Advisers reassure Woodford clients to avoid panic selling

Advisers moved to prevent investors panic selling Neil Woodford’s funds last week as they took pre-emptive action ahead of an expected flood of client calls.

Intermediaries have been contacting investors in the Invesco Perpetual Income and High Income funds in the past few days in a bid to calm long-term followers of Mr Woodford, whose resignation was announced last week.

Philippa Gee, owner of Philippa Gee Wealth Management, said: “I emailed or wrote to all clients who were invested in one of his funds the same day so that they would know before they opened their newspapers in the morning.

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“We are recommending no action at this time. However, we are actively reviewing each client’s assets and for some we are looking at removing the ‘person’ risk and opting for an equity income tracker, provided the overall portfolio is still balanced.”

Pat Connolly, head of communications at advice network Chase de Vere, said: “We have been proactively talking to clients and getting them in the picture. There is no great urgency to be getting out, even if the ultimate decision is to sell.

“I don’t think there will be a disadvantage if we wait. We’ve been having conversations with Invesco Perpetual in the past few years about liquidity and it is not a concern for us.”

Mr Woodford is responsible for an estimated £33bn across four Invesco funds, two St James’s Place mandates and his Edinburgh Investment Trust.

Andy Merricks, head of investment at Skerritts Consultants, said his firm was also deliberating on how to deal with clients invested in the affected funds.

He said: “If people start selling just because he is going, it would create problems. I don’t understand why anyone would sell because he is going in six months – it wouldn’t make sense.

“[But] if we held it in a pension fund it would actually be a good opportunity to go to the investor and point out better alternatives. It’s an opportunity to broaden people’s horizons.”

Roger Weeks, finance director at Jacksons Wealth Management, said his company would be contacting clients with long-term holdings in Mr Woodford’s funds in the coming days.

“Neil Woodford is held up as being a fantastic fund manager [but] I would imagine there is a team ethos at Invesco and so hopefully the fund will remain the same,” he added.