Hargreaves silent on Mark Dampier’s bonus amid Woodford fallout

CEO Chris Hill will not accept bonus payments until gated fund reopens

Mark Dampier: 'Give Woodford at least three years'

Hargreaves Lansdown has refused to comment on head of research Mark Dampier’s remuneration as its chief executive pledges to forego a £2.1m annual bonus until a scandal involving Neil Woodford is resolved.

Portfolio Adviser contacted Hargreaves on Monday morning to ask about Dampier’s (pictured) pay package and whether he would be willing to defer his bonus.

A spokesperson for Hargreaves said: “As CEO, Chris has taken his own stance on this and shown great leadership. We are focussed on our clients and are not going to discuss individuals’ remuneration any further.”

Hargreaves boss Chris Hill confirmed he would not be taking any bonus payments until the Woodford scandal subsides and the stricken manager’s fund reopens for business, a move which could see him lose out on an annual bonus of up to £2.1m if the issue remains unresolved.

“Until investors are able to access their money held with Woodford Equity Income, I will not be taking a bonus,” he said in a statement to Portfolio Adviser.

Last week Hill issued an apology to clients still trapped in the fund, which temporarily halted trading on 3 June after it was unable to cope with a spike in client redemptions.

Following the suspension Woodford’s Equity Income and Income Focus funds were pulled from Hargreaves’ Wealth 50 list of favourite funds. Days later it dropped its platform fee on the Woodford Equity Income fund and urged Woodford to do the same.

Dampier sits on the firm’s nine-person strong executive committee but a breakdown of his pay package is not included in Hargreaves’ remuneration report for 2018, which only includes data on pay for executive and non-executive directors.

He has also been one of the at the centre of the media backlash as it was revealed he sold £5.6m worth of shares in the D2C firm as the price peaked in mid-May, weeks before the Woodford crisis began.

Hargreaves CIO Lee Gardhouse, who is also a member of the executive committee, sold down a portion of his Hargreaves stake around the same time as Dampier, pocketing £547,000.

Dampier continued to doggedly defend Woodford, putting his flailing fund into the streamlined Wealth 50 that debuted in January, despite three years of underperformance and after expressing concerns over the unquoted portion in the equity income fund.

Dampier admitted to Portfolio Adviser earlier this year Woodford had “definitely made a couple of mistakes” regarding his stock selection and had “allowed his unquoted content to get higher than it should have done” within the unit trust.

This combined with the unpopularity of UK equities after the Brexit vote was a “double whammy” for Woodford’s fund, he explained, but he predicted that the beleaguered manager would shine again after Brexit had been resolved.

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