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Neil Woodford and partner share £ 1.5m payment before collapse

Neil Woodford and his business partner Craig Newman shared a £ 1.5m payout a few months before their investment empire exploded

Fallen fund manager Neil Woodford and his business partner Craig Newman shared a £ 1.5m payout just months before their investment empire exploded.

The pair took generous dividends from Woodford Investment Management in April and May 2019, showing new accounts.

But weeks later, in June, Woodford’s flagship £ 3.7 billion fund was suspended, and the saver is at a loss. Dividends were usually split between Woodford and Newman to reflect the proportion of the firm that was giving Woodford £ 975,000 and Newman £ 525,000.

Fallen Star: Neil Woodford and his business partner Craig Newman shared £ 1.5m payment in 2019

Sources close to the pair said that there was ‘no visibility’ that the funds would be suspended upon receipt of the funds.

But even in May 2019, Woodford investors were leaving. And by March 2020, which included two months during which the pair pulled out their dividends, Woodford Investment Management made a loss of £ 6.2m, with a gain of £ 16.3m over the previous 12 months. In the accounts, Newman said it was ‘below expectations’. Jason Hollands of wealth manager Tilney said the payment was an ‘extraordinary step’.

He said: ‘This is another news for the savers which they will find quite bitter. They probably did not know that the fund was going to be suspended, but the performance was quite terrible. ‘During the six years that Woodford and Newman ran their firm, it raised around £ 113m in dividend and profit shares. Woodford received about 65 percent of it.

Earlier this year they announced that they were starting a new firm despite an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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