Spurned in Britain, Woodford Heads to China for His Next Act

(Bloomberg) --

Neil Woodford, the famed U.K. stock picker who was ousted from eponymous funds, has flown to China to test investor appetite for a potential comeback.

Woodford and Craig Newman, the chief executive officer of Woodford Investment Management, are in China having exploratory meetings with investors interested in early-stage assets, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because it’s private.

A spokesman for Woodford Investment Management confirmed that the pair are in China.

Woodford started investing more in unlisted and smaller quoted firms after he left Invesco Ltd. to set up his own firm in 2014. His flagship fund included an almost 97% allocation to micro-, small- and mid-cap stocks at the end of May, up from 40% in January 2016.

The collapse of Woodford and Newman’s business was a remarkable reversal of fortune for a man known as one of the U.K.’s best stock pickers. Everything started unraveling in June when Woodford suspended his flagship fund because he couldn’t sell his holdings quickly enough to meet redemption requests.

Lawmakers and regulators have spoken out against the industry for failing to protect investors. The collapse prompted Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to say that funds offering investors daily access to their money but holding illiquid assets were “built on a lie.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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