By Simon Hopkins
I have no idea whether Neil Woodford is a good guy. I prefer to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. After all, a man that loves horses can’t be all bad. Nevertheless, the unceremonious way he was served up by the ghastly Hargreaves Lansdown, and other shoddy advisors that have turned tail and run for the covers, is the ultimate ignominy for a man who must have set out to do the right thing, and now finds himself beaten up by the same fans who once lauded him a genius.
I now read with disbelief, that asset gatherer Blackrock, (money manager would be far too glamorous a title), is now charged with winding up Mr Woodford’s funds. To give the wretched man his due, Woodford was one of very few truly active UK fund managers left in our industry who had not succumbed to the bland and ultimately disastrous creed of the US asset management industry which has taken a filleting knife to the guts of a one proud industry that spawned Mercury (BlackRock’s predecessor and my Alma Mater), and Invesco (Neil’s Alma Mater) amongst others.
He backed BRITISH businesses to the hilt when few others extend their vision beyond the indices that keep them safe. He supported unfalteringly the UK University spinout scene at a time when University funding was under threat, and he was not afraid to put his own money where his mouth was.
He has now been cut down to size by the BRITISH “tall poppy syndrome” and hung out to dry. Had it not been for his vilification by the British media and abandonment by his friends, he might have continued to fly the flag for BRITISH asset management, an industry we once led the world in, but which today has humiliatingly brandished the white flag of surrender to the insidious offerings of Blackrock and their brethren from across the pond.