Woodford Gets His First $6.1 Billion as Invesco Loses

Neil Woodford will take at least 3.7 billion pounds ($6.1 billion) of client funds with him when the mutual-fund manager leaves Invesco Ltd.’s U.K. arm at the end of this month.

St. James’s Place Plc said today that it will become the first firm to invest with Woodford Investment Management as Woodford, 54, keeps control of three funds he oversees at Invesco Perpetual. The British wealth manager and insurance company will also transfer other Invesco mandates to Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd. and Manulife Financial Corp.

Shares of Invesco fell as much as 3.6 percent. Woodford, who managed about 33 billion pounds for Invesco Perpetual, is known for avoiding bank shares before the collapse of financial markets in 2008. The announcement of his planned departure in October wiped almost $1 billion off Atlanta-based Invesco’s market value, and the company reported $4.8 billion of client withdrawals in the fourth quarter.

St. James’s aims to provide “clients with peace of mind through a seamless transition,” Chris Ralph, the company’s chief investment officer, said in the statement.

An Invesco spokeswoman declined to comment. The company’s shares were down $1 to $36.68 at 11:40 a.m. in New York. Mark Barnett is taking over Woodford’s role as head of U.K. equities at Invesco Perpetual.

Oakley Office

About 7.7 billion pounds of St James’s Place funds that were managed by Invesco were reassigned to Woodford or other firms today. A spokesman for St. James’s Place said Woodford’s departure provided a catalyst for the company to review several other funds.

Woodford will take over St. James’s U.K. Equity and Income Distribution funds as well as the U.K. High Income Unit Trust.

“It is a huge endorsement, not only of Neil, but also of Woodford Investment Management,” said Craig Newman, head of retail asset management at Woodford’s partner, Oakley Capital Management Ltd. He said the new firm is seeking regulatory approval.

Threadneedle’s Richard Colwell, Stephen Thornber and Jim Cielinski have been given two funds, including a 3.2 billion-pound mandate previously known as Invesco Perpetual Managed Fund. Some 35 percent of that fund had been run by Woodford.

St. James’s Place has also returned a 719.9 million-pound Global Equity Income fund to former Invesco employees Paul Boyne and Doug McGraw, who both joined Manulife in March 2013.

Woodford will run his new firm from Oakley’s offices near London’s Sloane Square. Founded by entrepreneur Peter Dubens, Oakley Capital oversees about 1 billion pounds in assets and supports businesses including Oakley Capital Private Equity, an investor in Time Out magazine.

Invesco has a 64 percent stake in Oakley’s Bermuda-based investment company that trades on London’s Alternative Investment Market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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