The court of public opinion is pretty quick with its judgements. Within hours of Neil Woodford’s decision to temporarily gate his fund, Woodford Equity Income, the country’s most famous star investor has gone from hero to villain.
Silver-tongued market pundits, angry investors and rival managers have wasted no time in giving all manner of cute reasons for the Led Zeppelin fan’s downfall. If you listen closely to the blame-game now going on, his Stairway to Heaven was always going to be a pathway to hell.
They say the Woodford fund held too many illiquid and unquoted stocks and that he had too many distractions such as his ill-thought out decision to back the hostile bid from Non-Standard Finance for Provident Financial. They also say he took many rotten decisions along the path, like pushing for GSK to split up but then selling his stake before the pharma giant did so, missing out on the share price gain.