Jersey’s financial regulator has attacked Neil Woodford’s attempts to stage a comeback saying the island cannot be used as a “back door” to restart his career.
The disgraced former stockpicker announced plans to launch WCM Partners, a new biotech focused outfit in Jersey and Buckinghamshire last month.
But the Jersey Financial Services Commission, which has yet to receive an application from WCM Partners, warned any attempt to exploit Jersey’s connections with the UK through “regulatory arbitrage” would not work.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the regulator’s director-general Martin Moloney said: “Anyone who gets off the plane thinking that Jersey is a soft touch has wasted the price of the ticket. Jersey is not the place to come if you are trying to get around UK regulation, or any other regulation for that matter”.
Just days after Woodford announced his comeback, the regulator said it was “disappointed” he had gone public with the plans. The trading name WCM Partners has been reserved in the Jersey Registry but it has not yet applied for authorisation to conduct licensed business as an investment firm on the island.
The British regulator is investigating the circumstances leading to the suspension of Woodford’s flagship fund which saw investors lose out on millions.
The Financial Conduct Authority last month said Woodford’s return to the investment industry was subject to securing its permission.
“In taking any decision on whether to authorise a firm, we consider whether it is ready, willing and organised to comply, on a continuing basis, with our requirements and standards,” it said. “That includes, for example the sustainability of the firm’s business model and the fitness of its management.”