Treasury Select Committee chairman Mel Stride has urged the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to close the investigation into Neil Woodford as anger over his controversial comeback mounts.
Stride urged regulators to set a deadline for their report to be released, saying the news that Woodford is about to open a new investment business could “understandably be of concern” to disgruntled investors.
Woodford announced that he was planning a Jersey-based biotech fund last week, despite an ongoing FCA investigation into the events that led to the implosion of its investment business in 2019.
The new mandate is available to institutional investors only and will hold a number of stocks previously owned by the failed LF Woodford Equity Income Fund.
In a statement, Stride said: “The previous Finance Committee expressed concern about the failure of the Woodford Fund and the impact it has on its investors.
“With the FCA’s investigation continuing for more than 18 months after the fund’s suspension, the new fund’s reports may understandably be of concern to investors who previously lost.
“The FCA should state when we can expect their investigation to be completed.”
The intervention followed a statement by the FCA on Tuesday that it contacted its Jersey counterparts about Woodford’s plans.
FCA’s enforcement and oversight director Mark Steward also said that while the investigation was progressing, it was affected by coronavirus.
He said, “It is important to note that any comment on the scope of this ongoing investigation is mere speculation. We have not confirmed who or what we are investigating, although it is common knowledge that there were significant numbers of companies in the functional chain of the fund. “
Gina and Alan Miller, the founders of the wealth firm SCM who became known as anti-Brexit activists, wrote to the Treasury Select Committee earlier this week asking for an independent investigation from Woodford and the FCA.
Stride said the committee would consider the letter when parliament returns next week.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission said it was ‘disappointed’ Woodford announced plans to run a new investment company out of the island before applying for approval.
Stride added, “In the meantime, it is important to note Mr. Steward’s comments, which reiterate some of the factors the FCA will consider in deciding whether to approve a new business, as well as those between the FCA and the FCA agreed collaboration Jersey Financial Services Commission. ‘
Woodford’s flagship open ended equity income fund closed in 2019 with £ 3.7 billion in cash after struggling to fund redemptions after a string of poor performances and a string of unsuccessful bets on unlisted companies . Months later he was fired as a fund manager.
The FCA has since investigated the fund’s collapse, investigating both administrator Link Fund Solutions and its depositary Northern Trust. However, the watchdog did not make any updates to the results.
A separate FCA investigation of the authorized business leader market announced due to the Woodford Fund’s implosion has yet to be completed as it has been delayed by a year.
The chairman of the finance committee urges the FCA on the Woodford investigation timeline