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Neil Woodford closes crisis-hit investment empire



 Neil Woodford

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Reuters

The UK's best-known stockpicker is close to its remaining investment fund, signaling the end of its multi-billion-pound empire.

Neil Woodford was sacked from his flagship fund early on Tuesday, and has now announced the last two funds.

He described it as a "highly painful decision"

Mr Woodford earned a huge reputation over 30 years of successful investing.

At its peak his business management more than £ 1

4bn.

The so-called "Oracle of Oxford" was dismissed from his troubled £ 3.1bn equity income fund by its administrators on Tuesday. The fund wants to get up and any cash returned to investors. It follows a series of disastrous investments.

That sacking initially prompted an angry response, with Mr. Woodford saying it was a decision "I can not accept, nor believe in the long-term interests" of the business.

  • Neil Woodford's flagship fund to be shut down
  • Woodford's fund-raiser remains closed

But on Tuesday evening, in a further announcement, the last two funds – Income Focus and Woodford Patient Capital – would be shut. [19659014] 'Deep regrets'

He said: "Woodford Investment Management We want to fulfill our responsibilities in WPCT and the Woodford Income Focus Fund orderly fashion.

Mr. Woodford built his reputation during 26 years.

"I personally have regretted the impact of these events on Woodford Investment Management and invested in our funds." at the City firm Invesco. An investment of £ 1,000 in his first funds would have returned £ 25,000 by the time he left.

He set up his own business, and his stellar success.

To compound the problems, Mr Woodford had built up stakes in a number of unlisted technology and healthcare companies.

When the redemption requests arrived at pace, he found it difficult to raise money quickly by selling stakes in these private companies.

The Equity Income Fund was suspended in June after being crippled by redemption demands.

Ryan Hughes, AJ Bell's head of active portfolios at investment firm, said there was "a feeling of inevitability" about the closure. He said that

The unwinding of the funds will be a long process. Darius McDermott, managing director of financial adviser Chelsea Financial Services, said the situation was "a mess" and the flagship fund's closure would make it "a forced seller of all stocks."


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

Four years ago, he was giving them 20% returns. Now he is giving them losses, a lot of uncertainty, and perhaps a lesson in hubris.

Some of those investors wanting to be relocated to a "star" manager, rather than spreading their investments, as has always been the advice.

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

Those stockpickers who stay in the ring may find themselves and their money.



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