Gina Miller, the activist and wealth manager, has called for Neil Woodford to be suspended from managing investment funds or running an asset management company until an investigation into the collapse of his investment empire is concluded by the financial watchdog.
The influential campaigner, who twice led successful legal challenges against Theresa May’s Government on Brexit, said Mr Woodford has tarnished the reputation of Britain’s multi-trillion-pound asset management industry and “seems to be acting with impunity”.
‘A massive scandal’
“He has to be suspended until we get the outcome of that FCA investigation. He was at the head of a massive scandal. How can he be allowed to launch new funds until we know the outcome of that,” she told i.
Her comments come after Mr Woodford announced at the weekend that he intends to set up a new investment company almost two years after his multi-billion-pound equity fund was abruptly suspended following a slew of redemption requests.
On Tuesday, Ms Miller wrote an open letter to the Treasury Select Committee urging an independent investigation into the collapse of Mr Woodford’s funds.
“We believe it ought to be a very serious source of public policy concern that high profile individuals such as Mr Woodford can be allowed to recommence trading, with the slate ostensibly wiped clean, when over 300,000 people some of whom may be your own constituents, are scrabbling to make ends meet after seeing their life savings decimated and their prudent actions and hopes for a secure and comfortable future suddenly and unexpectedly dashed,” she said in the letter.
Following a rollercoaster ride in which Mr Woodford’s equity income fund ballooned to £10.2bn, the investment vehicle came crashing to an abrupt halt in June 2019.
When it was suspended the fund had shed more than £6bn of assets – and almost two years later investors are still trying to pick what they can from the wreckage.