Jul. 23--Seven weeks have passed since investors in the Woodford flagship Equity Income fund were locked in.
But they continue to pay management fees in spite of not being able to get their hands on their own money.
Woodford, meanwhile, has enriched his management firm by £3.25m.
In a separate transaction, he has ploughed £10m into cash-strapped digital bank Atom through his Patient Capital Trust, sending its shares down 1.7pc.
The contagion from the 'temporary' closure of the Equity Income fund has driven shares in Patient Capital Trust down 32pc.
Even those who believe Patient Capital Trust is doing the right thing by investing in UK start-ups might feel agitated.
What is going on in the black box of the Woodford empire is a scandal. It is not just Woodford who has let the saving public down, but also its main promoter Hargreaves Lansdown.
The latter has managed to divert criticism by waiving its Woodford fees. But the fact that a quarter of Hargreaves' clients are exposed to the discredited manager is almost as outrageous as the Bristol-based firm's profit margins of 65pc.
The tarnished role of Hargreaves has not gone unnoticed among the most senior enforcers of stability.
The intensity of engagement between the Financial Conduct Authority and Woodford is unknown. But it is absolutely clear that the regulatory response has been feeble.
FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey suggested to Woodford early on that he might suspend his fees. The great investor did nothing. Bailey, or the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, who has warned of the dangers of 'open ended' funds, should stop making nice.
Woodford should be called in and ordered to suspend fees. If he declines, his 'approved' status should be removed, banishing him from the City. The FCA could draft in a reputable replacement who suspends the fees, refunds those paid since closure and is charged with cleaning up the mess.
The authorities showed no reticence in removing Bob Diamond from Barclays after Libor erupted, or the disgraced boss of Equitable Life, Chris Headdon, from office.
Failure to act more firmly risks bringing the FCA and Andrew Bailey into disrepute. This at a time when it is already under scrutiny over failed mini-bond outfit London & Capital Finance and collapsed peer-to-peer loan firm Lendy. The flaccid response to the Woodford affair should not continue.
Philip Hammond's spell at Number 11 was never going to be easy. He had to keep the ship steady against the waves of Brexit.
There is a pattern here. After reforming Chancellor Gordon Brown came the calming influence of Alistair Darling, and after radical George Osborne we were given Philip Hammond. As Chancellor, Hammond focused on keeping the public finances in order against spendthrift tendencies among colleagues. The triumph of Toryism has been the reduction in the budget deficit from 10pc of total output to less than 2pc.
This is not to say that 'Spreadsheet Phil' didn't have big ideas. He felt constrained about implementing them. Ideally, he wanted to introduce a digital tax. As the rest of the OECD dithered, he might have gone it alone but didn't get the chance. He relished the thought of having money to spend if, and when, there was a Brexit deal.
The opportunity to leave his mark on Britain's global future would have come with the autumn spending review. Hammond believed that two pots of money could be released -- funds in his back pocket kept for seeing the UK through a No Deal, and the benefits of an uplift in growth that would come with a deal and unleash business investment.
Where would that money have been spent? Hammond believed in infrastructure but feared capacity limits in a hobbled UK construction sector. He also wanted to back R&D and technology, arguing it was the best place for young people to make their way. Political timidity meant much of this never happened. Hammond's period at Treasury will be viewed as a careful, but underwhelming, interregnum.
Shares in Ted Baker closed up 13.5pc on hope that hugger-in-chief Ray Kelvin has found a private equity buyer for the upmarket fashion group.
The shares looks dirt cheap when compared with top-of-the-line British fashion house Burberry. Going private might lift the #MeToo stigma. But it could pose ethical difficulties for the would be buyer.
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