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Woodford returns to share ‘knowledge and experience’ as economic commentator

Woodford returns to share ‘knowledge and experience’ as economic commentator
Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Former fund manager Neil Woodford has launched ‘Woodford Views’ to provide economic analysis and commentary using ‘valuable insights’ gained in 35+ years in the finance industry.

The former star fund manager explained he has launched his Woodford Views site to provide “insightful analysis that breaks free from mainstream narratives”.

He wrote that much of the commentary he reads about the UK economy is “long on opinion but critically short on data”.

“The economic analysis and commentary in Woodford Views will focus on relevant facts and data without censorship from editors, pressure to toe a particular line or consensus thinking”, he wrote.

But for many readers, they’re interested to know his thoughts in the aftermath of his ‘downfall’ nearly five years ago, which saw some investors lose their entire life savings.

‘I am neither hero nor villain’

Woodford wrote: “With respect to my story, the truth is that I am neither hero nor villain. I was never the financial saviour of middle England, but then, neither do I think I was worthy of the onslaught that followed the failure of my business.

“There is much more to be revealed about the story, and I will shed some light on the events that led to the losses that investors suffered when the fund was wound up. However, regardless of who was responsible for what, the fact is investors were trapped in my fund and suffered permanent losses, and this will always weigh heavily on me.”

He added that his journey has had “highs and lows”, and the experience he’s gained over the 35-plus years have equipped him to “better understand the key ingredients for success in the corporate world”.

He revealed he had thought “long and hard, both professionally and personally” about the events leading to the collapse of Woodford Investment Management in 2019.

After all, his underlying investment approach had always been valuation-focused, “grounded in fundamental economic and corporate analysis” as implemented during his time at Invesco.

“These were the investment principles that guided that fund strategy at Woodford, yet the outcomes were very different”.

‘Important and valuable insights’

Woodford’s flagship £3.6bn Woodford Equity Income fund was suspended on 3 June 2019 after a surge in redemption requests that couldn’t be readily met following a period of poor performance.

In October 2019, the fund’s administrators confirmed the fund would be wound up, with cash expected to be returned to investors “as soon as possible”.

Investors have received £2.56bn in several payments, and just recently, £187.5m was distributed to shareholders as part of the first sum from the settlement fund sanctioned by the High Court.

Woodford added: “As much as I would not choose to relive that extremely challenging time, I learned much from it and believe that going through it has given me important and valuable insights, which will help inform my analysis and commentary.

“So, whether you are interested in finance or just curious about economic events that affect all of our lives, I hope you will find Woodford Views relevant and useful and that it will help you understand today’s economy and investment landscape.”