Disgraced Neil Woodford soaks up sun on anniversary of fund's collapse

Laughing all the way to the beach: Disgraced City star Neil Woodford soaks up the sun on third anniversary of his fund’s collapse – just as investors go to court

  • Woodford enjoyed a day in the sun with friends at his bolthole on a Devon beach
  • He was pictured in a t-shirt and speedos on the way to his boat
  • This was the same day former investors went to court to try and recoup money

Strolling on a Devon beach, disgraced City tycoon Neil Woodford soaks up the sun – just as clients who lost savings when his investment fund collapsed went to court in a desperate bid to recoup their cash.

Woodford, 62, appeared carefree on Friday, the third anniversary of when his Woodford Equity Income (WEI) fund – once valued at more than £10 billion – had its assets frozen.

He spent the day with friends at Salcombe Harbour in South Devon, yards from his £6.3 million cliffside bolthole.

After relaxing on the terrace of his luxury home, where two black Porsche sports cars and a Land Rover were parked, he went down to the water to his boat.

Neil Woodford was pictured on a Devon beach heading for his boat on the third anniversary of the collapse of his firm

Former fund manager Neil Woodford near his multi million pound Devon home in Salcombe, valued at £6.3 million

The BBC once described Woodford as the ‘man who can’t stop making money’ – although he has had to sell some of his properties in recent years

Meanwhile, lawyers were filing a multi-million-pound case at the High Court in London against WEI’s administrator, Link Fund Solutions, alleging it failed to supervise Woodford’s investments properly.

The BBC once described Woodford as the ‘man who can’t stop making money’, but WEI collapsed after his investors, concerned at the direction he was taking with their cash, withdrew more than £500 million in just four weeks.

WEI’s value had fallen to £3.7 billion when Link froze it on June 3, 2019, preventing up to 400,000 investors from accessing their funds.

London legal firm Harcus Parker is bringing the claim on behalf of 1,500 investors whose holdings in the fund amounted to about £18 million. 

Thousands more are expected to launch similar actions and the overall claim could reach £100 million.

Woodford’s bolthole is located in a quiet, picturesque corner of Devon. He sold his Cotswolds country house in 2020 for a staggering £26 million

Woodford has since set up a new investment fund after the collapse of WEI

Since the collapse of WEI, Woodford, who sold his Cotswolds country house in 2020 for £26 million, has kept a low profile, overseeing the extensive renovation of the six-bedroom seaside mansion with his wife, Madelaine, 50. 

Records at South Hams District Council in Devon show that renovations began soon after the couple moved in, and they have already constructed a gym, guest quarters, a state-of-the-art kitchen, playroom and office.

Investment expert Brian Dennehy said: ‘It’s just unseemly for Neil to be seen to be spending those sums at this time – perhaps also a lack of contrition as to the pain caused to so many people.’

Ian Forbes, a retired pharmaceutical scientist who had invested £12,000 in Woodford’s fund, said: ‘I don’t think he should have been refurbishing, but instead looking at his loyal investors. I feel so angry that I have been let down.

‘Three years after the collapse, we are nowhere forward. I feel really aggrieved.’

Investors in Woodford’s fund told The Mail on Sunday they feel ‘aggrieved’ and ‘angry’

The Woodfords’ previous property in Tetbury, near Prince Charles’s Highgrove estate, boasted stables and was home to their collection of show horses. 

The couple reportedly attended a show jumping event in Somerset last month, where Mrs Woodford competed.

Harcus Parker claims Link failed in its duties as authorised corporate director of WEI as assets under management grew.

It claims Link breached finance rules by letting Woodford invest too heavily in illiquid assets – shares in firms that could not be sold easily should investors want their money back.

Link said it would defend itself ‘vigorously’, adding that it ‘acted at all times in accordance with applicable rules, as well as in the best interests of all investors’.

Woodford, who has since set up a new investment firm, declined to comment last night.

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