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A Waspi win but a sting for Woodford: the week in news

A Waspi win but a sting for Woodford: the week in news

Summer is coming to an end and the sun was certainly not shining on prime minister Boris Johnson this week when he had to avoid protesting crowds in Luxembourg before being given a talking to by a parent when he visited a London hospital.

There was mixed weather “closer to home”, however, as Waspi protestors got a potential lifeline but there was another sting for embattled Neil Woodford. It’s time for the week in news.

1) Sunshine for Waspi

The Liberal Democrats announced at their conference this week the party would “properly compensate” the women born in the 1950s who have been affected by the sharp rise in the state pension age.

According to the party the government had failed to properly notify the women of changes to the state pension age which had left some unable to properly plan for their retirement.

Party members approved a motion to compensate those affected by the age hike alongside a pledge to maintain the triple lock in the state pension, which ensures annual levels rise in accordance with whichever is highest among the rate of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5 per cent.

2) But a sting for Woodford

Embattled fund manager Neil Woodford saw another set-back this week when a company in which he had a £270m holding saw its valuation slashed.

Benevolent AI — which features in both Mr Woodford’s Equity Income fund and Patient Capital trust — is to receive an investment which halves its valuation, meaning the value of Mr Woodford’s funds will drop at a time when he is battling to sell shares.

The tech company is the biggest holding with Patient Capital and the sixth largest holding in the suspended Equity Income fund.

3) An SJP and Schroders storm

Advisers branded a so-called ‘price war’ between Schroders Personal Wealth and St James’s Place as “irrelevant” to the wider advice market after SPW revealed its fee structure would be less than half the cost of its biggest rival SJP.

SJP has since branded the figures inaccurate, but advisers blasted the competition as irrelevant anyway, claiming it was a little like “Ferrari and Lamborghini” or “Jimmy Choo and Louboutin” getting into a price war.

The advisers thought good advice was accessible at a low cost and some urged consumers to approach a chartered financial planner, who would be “better qualified and cost less”.

4) The turbulence continues

Meanwhile Schroders Personal Wealth hired SJP’s ex-head of adviser development this week, putting him in charge of setting up its own adviser school.

Tom Horan, who was responsible for the SJP academy, joined the new venture and will recruit advisers to join SPW alongside creating an adviser academy for the new branch.

SPW aims to become a “top three” financial planning business within five years and James Cardew, chief marketing officer at Schroders Personal Wealth, said Mr Horan’s recruitment was "fundamental" for the business.

5) Pot of gold for Tilney's rainbow

Wealth manager Tilney continued its acquisition spree by purchasing Smith and Williamson for £625m.