‘Unbiased pair of eyes’ welcomed in WPCT appointment

Appointment of Ruffer co-founder ‘could presage a change in remit’

The appointment of Ruffer co-founder Jane Tufnell to the board of the Woodford Patient Capital Trust has been welcomed as a step towards more independence on the board.

Tufnell, who has been at Ruffer since 1994, is already on the boards of ICG Enterprise, The Diverse Income Trust  and JPMorgan Claverhouse and is chair of the Odyssean investment trust.

Steven Harris has also announced he will step down on 30 September after four years with the investment trust.

“It’s been obvious for a while that the board needed more independence so new additions are welcome,” said Shore Financial Planning director Ben Yearsley.

EQ Investors senior investment analyst Simon Moore said a refresh of the trust was much needed and the board was a good place to start.

Moore said: “Have they been too lax with governance of Neil Woodford? A fresh, unbiased pair of eyes is a good thing, especially since Jane Tufnell has experience on boards of other investment trusts.”

He pointed out her background at Ruffer gave her a “very different ethos” to the higher risk investments in the Patient Capital Trust.

“At Ruffer, portfolios are blended with a mix of ‘fear’ and ‘greed’ positions leading to a balance of equities and safe-haven assets such as gold and inflation-linked bonds. Her appointment could presage a change in remit for Woodford Patient Capital Trust.”

Her appointment takes immediate effect and she will be a member of the audit, risk and valuation and management engagement committees.

WPCT chair Susan Searle said Tufnell’s fund management expertise and familiarity with investment trusts would bring “valuable experience” to the board. “I look forward to working with her during this important period for WPCT.”

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