their fund managers and doubtless such considerations were not in play.

As it stands Invesco Income Growth has not had a new board director for five years. It could do with a fresh face even if with Dampier it has one that has not always beamed too kindly on investment trusts.

4 comments so far. Why not have your say?

dlp6666

Feb 17, 2016 at 14:53

IVI's Z-score is currently -2.11.

Perfect time to buy in, I think!

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Alan Jay

Feb 17, 2016 at 20:05

How cynical of Mr Dampier.

Along with his former boss (Mr Hargreaves) he used to regularly criticise investment trusts as an investment vehicle.and promote OEICs instead. Indeed it was difficult, if not impossible, to find information about investmen t trusts on their website. This all seemed to change when the rules changed and OEICs became a not so attractive way to generate lots of commission and perks. Excuse me if I don't rush to congratulate Invesco on its new appointment.

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DREXEL

Feb 19, 2016 at 18:32

"Hargreaves's" - now that's what I call a top quality possessive Gavin. Well done.

report this

kWIKSAVE

Apr 28, 2016 at 11:08

Dampier hardly needs the money. Perhaps some Investment Trusts will find their way on to HL's Wealth 150 list or be

included in their Mult-Manager funds. Don't hold your breath though.

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