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Disgraced Woodford bosses pocketed £14m in dividends before crisis

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Neil Woodford and business partner Craig Newman raked in £13.8m in the 2018/19 financial year, just months before their flagship fund was suspended and shut down.

Financial accounts for Woodford Investment Management Limited for the year ending 31 March 2019 reveal that pre-tax profit stood at £18.3m, having fallen from £41.7m the previous year.

They also show bottom-line profit for the year fell to £16.2m, compared to £33.7m in the year to 31 March 2018.

Despite the slump in profits, former star manager Woodford and his chief executive Craig Newman pocketed a tidy £13.8m in dividends.

However, this was down on the bumper £36.5m they received in dividends the previous year.

In total, the company paid out over £11m in wages and salaries to an average of 51 members of staff during the year.

A statement submitted to Companies House by Newman in July said: “Under performance in the Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF) combined with a period of sustained and negative press coverage, has resulted in an intensified redemption profile that prompted Link Fund Solutions (Link), the fund’s Authorised Corporate Director (ACD), to suspend trading in the fund.”

It seems the duo were optimistic about the company’s future performance. Notes filed to Companies House said: “On the basis of their assessment of the company’s financial position, the company’s directors have a reasonable expectation that the company will be able to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future.”

However, just three months later in June 2019, dealing in the Woodford Equity Income fund was suspended before the flagship fund was closed down in October after the manager, Woodford, was sacked.

The winding up of the fund is expected to begin later this month with the first capital distribution paid to investors by the end of January.

Aberdeen Standard Investments has been appointed as manager of the suspended Woodford Income Focus fund, which is scheduled to re-open no later than February 2020 and will be renamed to LF ASI Income Focus fund.

The Woodford Patient Capital Trust has been renamed Schroder UK Public Private Trust plc and is now managed by Schroders.

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