Woodford's company closing down; reply to compensation claims

by Tom Bailey from Money Observer |

Neil Woodford has left Patient Capital Trust and is shutting Woodford Investment Management.

Following the decision to wind up LF Woodford Equity Income fund, Neil Woodford has stepped down from his role as manager for Woodford Patient Capital Trust (LSE:WPCT) and announced that Woodford Investment Management will also be closing down.

In a statement, the fund manager said he had "taken the highly painful decision to close Woodford Investment Management".

He continued:

"I personally deeply regret the impact events have had on individuals who placed their faith in Woodford Investment Management and invested in our funds."

Along with the company's closure, it was also announced that Woodford would be stepping down as manager of Patient Capital while his remaining fund, Woodford Focused Income, will be wound up.

In a letter posted on the London Stock Exchange, the trust's board noted: "in light of recent events, Woodford Investment Management Limited ("WIM") has today served notice of termination in relation to its role as Portfolio Manager".

What happens to Patient Capital now is unclear. As previously noted, the board has already been considering the option of removing Woodford as manager. In its letter on the LSE website, the board said it "expects to be in a position to announce details of the new management arrangements shortly".

Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at Willis Owen, welcomes Woodford's decision to step down from managing the trust.

Lowcock notes: "Woodford's decision to step down from the board of Woodford Patient Capital Trust was no doubt a hard decision, but given Woodford's presence had become a distraction to the trust, it was also the right thing to do.

"Investors' money is ring-fenced and will remain invested in the respective funds and in the underlying investments."

The news has seen the share price of Patient Capital plummet. At open, the trust fell by 10%. It has since recovered slightly and is now down (at the time of writing) roughly 5%. Year-to-date the trust is down 55%, and it sits on a discount of over 40%.

It has since been announced that the Woodford Income Focus fund has also been suspended.  

Will investors get compensation?

In a statement to Money Observer, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme said it will not be investigating any compensation claims at the moment. 

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Money Observer. Click here to subscribe.

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