Schroders to take charge of Woodford investment trust

Eugenia Jiménez
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Neil Woodford, former portfolio manager of the WPCT
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Neil Woodford, former portfolio manager of the WPCT

Schroders has announced it will be taking charge of the Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) after former star stock picker Neil Woodford's abrupt exit last week.

The UK star fund manager had resigned from the trust earlier this month after his flagship Equity income fund was closed by its administrator.

Schroders said it has agreed terms with the Board of Woodford Patient Capital Trust to become the portfolio manager of the trust by the end of the year, and that the vehicle will be renamed Schroder UK Public Private Trust plc.

Schroders intends to manage the portfolio in line with the Trust's existing investment objective and policy."

The company said in a note: "Schroders intends to manage the portfolio in line with the Trust's existing investment objective and policy.

"We will bring together our successful and established investment approach across both quoted and unquoted companies to manage the Company for the long-term, in support of positive outcomes for shareholders and British enterprise.

"Our beliefs are aligned with the Trust's philosophy of identifying and providing access to investment opportunities irrespective of ownership structure."

Schroders has been managing investment trusts since 1924 and has a highly specialised global Private Equity capability with 20 years' experience managing USD $9.8bn globally, focused on direct investments, co-investments, secondaries, and fund investments.

Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at the UK investment platform Willis Owen, said: "This is as good an outcome as possible for shareholders in the Trust and will draw a line under the Woodford saga.

"Schroders is a well-respected FTSE 100 listed fund management group, with broad resources dedicated to the specialist sectors in which the trust is invested. While the new managers are likely to want to make some changes, as they implement their own stock-selection process, we believe the philosophy of backing early stage innovative companies to reach their full potential will remain the same."

He added: "Our only concern is the high fees. Naturally investing in private equity will come with additional costs but the fund will eventually have both a performance fee and annual management fee.

"That said investors will have over 3 years, until the end of 2022, before they have to worry about the two charges."

Eugenia Jiménez
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Eugenia Jiménez

Eugenia Jiménez speaks Spanish and is Iberia Correspondent for Investment Europe covering Spain & Portugal, as well as Italy.