James Coney  

Counting the cost of the Woodford debacle

James Coney

James Coney

The Woodford affair is a chance to look forward, to better regulation and disclosure, not an opportunity to make investing even more opaque than it is.

Speaking up

The world is full of know-it-alls, and as usual there are many who claim they saw the Woodford scandal coming.

Few ever do though. But a hat-tip has to go the likes of Tilney Investment Management, whose analysts sent a sell note in March 2018 that warned of problems with liquidity and redemptions.

Or those slightly crazed bloggers who also raised concerns about the number of unquoted stocks Woodford held at around the same time.

Seeing something comingis one thing, actually doing something about it isentirely another.

This is an area where I encourage advisers to speak up all the time. Many saw where Woodford was going but were not brave enough to speak up.

If we ever want the financial advice market to thrive, then having the confidence to voice concerns when one company is going astray is the only way to achieve this.

Glass houses...

Mr Woodford is not a monster. He is a man who made some terrible decisions. It made his success look like greed, his confidence look like arrogance.

And he has lost people lots of money, so it is only right that investors should be angry. Yes, he had a fast car, and stables – but so do manyCity workers.

There are also many fund managers who have worse performance than him who are still enjoying all these trappings. This was not just the failure of a man, it was the failure of a system.

James Coney is money editor of the Sunday Times