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Neil Woodford to close his investment firm

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

Woodford Investment Management -

Neil Woodford will close his investment firm after being sacked from his flagship fund and resigning from his eponymous investment trust.

The former star fund manager was removed from the gated Woodford Equity Income fund (WEIF) by the vehicle’s authorised corporate director on Monday, a decision Woodford said he “cannot accept”.

READ: Woodford Equity Income fund to be wound up

But later that day, his firm, Woodford Investment Management, resigned as portfolio manager of the listed Woodford Patient Capital Trust PLC (LON:WPCT) before he had a chance to be fired by a board that was on the verge of making a change anyway.

On Wednesday, Link Fund Solutions, the corporate director of the WEIF, added that it has also now suspended the Woodford Income Focus fund after Woodford's firm quit as manager.

“As a result of this LFS expects that the redemptions in the fund will reach a level whereby it may no longer be able to continue to meet redemption requests without prejudicing the interests of both remaining and redeeming investors,” Link said.

Painful decisions

“We have taken the highly painful decision to close Woodford Investment Management,” Woodford told the Financial Times overnight.

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

WEIF is being wound up after a failed attempt by the manager to "reposition" the fund after its gating in June, following a long period of poor performance and a rush of redemptions.

Cash will be returned via a series of distributions expected to begin in January, with investors expected to face significant losses as the fund’s administrators try to sell its high proportion of illiquid holdings.

The board of the Patient Capital investment trust said they were in “advanced discussions” about bringing in a new manager and expect to announce new arrangements shortly.

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said after the events earlier in the day, the closure of Woodford Investment Management had a feeling of inevitability.

“Without the fees from the equity income fund and with no performance fee coming from the Patient Capital Trust, it was difficult to see how the business could survive,” he said.

“This creates further uncertainty for a larger number of customers and the key now is that they are given information about what is going to happen to their investments as soon as possible.”

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