Fresh blow for Woodford as latest venture WCM Partners is set to fold


Fresh blow for Neil Woodford as latest venture WCM Partners is set to fold after just two years

Neil Woodford and his business partners appear to have given up on their venture.

Just two years after they launched Woodford Capital Management – also known as WCM Partners – the firm has applied to be struck off Britain’s register of companies, according to filings.

A string of long-time Woodford employees had left the business – some to join Curated Capital, an investment firm founded by Woodford ally Jonathan Adair.

Neil Woodford's recent venture Woodford Capital Management – also known as WCM Partners - has applied to be struck off Britain’s register of companies

Neil Woodford’s recent venture Woodford Capital Management – also known as WCM Partners – has applied to be struck off Britain’s register of companies

The failure of WCM will come as another blow to the disgraced fund manager, whose original investment empire Woodford Investment Management (WIM) imploded in 2019.

He is still facing an inquiry from the Financial Conduct Authority into the debacle.

And angry savers who lost more than £1billion after his flagship fund was shuttered have launched a lawsuit against Link Fund Solutions, which was supposed to supervise Woodford’s management of his funds. A spokesman for WCM did not respond to the Mail’s request for comment.

Adair, who previously held a technology position at WIM, initially reprised his role when Woodford made his comeback with WCM.

But he left last year and set up Curated Capital, which is registered to do business in the United Arab Emirates. WCM had been scoping out investors in the Middle East and Asia, City sources told the Mail. 

But two sources said the firm was unable to gather enough support to get off the ground. WCM’s relationship manager, Kristian Penttila, swapped WCM for Curated Capital earlier this year.

And Gavin Petken, another director of WCM, also left at the start of 2022. Yvonne Pownall, who had been head of human resources for WIM and did the same job at WCM, resigned at the same time and went to work for an analytics business.

Woodford himself was never registered as a director of WCM, despite the firm bearing his name. 

He fell from grace when his flagship Woodford Equity Income Fund was suspended in 2019.

Link made the decision to shut down the fund, sell its assets and return the money to savers, after a string of decisions from Woodford caused a run of poor performance, which triggered investors to try and pull their money out.

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