Woodford registers new firm in Cayman Islands

Woodford registers new firm in Cayman Islands

Fund manager Neil Woodford has set up a new firm in the Cayman Islands.

FTAdviser understands the new firm, WCM Partners, will manage the contract Woodford has with Acacia Partners, a US private equity firm which owns a parcel of assets that Woodford previously managed. 

It will not involve the launching of a fund or the marketing to UK retail investors.

Woodford had initially wanted to register his firm in Jersey, after announcing his comeback in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in February. 

However, it appeared he had not notified the Jersey regulator of his plan at the time, leading to the director general of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, Martin Moloney, telling the Financial Times that anyone hoping to carry out "regulatory arbitrage" through the island would fail.

It is understood Woodford's business has now been registered in the Cayman Islands.

The assets owned by Acacia were part of Woodford’s Equity Income fund which was suspended by its administrator Link in June 2019.

The fund had been hit by a flurry of withdrawals, at one point hitting £9m a day, and the presence of unquoted assets in the fund meant that Woodford was unable to meet the redemptions. Woodford’s firm was later fired by Link as manager of the strategy.

Acacia previously bought, and then swiftly re-valued at a substantial profit, a number of the assets which had been in the Woodford Equity Income fund. Those assets were sold by Link to Acacia as part of the liquidation of the fund.

Woodford's role is to act as an adviser on those assets. 

FTAdviser understands the longer term intention is to win more such mandates. While there are no immediate plans for a fund launch, such a development could happen in future, though it would not be aimed at UK advised or retail clients.

sally.hickey@ft.com, david.thorpe@ft.com