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Invesco Perpetual grab Merrill Lynch Asset Allocator trust

Invesco Perpetual has snatched the management contract for Merrill Lynch Asset Allocator trust ahead of a capital reorganisation of the vehicle.

The trust, which has growth and balanced share classes, is to be split into four share classes, subject to shareholder approval.

Under the board's plans Invesco Perpetual will run the assets that are segregated into three of the share classes.

This will be UK equity pot for Mark Barnett, a global equities pot for Karthryn Langridge and a short-dated fixed interest and cash pot. The firm will then outsource management of a fourth pot, which will be run by hedge fund firm Fauchier Partners.

The group's head of specialist funds Graeme Proudfoot said: 'This new product will invest worldwide and reflect the best ideas of all the Henley investment teams. Kathryn Langridge, head of international equities, will be responsible for the overall asset allocation of this portfolio.'

Under the scheme investors can choose to invest their money across the four share classes, picking more aggressive or defensive allocations depending on their own market views.

Shareholders will be offered annual opportunities to switch their assets between the share classes. This will not be treated as a disposal by the Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue and so will not incur a capital gains tax charge.

Under the current arrangements at MLIM the fund's management is headed up by Ewen Cameron Watt, though portions are outsourced to global equity specialists Southeastern Asset Management along with Fauchier Partners.

The trust has suffered from underperformance against its peers in the Association of Investment Trust Companies Overseas Growth sector over the past year. It has posted a return of some 22.8% against the sector's 35.2% over the year to 22 May 2006.

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