A bit about Woodford

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The establishment of Woodford in 2014 has been the opportunity for Neil Woodford – one of the UK’s most highly-regarded fund managers – to distil 30 years of experience and learning into a business founded on his own principles.

Our ambition was not to be just another fund management company but to create something different and better for our investors. We believe that there are parts of our industry that have forgotten what it is that investors really want – too often they face noise and complexity and an industry focused on relative returns and short-term pressures. At Woodford, our approach is different, as all of our attention is on providing a positive long-term return for our clients.

And it is not just our investment approach that is different. We are building a strong and successful, transformational fund management business with a unique culture. A team of talented and passionate people, specialists in their individual fields, who share a vision for how a fund management company can and should operate and are united in their commitment to delivering outstanding outcomes for our clients.

It is an environment in which our investment managers can focus solely on managing money and delivering the performance our investors expect. Without the constraints of legacy infrastructure, we have anchored our Investment team in a dynamic, cutting-edge business that embraces both increased regulation and a fast-moving world. We have been able to make use of new technology and outsourcing models to provide an industry-leading infrastructure that is unrivalled in its effectiveness and efficiency.

We aim to deliver more than just profit. As well as enriching the lives of our clients, we are actively engaging with the wider community and building a fund management business that will generate value, not just for today’s generation but also for the generations of tomorrow.

Our goal is to set a new benchmark for how fund management companies do business – with client outcomes our absolute focus.

Investment approach

At Woodford, we feel strongly that existing and potential investors are entitled to understand what we’re doing with their money.

Understanding our long-term, disciplined and diligent investment approach is crucial in helping clients to decide whether investing with us would be right for them and to understand how their investments are being managed and the experience they can expect with Woodford.

First and foremost we are stock pickers. We combine rigorous fundamental analysis of companies with our perspective of the long-term macro-economic outlook and variables and how these might impact existing or potential holdings. This approach allows us to construct robust investment rationales and make informed decisions. We focus on what matters: the long term and the fundamentals.

An active strategy

We believe that being an active investor means doing something different from the market and adding value through the investment process.

Every investment we buy, we buy on merit – we never invest in companies to make our portfolios look more like the index. As a result, our portfolios tend to look and behave very differently to the general market. We are happy for our performance to be compared to the market (and our portfolio activity and performance are fully disclosed on our website) but we are confident that we can better it over the long term by doing things differently.

Company engagement

We are also active in our engagement with company management teams, as we want to represent our investors’ best interests in our discussions with management teams. We aim to ensure that management is aligned with shareholders and that the course set for the business will create long-term shareholder value. We engage with management to try to influence change where necessary. Successful investment requires a partnership between managers and owners.

Long-term focus

Our long-term approach to investment management is encapsulated in a patient capital investment style.

Equity markets take a random walk on a daily basis. The forces of fundamentals and valuation may be over-ridden by sentiment and the whim of the market in the short term, but it is the longer time periods that count. We look beyond the short-term noise and focus on the long-term drivers of share prices.

Our approach is focused on value discovery, not on price discovery. We believe that by focusing on valuation and identifying companies that can deliver sustainable growth, today or in the future, we can deliver great long-term outcomes for our investors.

Absolute focus

We believe investors expect a return. We don’t think we’ve done a good job if a fund falls in value, even if the market has delivered an even worse outcome. Protecting our investors’ capital is key.

Our approach is all about positive return over the long term. We do not pay attention to hype and we are not distracted by the desire for instant results. Instead we seek well-run, high-quality businesses – the fundamentals matter and Neil’s ability to make investment decisions that balance macro-views, business specifics and his view on management teams have resulted in exceptional long-term performance.

Of course value is not a product of history but of the future and that is why Neil and the Investment team continue to adopt their disciplined, diligent and focused methodology to spot opportunities and create positive outcomes for our clients.

In the case of younger businesses, investors do have to tolerate the prospect of loss on a stock-specific basis, although our due diligence efforts are designed to minimise this risk. We aim to achieve capital preservation through diversification, by investing in a larger number of smaller positions.

We acknowledge that there will be periods when a fund falls in value but we believe our disciplined strategy, with a focus on valuation and diligent stock picking, can help us prevent any temporary losses of capital becoming permanent. We focus on absolute risk and on delivering a positive return over the long term.

What matters to our clients matters to us and our sole focus is on delivering robust and reliable performance for investors.

Results

The foundations of our investment principles and approach have been at the heart of Neil’s successful investment philosophy for decades and have proved extremely rewarding for his investors. The approach has been fine-tuned over the years – as our fund managers have learnt from both successes and failures – but it has not changed in any material way.

Our aim of delivering consistent and attractive long-term performance has been achieved consistently throughout Neil Woodford’s career. We strongly believe that our disciplined approach is robust and repeatable and will continue to deliver real value for investors.

In the period since Woodford was established, our assets under management have grown steadily to £17.8bn (source Northern Trust, as at 31 May 2017), with all types of investor demonstrating belief in Neil and his team.

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