Neil Woodford expresses ‘deep regret’ as boutique closes

Fallen star manager left with few other options as Link winds down Woodford Equity Income

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Neil Woodford has expressed his deep regret to individual investors as he steps back from his remaining mandates and closes Woodford Investment Management.

The equities manager said the decision to close the firm had been “highly painful” in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.

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

The company would fulfil fund management responsibilities to Woodford Patient Capital and the LF Woodford Income Focus Fund before closing “in an orderly fashion”, he said.

The statement came less than 30 minutes after a regulatory filing confirmed he had served notice to terminate his role as manager of the Woodford Patient Capital Trust.

The board is already in “advanced discussions” regarding the ongoing management of the trust, according to the RNS. Woodford will work with the board during the three-month notice period.

A ‘very sad end’ for all involved

The closure of Woodford Investment Management follows Link’s decision earlier in the day to remove Woodford as manager of his flagship Equity Income Fund, which had been scheduled to reopen in December.

Woodford had reportedly been blindsided by Link’s decision having thought the Equity Income Fund had enough support from intermediaries to remain viable when it reopened.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott said the closure of Woodford Investment Management was a “very sad end” for investors and employees.

“The whole situation has been awful for investors in the funds and the trust, and damaging for the industry,” McDermott said.

“At a time when people should be saving more, not less, and when UK equities are so out of favour, it is worrying that so much trust has been lost.”

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