One of the UK's largest asset managers, Jupiter, has pulled £300m from Neil Woodford's flagship fund, a spokesperson for Woodford Investment Management confirmed this afternoon.
The Jupiter Merlin team, which invests in a variety of other managers' funds, ditched two thirds of its position in the CF Woodford Equity Income fund yesterday, trade publication Portfolio Adviser first reported.
Woodford had to sell some of its assets under management (AUM) to meet the commitment, but a spokesperson added that the Jupiter exit “was concluded in September and the current AUM of £8.9bn reflects this”.
“There could be any number of reasons Jupiter have made this sale, ranging from asset allocation through to a call on Woodford’s contrarian confidence in the UK economy,” said Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“While Neil Woodford has definitely had a troubled time of late, in our view his long term track record speaks for itself.
“It’s also important to keep some perspective. Despite Woodford’s recent poor run, the Woodford Equity Income fund is top quartile in the sector since it was launched in 2014.”
Jupiter Merlin was one of the first major backers of Woodford's fund. In the last set of updates before the summer, Woodford Equity Income accounted for more than five per cent of the Jupiter Merlin Income, Growth and Balanced portfolios.
The once much-praised Neil Woodford has taken a battering in recent months, as he apologised last month for his fund's poor performance.
But he emphasised the importance of long-term investing, and stuck by the fund's contrarian strategy.