Investments  

Woodford debacle could drive more to advice

Woodford debacle could drive more to advice

This year's Woodford debacle could drive more consumers to seek advice as they attempt to navigate the complex world of investments, according to the head of the Quilter platform.

Fund manager Neil Woodford was forced to suspend his flagship Equity Income fund in June after he struggled to meet redemptions after a sustained period of outflows.

Investors, who have been trapped in the fund ever since, are expected to lose 30 per cent of their assets. Around a third of those with assets still in the portfolio invested through direct-to-consumer platform Hargreaves Lansdown.

Steven Levin, chief executive of the Old Mutual Wealth platform, believes the fallout could lead to more people turning to advisers for help.

Mr Levin said: "The causes and solutions will no doubt come in the following year, but one thing that this debacle has shown us is that there is still a place for good quality face-to-face financial advice in this country.

"Not only that, but it could end up driving people towards financial advice, particularly those who are unsure how to navigate their way through the complex world of investments."

An investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority into the events which led to the fund's suspension is ongoing. But the regulator confirmed in October to FTAdviser it would not be reviewing its own role in the debacle, despite mounting accusations the City watchdog missed red flags.

Mr Levin added: "In a post-Woodford world there will likely be a number of column inches devoted to how the industry may be impacted once it all comes out in the wash.

"The important thing is that action is actually taken to protect investors and ensure we don’t have another repeat that seriously undermines trust in the investment sector."

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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