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Neil Woodford closes crisis investment empire



  Neil Woodford Copyright copyright
Reuters

Britain's best-known stock is closing the remaining investment funds, signaling the end of his multi-billion pound empire.

Neil Woodford was fired from the flagship fund early on Tuesday and has now announced that he will close the last two funds.

He described it as a "very painful decision", adding that the funds would be wound up "in an orderly manner."

Mr Woodford gained a huge reputation through 30 years of successful investing.

top his business managed more than £ 1

4bn.

The so-called "Oracle of Oxford" was dismissed from the troubled £ 3.1 billion capital fund by its administrators on Tuesday. The fund is wound up and any cash is returned to the investors. It follows a series of disastrous investments.

That abduction initially got an angry response, with Woodford saying it was a decision "I cannot accept or believe is in the long-term interests" of the business.

  • Neil Woodford's flagship fund to be shut down
  • Investors frustrated as Woodford funds remain locked

But on Tuesday night, in a further announcement, he said the last two funds – Income Focus and Woodford Patient Capital – would be closed. [19659014] & # 39; Deep regret & # 39;

He said: "We have made the very painful decision to close Woodford Investment Management. We will fulfill our responsibility for fund management towards WPCT and LF Woodford Income Focus Fund and when completed we will close the company in an orderly fashion.

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

Mr Woodford built his reputation over 26 years at City firm Invesco. of £ 1,000 in his first funds would have returned £ 25,000 when he left.

He started his own business, and his outstanding success meant that savers poured millions into his new funds, but several large investments in listed companies performed poorly, and investors began to withdraw money.

To worsen the problems, Woodford had built up holdings in a number of unlisted technology and health companies. r which he believed had a strong growth potential.

As redemption requests gathered pace, he found it difficult to raise money quickly by selling shares in these private companies.

The Equity Income Fund was suspended in June after being crippled by redemption requirements. This meant that investors' money would be locked in for several months.

Ryan Hughes, director of active portfolios at the securities firm AJ Bell, said there was "a sense of inevitability" about the closure. Without any money coming in, "it was hard to see how the business could survive," he said.

Settling the funds will be a long process. Darius McDermott, chief executive of financial adviser Chelsea Financial Services, said the situation was "a mess" and the flagship closure would make it "a forced seller of all shares."


Analysis: Kevin Peachey, personal finance correspondent: [19659015] Neil Woodford had been the girlfriend of the armchair investor – but as they said today, the whole thing had become "toxic".

Four years ago he gave them a 20% return. Now he gives them losses, a lot of uncertainty and maybe a lesson in hubris.

Some of these investors will kick themselves for relying on a "star" boss, rather than spreading their investment, which has always been the advice.

The fund manager may soon have found out that he had nothing left to administer, so commentators say it was inevitable that he has thrown in the towel.

The stock pickers who remain in the ring may find that some investors are much more cautious about giving them their support and money.



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