Neil Woodford is back as a finfluencer: you may remember me as the ‘disgraced’ fund manager

  • ‘Woodford Views’ claims to offer readers an alternative to ‘consensus thinking’

A challenge for ‘consensus thinking’? Neil Woodford is back with a new blog and newsletter

“You may remember me as the fund manager who avoided the dotcom bubble and banking crisis… or perhaps as the ‘disgraced’ fund manager who oversaw the collapse of Woodford Investment Management in 2019.”

Those are the words of Neil Woodford, who has re-emerged with a newsletter and blog – claiming to offer readers an alternative to ‘consensus thinking’ – just a week after City Watchdog blasted the former fund manager’s risk management knowledge.

And while there may be many investors who are reluctant to follow the advice of the man who famously crashed his massive stock income fund, his Woodford Views blog has immediately become the talk of the town in the investment world.

Woodford Investment Management imploded in 2019 after its once £3.7bn fund collapsed as investors rushed to exit amid a sustained period of underperformance.

The collapse of Woodford Equity Income left some 300,000 investors stranded and forced to wait five years to be compensated with a fraction of the capital they had entrusted to the fund manager.

Now Mr Woodford has taken to Instagram, X and a recently launched website to help readers ‘navigate the complexities of the financial markets’.

Last week the Financial Conduct Authority, which has yet to formally sanction Mr Woodford, said he had a “defective and unreasonably limited understanding” of his responsibility for managing “liquidity risk” – the need to convert assets into cash to make. .

It is not clear how or if Mr Woodford plans to profit from his latest venture, which follows the 2021 bankruptcy of a new fund company, WCM Partners.

In his first Woodford Views post he said: ‘You may remember me as the fund manager who avoided the dotcom bubble and banking crisis and delivered index-losing performance for over 25 years, or perhaps as the ‘disgraced’ fund manager. who presided over the collapse of Woodford Investment Management in 2019.

‘Others may have never heard of me at all. Whatever your perspective, you may be curious to hear what I have to say about a wide range of economic, social and political issues that impact our daily lives.”

He added that much British economic commentary is ‘rich in opinion but critically short on data’, suggesting this is ‘because established narratives are all too readily accepted’.

Mr Woodford said: ‘The economic analysis and commentary in Woodford Views will focus on relevant facts and data without editorial censorship, pressure to toe a particular line or consensus thinking.’

Why did Woodford Investment Management go bankrupt?

Neil Woodford had a successful 25-year career while at Invesco, where his funds attracted billions of pounds of investment from both private investors and institutions thanks to huge returns.

When he struck out on his own in 2014, investors naturally followed the Woodford Patient Capital Trust, the Woodford Income Focus fund and, crucially, the Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF).

WEIF’s initial good period was followed by two years of poor performance, exacerbated by exposure to smaller – sometimes unprofitable – companies and unlisted equities.

Eventually larger investors, such as the Kent County Council Pension Scheme, began raising large sums of money.

Others followed suit and the fund’s high exposure to illiquid assets meant it was unable to sell assets quickly enough to meet outflows, leading to manager Link’s suspension.

St. James’s Place subsequently terminated Woodford’s contract to manage three of its funds.

The decision to close WEIF completely in October 2019 left many investors cashless and ultimately led to the demise of Woodford Investment Management.

Investors are only now receiving compensation for Woodford’s collapse.