The Christmas break saw two sorry tales in financial services enter the closing chapters.
It was very interesting to see a letter writer to the Financial Times taking issue with the headline which suggested the insurer had finally left the stage – not, argued the reader, while a million policies were still in force.
Another rather more short-lived but still distressing story also came closer to a close – Woodford Investment Management has passed the management of the Woodford Income Focus fund to Aberdeen Standard with the fund expected to reopen in the next couple of months.
Management of the Patient Capital Investment Trust has moved to Schroders. It has been renamed the Schroder UK Public Private Trust (SUPP!) and, as Citywire reports, lender Northern Trust has renewed its credit facility for another year.
Turning back the problematrical flagship fund, Citywire has a very interesting story concerning complications affecting the wind up. The fund had made a binding commitment to Rutherford Health and had ploughed £15 million into the cancer treatment company at the start of the year. This small healthcare firm still have access to more of this drawdown facility. This is making it more difficult to return money to investors as part of the windup. The first payment is due on January 20th.
Essentially, the Woodford saga seems to have quite a long way to run though hopefully not as long as Equitable Life.
Turning to other news, we should ask whether IFAs will miss Andrew Bailey when he is gone. (I doubt it) The FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey surely achieves a lifetime’s ambition and will become governor of the Bank of England leaving a vacancy and a mixed legacy at the FCA.
Advisers have been warned to potentially brace themselves for a No Deal Brexit at the end of 2020 by Schroders Private Wealth with the Prime Minister promising to move out of alignment with the European Union regardless of whether a free trade deal has been completed or not.
The UK would theoretically have to ask for an extension to the transition where the UK remains aligned with EU rules for another year by the start of July this year. The UK government has indicated it plans to do no such thing.
Money Marketing reports that four potential phoenixing firms decided not to do so after ‘chats’ with the FCA. Progress of a sort then.