More patience required: Woodford investors saw disgraced stock picker’s former flagship investment trust crash another 29% last year
Investors in the former Woodford Patient Capital Trust are still suffering as its chairman admitted performance had been ‘disappointing’ over the last year.
Savers have been left nursing heavy losses after a number of the companies picked by fund manager Neil Woodford failed to produce any returns.
Even though Woodford was ousted as manager in 2019, amid the collapse of his investment empire, the value of the fund’s assets slid by another 29.2 per cent over 2020, the annual report revealed yesterday.
Savers in the former Woodford Patient Capital Trust have been left nursing heavy losses after a number of the firms picked by fund manager Neil Woodford failed to produce any returns
Blue-blooded investment firm Schroders was appointed as Woodford’s successor in December 2019, and since then has been trying to turn around the performance of the newly renamed Schroder UK Public Private Trust.
But in the annual report, chairman Susan Searle, who faced calls to resign in 2019 amid criticism that she should have acted sooner to fire Woodford, said: ‘The valuation at December 31, 2020 is clearly disappointing.’
Attempting to boost investors’ spirits, she added: ‘We believe that the company is in a much better position now than it was a year ago.’
Schroders had been trying to pay down the trust’s debt pile. Loans can increase investors’ returns when performance is good, but they heighten any losses.
Although it has succeeded in reducing the debt, the trust has still been battered by the poor performance of the stocks Woodford left it with.
Cancer treatment firm Rutherford Health was the biggest single drag, as its value was downgraded by £47million over the course of 2020 due to slow progress at the business.
Atom Bank, Benevolent AI and experimental nuclear fusion firm Industrial Heat all had their value slashed by more than £5million.
Unlike the doomed Woodford Equity Income fund, the Schroders trust is listed.
This means investors can sell the shares they hold at any time – but would likely be crystallising a heavy loss as the shares are at a near all-time low of 32p.