New Woodford firm yet to apply for authorisation, say regulators

neil_woodford_regulatorJersey’s financial regulator has revealed that Neil Woodford has not applied for authorisation for his new venture WCM Partners.

“We are disappointed to see this announcement in advance of either receiving or processing any application from this company for authorisation to conduct licensed business as an investment management firm in Jersey,” the Jersey Financial Services Commission said in a statement.

“It would be normal practice when making such an announcement to make it clear that it is ‘subject to regulatory approval’,” the watchdog added.

JFSC said that the trading name WCM Partners has been reserved, but highlighted that no application has been received or processed to authorise the investment management firm on the island.

Earlier in the week, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority also stated that WCM Partners would need to apply for appropriate permissions before commencing any regulated activity in the UK.

Mark Steward, FCA director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “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."

“That includes, for example, the sustainability of the firm’s business model and the fitness of its management.”

The FCA announced that it is working closely with JFSC and that both entities will share information on any application made in their respective jurisdictions.

The watchdog also highlighted that it is still investigating the events that led to the suspension of Neil Woodford’s flagship equity fund in 2019.

Steward said that it is too early to draw conclusions, and that all the evidence needs to be analysed before it can be ascertained if any misconduct took place and who is responsible if so.

“It is only then that we can assess what, if any, sanction we should put in place. It is important as the decision-makers on investigations that we do not prejudge their conclusion,” Steward said.

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