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Woodford mounts comeback with wealth manager advisory role

by ace

The fund manager, whose collapse of the company last year sent shockwaves through the city, is returning as a consultant to a startup sponsor.

Sky News found that Neil Woodford quietly started working at Juno Capital, whose partners include the FTSE-100’s grandson, Sir Nigel Rudd, who has directed and chaired a number of major British industry groups.

City sources said Woodford and Craig Newman, who helped manage Woodford Investment Management before its spectacular implosion, were working with Juno to build a portfolio of unlisted healthcare investments.

The return of the former star fund manager, just over a year after his main fund was frozen, risks irritating thousands of savers who have lost substantial parts of their investments.

It was unclear this weekend how long Woodford’s deal with Juno would last.

Juno describes himself as “an innovative specialist asset manager for a network of wealthy individuals and family offices”.

She holds positions in startups and extensions in several sectors, including Destiny Pharma and Sky Medical Technology in the healthcare sector.

Woodford placed big bets on biotechnology companies like Oxford Nanopore, with many of his former holdings in the sector recently sold at a huge discount to an American investor.

Its reappearance in a branch of the asset management industry comes after months of negotiations with potential sponsors in Asia and the United Kingdom.

Sky News revealed earlier this year that it was proposing to create a vehicle to buy back some of the unnamed WIM stakes in biotechnology companies, such as BenevolentAI, a drug discovery startup.

Woodford also approached family offices and other wealthy investors to discuss the possibility of creating a new fund to manage dozens of new holdings in London listed companies.

An ally of Britain’s best-known stock pickers said these discussions were motivated by an “interest in entering” to investigate his views and possible involvement in a new vehicle.

Its return occurs despite uncertainty about whether the WIM implosion will suffer regulatory repercussions.

Woodford is thought not to have aspirations to manage money again on behalf of retail investors.

At its height, Woodford managed funds with more than £ 15 billion in investor money, much of which was entrusted to him by hundreds of thousands of ordinary savers.

He made his name during a stellar period at Invesco, the fund manager for Henley-on-Thames, where he attracted cult followers.

However, a series of poorly scheduled bets on public companies like construction group Kier, carrier Eddie Stobart Logistics and Capita, the outsourced company, along with major bets on illiquid stocks, helped plunge Woodford’s company into crisis.

Mark Barnett, protected by Woodford’s Invesco, also recently left after a series of poor performances.

The catalyst for the WIM implosion was a decision in June last year by the Kent County Council to withdraw a £ 263 million investment mandate from WIM.

Woodford immediately “blocked” his £ 3.7 billion WEIF, preventing investors from selling their stakes – an action that led him to lose his responsibility for managing the funds bearing his name by Link Financial, his manager.

The various WIM funds were placed in the background or handed over to major institutions in the city, such as Aberdeen Standard Investments and Schroders.

Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, received the quoted portion of the WEIF portfolio to sell, which includes stakes in companies like Purplebricks, the online real estate company.

It emerged in January that Woodford and Newman had reaped £ 13.8 million in dividends during the financial year prior to the suspension of WEIF, deepening the company’s call for implosion.

“The accounts refer to the financial year prior to the suspension of the equity fund,” said a WIM spokesman at the time.

“We can confirm that the partners made no profit or revenue during the suspension of the fund, nor were there any management fees managed by the management of the Woodford Patient Capital Trust.”

During the suspension of its funds last year, WIM continued to charge customers its management fees.

The disappearance of WIM has been the most dramatic in the fund management industry since New Star collapsed during the financial crisis and sparked fury among savers and politicians.

Speaking at the end of last year, Mr. Woodford said, “Personally, I deeply regret the impact that the events have had on people who have trusted Woodford Investment Management and invested in our funds.”

Woodford declined to comment on Saturday, while Juno did not respond to a request for comment.

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