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Criticism does hurt me, says Neil Woodford


Neil Woodford popped into Citywire’s London HQ last week for a video interview with Lawrence Lever. 

Lawrence recalled our first major interview in October 2001 when Woodford revealed the pressure he had been put under - and resisted - to buy tech stocks in the dot com boom. His funds plunged to the bottom of the Equity Income league table.

He was vilified in the press, accused of being intransigent, blinkered by pride and off the pace. Sticking to his guns, he was proved right

Fast forward sixteen years and Woodford is again attracting flak. This time for the difficulties some of his unquoted investments have got into and even some of his large cap bets – such as Provident Financial, Next and Capita – have suffered share price falls. Again the critics are out.

While his flagship fund Woodford Equity Income is top of its sector since launch, it has lagged over the past eighteen months. Is this far too short a time period to judge Woodford, a man who has delivered over the long term? (See chart below).


The criticism hurts and he loses sleep when things are not going his way, he says. But he is not going to be deflected from his core value-driven investment philosophy.

There are legitimate questions around Woodford – covered in the video interview.

Has he moved too far away from what he built his reputation on –  UK large cap sector bets?  Is it different now that he doesn’t have available some of his Invesco Perpetual mentors? Does having his own name on the door of his firm mean it is hard to delegate decisions? And why did he turn to equestrianism, at the age of 49?

Watch the video to find out.

* The full Woodford video will be published on the New Model Adviser® website on Saturday 8 July 


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