Managers ditch Woodford for £86m trust

Managers ditch Woodford for £86m trust

 Premier Asset Management and Hawksmoor Investment Management fund managers have pulled their stakes from the Woodford Patient Capital investment trust. 

The pair revealed they have instead invested in £86m Odyssean investment trust, which listed on the London Stock Exchange on 1 May.

The managers of the £213m Premier Multi Asset Global Growth fund and the £136m Vanbrugh fund both lost faith in Neil Woodford's £885m trust.

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In a note to clients, the multi-manager team at Premier revealed they sold their shares in Woodford Patient Capital following a strong period of share price performance from Mr Woodford’s fund.

Although the shares of the trust have fallen by £1.02 to the current (25 July) level of 80p, they are higher than the 72p to which they sunk in March. After riding out that storm, Premier sold the shares for a profit.

The managers said: "We sold our position in Woodford Patient Capital. This trust’s price had rebounded from its previous lows, narrowing the discount significantly, making this an ideal time to take profits."

Meanwhile the managers of Hawksmoor's Vanbrugh fund attributed the decision to the failure of an important drug test at Prothena, the trust's eighth largest holding.

In a note, the managers said: "We exited our position in Woodford Patient Capital following the release of further poor news on one of the underlying portfolio companies, Prothena, led to a loss of conviction in the trust."

Woodford Investment Management declined to comment on sale of these stakes.

The Odyssean trust is managed by Stuart Widdowson, who had previously run the Strategic Equity Capital investment trust, and who tends to invest in UK smaller companies, like the Patient Capital trust, but the latter has more focus on early stage businesses.

Mr Widdowson has said he intends to run his new trust in the same way as his previous mandate.

Premier wrote: "[Mr Widdowson] is a fundamentals-based, bottom-up investor who is seeking a very limited number of excellent UK companies that are trading on attractive valuations.

"To find such opportunities, he will typically fish in the small-cap end of the market. This, together with the concentrated nature of his portfolio, means his strategy is much better suited to the permanent-capital structure of an investment trust, rather than an open-ended fund, as this would require greater liquidity in its underlying holdings.

"The manager has a patient, long-term approach and is seeking to generate double-digit annualised returns over the life of the trust."

The Woodford Patient Capital trust was removed from the FTSE 250 at the end of May following a period of torrid share price performance.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said Patient Capital trust was an investment with which "patience is required".

He said there have been many successful investments made by the trust and said investors should pay attention to the fact the trust operates on a "no win no fee", with Neil Woodford only receiving a payment if the trust returns more than 10 per cent a year.