Ex-RBS man resigns from Woodford’s comeback business

Leaves a year after disgraced manager’s latest venture launched

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

A director of Neil Woodford’s comeback venture, WCM Partners, has left the business less than a year after launch.

The company, which is headquartered in a Buckinghamshire mansion, filed a “termination of appointment” for Gavin Petken on Companies House. The document shows he departed on 17 January, while a separate breakdown of key personnel shows he is no longer a registered officer.

WMC Partners’ press team declined to comment when contacted by Portfolio Adviser.

Petken was one of four directors listed at WCM Partners when Woodford revealed his shock return to fund management last February.

A former managing director at RBS, he was the only apparent newcomer, with the other employees having ties to Woodford’s failed business, Woodford Investment Management.

In addition to his work at the Big Four bank, he served as head of investment at South and Quoted for the Business Growth Fund until October 2020 when he founded Airstream Capital.

At WCM Partners, Petken worked alongside some of the top bosses at Woodford IM, including head of digital and technology Jon Adair, ex-COO Paul Green and Woodford’s right-hand man and business partner Craig Newman.

Portfolio Adviser revealed last year that former Woodford IM soldiers Kristian Penttila and Yvonne Pownall were reprising their roles as relationship manager and head of HR respectively, and former investment analyst Alex Steeples was also returning to the fold.

See also: Former Woodford IM employees follow fallen star manager to latest venture

Details of Woodford’s latest venture remain few and far between a year after he announced his comeback.

Initially promoted as a Jersey-based biotech fund targeting institutional money, Woodford changed tack following a chilly reception from the Jersey regulator, and set his sights on a Cayman Islands base instead. In May, he also appeared to have laid down roots in the US.

Meanwhile, the Financial Conduct Authority has still not concluded its investigation into the suspension of the Woodford Equity Income fund in June 2019, which triggered the collapse of his fund empire. Investors trapped in the fund, now called LF Equity Income, are still waiting for the rest of their money back.

Earlier this month it was revealed former Woodford IM directors had been forced to pump money into the defunct business to deal with £5m worth of costs related to the collapse.

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