Investments  

Woodford warns staff redundancies are on the way

Woodford warns staff redundancies are on the way

Neil Woodford has warned staff at his investment firm that jobs are under threat, as the company’s flagship fund remains suspended. 

Mr Woodford informed a small number of staff that their roles are under review.

None of the staff concerned work on the investment management side of the business, which comprises four full time staff, including Mr Woodford. 

A representative of Woodford Investment Management said: "We have reluctantly entered into redundancy consultations with a number of staff to advise them that their roles are at risk."

Woodford investment management is 5 per cent owned by Mr Woodford, and 35 per cent by Craig Newman, the company’s chief executive.

The duo worked together at Invesco Perpetual, with Mr Newman having worked for that business in a sales role.

The duo left Invesco to set up Woodford Investment Management in 2014.

The flagship Equity Income fund was suspended on June 3 having shrunk in size from over £10bn to £3.75bn, with outflows running at £9m per working day in May.

Woodford's Income Focus fund has fallen by 40 per cent in the period since Woodford suspended the flagship fund, while the share price of the Patient Capital investment trust he manages has fallen from 71p to 58p in a month. 

The firm’s biggest client, St James’s Place, withdrew about £3bn of assets when it removed three funds from Mr Woodford shortly after the initial suspension, which has since been extended since. 

The last published accounts, which cover the period to the end of March 2018, showed Woodford Investment Management had an average of 45 staff.

The total salary cost for the 45 staff was £12m, leaving an average salary cost of £266,000. 

Mr Woodford and Mr Newman shared dividends of £36.5m in the year to the end of March 2018, though the company emphasised at the time that while this was the sum, the money was actually split into three segments, with some of the cash reinvested into the funds or the firm, some donated to charity, and the rest paid directly as income to the two men. 

Hargreaves Lansdown, whose clients have about £1bn invested in the Woodford funds, and Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury select committee, have called on Woodford Investment Management not to levy its management fee on the Equity Income fund while it is suspended. 

But Woodford Investment Management’s view is the fee will remain unchanged as Mr Woodford continues to manage the fund.

He has sold a range of investments in recent weeks as he seeks to raise sufficient cash to reopen the fund. 

david.thorpe@ft.com