Woodford fund is top of the tree

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Woodford fund is top of the tree

Star fund manager Neil Woodford’s CF Woodford Equity Fund has retained the top spot as the most-traded fund for the sixth consecutive month.

According to data from London-based The Share Centre, Woodford Equity topped the list of the 10 top traded funds in November 2015, seeing off such strong competitors as Axa Framlington Biotech and Fundsmith Equity.

The success of Woodford Equity has come in spite of Mr Woodford’s self-confessed “bump in the road” for one of the fund manager’s other ventures in November.

Northwest Biotherapeutics, a US-based company developing cancer therapies and one of the investments held by Mr Woodford’s £835m Patient Capital Trust, had come under press scrutiny after Woodford Capital submitted a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which it recommended that Northwest Biotherapeutics should hire a non-executive, independent director onto its board.

November’s top traded funds from The Share Centre:

1 CF Woodford Equity Income Fund

2 Axa Framlington Biotech Fund

3 Fundsmith Equity Fund

4 Polar Capital Healthcare Opportunities Fund

5 CF Lindsell Train UK Equity Fund

6 Old Mutual UK Mid-Cap Fund

7 Rathbone Global Opportunities Fund

8 Legg Mason IF Japan Equity Fund

9 Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders Fund

10 Axa Framlington UK Smaller Companies Fund

Source: The Share Centre

Mr Woodford addressed the issue in a blog post on his website, woodfordfunds.com, in which he defended his commitment to early-stage investments in the company, which he had made in October.

Since its formation in June 2014, shortly after Mr Woodford set up his firm, Woodford Investment Management, the fund has grown exponentially, and currently looks after £7bn of savers’ money.

Early-stage investment has been a crucial component in the building of Mr. Woodford’s fund, as the former Invesco Perpetual man has committed to acquiring shares in unlisted companies close to his base in Oxfordshire.

He said his investment in local ventures, Immunocore (Cancer Research) and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (which specialises in molecular science), have allowed him to not only make money, but also become directly involved in the businesses.

Andy Parsons, head of investment research at The Share Centre, has put Woodford Equity’s success down to the willingness of the fund’s manager to mix secure investments with faith in younger companies, particularly in the healthcare and early-stage science sectors.

Mr Parsons said: “The fund offers a portfolio which comprises not only a core nucleus of blue chip companies, but a number of exciting young vibrant businesses just starting out.”

Adviser view

Gavin Haynes, managing director of Bristol-based Whitechurch Securities, said: “Woodford Equity Fund has been a core holding across our portfolios since its 2014 launch, and it is unsurprising to witness the continued success of the fund given Neil’s impressive long-term record. Woodford Equity has a good bedrock of holdings, and I can only envisage the fund gaining traction as time goes on.”