Regulation  

Jersey regulator 'disappointed' at Woodford announcement

Jersey regulator 'disappointed' at Woodford announcement

Jersey's financial regulator has taken aim at Neil Woodford warning it was "disappointed" he announced plans to partially launch his new firm from the island without first submitting an application for authorisation. 

In a statement last night the Jersey Financial Services Commission said it would be "normal practice" when speaking publicly about a business launch to "make it clear that it is subject to regulatory approval".

It follows an interview with the Sunday Telegraph over the weekend in which the disgraced fund manager revealed plans to attempt a comeback as chief investment officer at his new firm Woodford Capital Management Partners. 

He said the business would operate out of Buckinghamshire and Jersey but for now would not involve the creation of a new fund or managing money on behalf of UK advised clients. 

The Jersey Financial Services Commission said: "We are disappointed to see this announcement in advance of either receiving or processing any application from this company for authorisation to conduct licensed business as an investment management firm in Jersey.

"We wish to advise that, although the trading name WCM Partners has been reserved in the Jersey Registry, no application has been received or processed to authorise WCM Partners to operate as a Jersey company or an authorised investment management firm in Jersey."

The move came less than 24 hours after its UK counterpart, the Financial Conduct Authority, made a rare public statement warning it would first assess the "fitness of management" before authorising Woodford's new firm.

The FCA confirmed it was in contact with regulators in Jersey and WCM Partners would need to apply for appropriate permissions before commencing any regulated activity in the UK.

The fallen manager's former company, Woodford Investment Management, has been unable to offer investment services to retail clients since it varied its permissions in April 2020. 

A lot of investors had lost money during the debacle and speaking with the Sunday Telegraph Woodford apologised for the outcome, but largely blamed the actions of his funds’ administrator Link for suspending his Equity Income fund in June 2019, and for subsequently announcing the liquidation of the strategy. 

The resurface rattled the industry and has prompted calls for an independent investigation into the collapse of the fund, amid claims investors are "losing faith" in the regulator's supervision of the industry. 

In a letter to the Treasury Committee yesterday campaigners Gina and Alan Miller said it was "high time" an independent investigation also probed the FCA's part in the Woodford scandal.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com