Woodford and partner shared €16.3m in dividends before fund crisis

Stockpicker Neil Woodford winding up company involved in investment scandal

At least 300,000 investors are still trapped in Neil Woodford’s flagship fund. File photograph: Richard Cannon

At least 300,000 investors are still trapped in Neil Woodford’s flagship fund. File photograph: Richard Cannon

 

Neil Woodford and his business partner shared £13.8 million (€16.3 million) in dividends in his company’s final full financial year, even as investors deserted its funds due to chronic underperformance.

Mr Woodford, who is in the process of winding up his company with a skeleton staff, received two-thirds of the final dividend payment, which brings the total personally reaped by Mr Woodford and Craig Newman to £112 million since 2014.

At least 300,000 investors are still trapped in Mr Woodford’s flagship Equity Income fund, which was suspended in June.

The pair recently travelled to China in an attempt to court interest for a new business, having seen UK investors desert the once-feted fund manager in droves.

Mr Woodford’s company once managed £15 billion, but suffered heavy investor withdrawals in its final two years and was forced to suspend the Equity Income fund last summer, causing Europe’s biggest investment scandal for a decade.

The company’s annual report for the financial year ending in March 2019 was published on Companies House yesterday.

Between March 2018 and March 2019, the company made £18.3 million in operating profit, compared to £41.7 million a year earlier. The company blamed “underperformance in the Woodford Equity Income Fund combined with a period of sustained and negative press coverage” for the suspension of the fund in June. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020