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EIT keeps Invesco Perpetual but will cut costs

THE board of Edinburgh Investment Trust has decided to keep the trust's management with Invesco Perpetual, despite the departure of star manager Neil Woodford, but has driven down its costs.

Mark Barnett, who has worked with Mr Woodford for 17 years, has taken over at the helm of the £1.1billion trust, as proposed by the London-based group which won the mandate from Fidelity in 2009.

After Mr Woodford announced last October that he would quit in April, a "careful review" was announced by EIT chairman Jim Pettigrew, the Scots accountant and former CMC Markets chief executive, who is also a non-executive at Aberdeen Asset Management.

EIT still has strong support from Scottish investors and includes three senior Scottish financial figures on its board: former investment chiefs Dick Barfield (Standard Life) and Max Ward (Baillie Gifford) and former Bank of Scotland executive Gordon McQueen.

The trust has underperformed its sector over the past year, ranking 19th out of 25 UK growth and income trusts, according to Investment Life & Pensions Moneyfacts. Over the five years of Mr Woodford's tenure it ranks 10th, though analysts say it has performed well.

Mr Pettigrew said the manager had agreed to move to a flat rate fee of 0.55% of market cap with no performance fee, and a cut of up to £7.5m in the performance fee for the current year.

He said: "Mark shares the same active, value-driven investment approach and long-term focus as Neil Woodford and comes to us with an excellent track record built up over many years of managing money." EIT shares rose 10p to 583p.

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