Mark Dampier: Fund boards have a duty to challenge managers

Mark Dampier smallerMark Dampier, one of the most influential fund selectors in the UK, has defended himself against the suggestion that his role as a non-executive director on the Invesco Income Growth Trust creates a conflict of interest.

“If I was to put out a note urging clients to buy the trust, we might receive orders in the millions – but the trust simply wouldn’t be able to fulfil them,” Dampier, who is head of investment research at Hargreaves Lansdown, told Funds Europe when asked about the issue.

Earlier this week Invesco announced that Dampier would take up the non-executive directorship in March.

Dampier said he would be baffled by the suggestion that a conflict arises and added there would be liquidity issues with directing client flows en-masse into the trust, which is comparatively small at £195 million (€250 million).

Dampier added: “I’ve dealt with conflict of interest issues before. In pre-Retail Distribution Review days, I’d select what I liked, and leave the room before commission was discussed. If a serious conflict arose now, I’d resign one of my positions – although, I won’t be leaving Hargreaves Lansdown.”

Dampier said his position will not stop him challenging the manager of the trust, Ciaran Mallon.

“I see it as a duty to challenge managers as and when necessary, and not just be passive. Not enough trust boards challenge their managers – this could be because so few contain industry representatives,” he said.

Dampier takes up the appointment on March 1, 2016. While he’s uncertain how much time he will be able to commit to the trust, he says the appointment will not detract from his work at Hargreaves Lansdown.

The share price of the Invesco Income Growth trust has risen 78.2% over five years, against the FTSE All-Share’s return of 33.8%.

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