Neil Woodford firm ‘pleased’ with progress despite investor uproar

Neil Woodford’s listed business has said it is “pleased” with the progress of its portfolio companies, despite a dive in its share price after the renowned stock-picker suspended one of his funds.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust said it does not believe the operational performance of the portfolio businesses have been “impacted” by recent events.

Last week, Mr Woodford stopped people taking their money out of the Woodford Equity Income Fund.

The City heavyweight suffered a nightmare week after suspending the fund “to protect investors’ interests” after they withdrew around £560 million from it over the previous four weeks.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust has said it believes it “continues to have the potential to deliver attractive returns”, despite the subsequent slump in share value.

Susan Searle, chairwoman of Woodford Patient Capital Trust, said: “The board is closely monitoring the situation and is engaging with its shareholders and advisers.

“Separately, the board is in regular dialogue with the portfolio manager.

“The board wishes to emphasise the long-term approach of the company and will continue to keep shareholders updated as necessary.”

Over the weekend, the boss of stockbroker Hargeaves Lansdown apologised to investors after the company’s clients found their money trapped in Mr Woodford’s ill-fated funds.

Clint Hill, chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown, said he shared his clients’ frustrations and disappointment.

Hargeaves Lansdown has seen its shares steeply decline over the past week amid continued pressure on Mr Wodford’s fund.

The frozen Woodford Equity Income Fund is the company’s largest, with a reported value of £3.7 billion, but this is down heavily on the £6.8 billion recorded a year ago.

On Wednesday it emerged that the Financial Conduct Authority was demanding answers from Mr Woodford and his brokers over their decision to invest so heavily in unlisted companies based offshore in Guernsey.

There was no suggestion of wrongdoing at Woodford Investment Management, the watchdog said, but officials want to understand the chain of events leading to the suspension.