Is it time for the press to take their share of criticism relating to Neil Woodford?
Writing in Money Marketing Robin Powell, a journalist and campaigner for the use of the passive investments, suggests that the media have questions to answer in their role in promoting the star fund manager.
This is part of a more general critique of the advocacy of active funds. He also has quite a pop at the use of Hargreaves Lansdown. To quote: “It’s unacceptable, for instance, for brokers like Hargreaves Lansdown to be treated as impartial experts. Nor is it good journalistic practice to write about an active manager without giving details of their long-term performance, adjusted for risk and cost.”
There have always been questions about certain papers’ promotion of certain types of active investment with suggestions, though no proof, that it was linked to the advertising. The suspicions have become more acute with the internet as covering a topic of interest to the advertisers becomes more common. Where should the line be drawn?
I also tend to think that there are fewer provisos and warnings in money journalists' copy these days.
There have even been questions asked about the models of a couple of the giant financial websites. Not sure much will come of it, and the regulator certainly tends to keep away from journalism for all its flaws.
Finally, would the papers have to accept all of Mr Powell’s argument about passives to radically change the nature of investment journalism?
Back to the regulated world, and last week, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey told MPs, he will be asking if Hargreaves Lansdown acted fast enough. The fund was present in the Wealth 50 right up to the suspension. I am not sure that is the key issue which may well involve more searching questions about HL’s model and indeed its marketing.
Interesting that under questioning from MPs, Bailey also suggested there was a lot more information available about Woodford’s fund holdings than for some of his peers. A passing remark or a sign of something more fundamental.
Woodford Equity Income administrator Link admits errors in disclosure of Guernsey-listed stocks in fund's interim and annual reports which could have future repercussions. The fund hasn’t disappeared of course, something that gets a bit lost in all the confusion.
The FSCS has decided that London, Capital & Finance customers did somehow receive advice.
The ‘could’ in the following introductory paragraph is doing a huge amount of work.
“The Financial Services Compensation Schemehas confirmed that some investors in the collapsed mini bond firm London Capital and Finance did in fact receive advice, meaning they could be due redress.”
This is non-sensical if inevitable. At a stretch, a considerable stretch, these are legal games.
There was no delivery of regulated advice whatsoever from this marketing operation.
The quoted statement is nothing but bizarre.
“Following an extensive review of L&CF’s business practices, FSCS believes that Surge Financial Ltd, acting on behalf of L&CF, provided a number of L&CF clients with misleading advice. As this is a regulated activity, this means FSCS protection would be triggered and that there may therefore be customers with eligible claims for compensation.”
This must be challengeable in a judicial review. It would be good to see the trade papers challenging this stuff instead of meekly accepting the 'wise' words of the FSCS. They are anything but.
A third of steelworkers spent less than two hours with a financial adviser before deciding the transfer, FTAdviser reports.
Finally the FCA has told advisers to be aware of who they are hiring as it ramps up its phoenixing work. Going to be a long hot summer.