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Woodford comeback in doubt after regulator intervention

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a rare late night statement after the fallen stock-picker announced plans to launch a new investment firm.

The regulator revealed that it has been in discussions with regulators in Jersey, where Neil Woodford plans to base his new firm.

The FCA has come under heavy criticism from campaigners and MPs for not concluding its inquiry into the collapse of Woodford Investment Management. The regulator said its investigation had been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but was “appropriately resourced” and “is progressing.”

Mark Steward, FCA director of enforcement and market oversight, said in a statement: “Mr Woodford’s new business, WCM Partners Ltd, would need to apply for appropriate permissions before commencing any regulated activity in the UK. In taking any decision on whether to authorise a firm, we consider whether it is ready, willing and organised to comply, on a continuing basis, with our requirements and standards. That includes, for example, the sustainability of the firm’s business model and the fitness of its management.

“There are reports that Mr Woodford’s future business proposal may operate out of Jersey. We are in contact with the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) and agreed with them that we will both share information on any application made in our respective jurisdictions (for both a fund or entity).”

The Woodford Equity Income fund was suspended in June 2019 following an increase in redemption requests which couldn’t be readily met. In October 2019, Link confirmed the £3bn fund would be wound-up with cash returned to investors as soon as possible. But investors have waited a long time for their money.

Woodford announce his plans to set up a new investment firm in an emotional interview with The Telegraph at the weekend.