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Wealth manager drops Woodford after suspension

St James’s Place, the wealth management group, has dropped high-profile stockpicker Neil Woodford as a manager of its £3.5bn high-income fund.

It follows the decision by the Woodford Equity Income Fund to stop investors taking money in or out of the fund.

Mr Woodford has said he is “extremely sorry” after suspending trading in his largest fund on Monday.

St James Place said investments in its high-income fund were not affected by the suspension.

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It said it “believes these changes will ensure its clients’ investments continue to be managed effectively”.

The high-income fund represents just over 3.5% of St James’ Place funds under management.

It will now be managed by Columbia Threadneedle Asset Management and RWC Partners.

Mr Woodford stopped money going in or out of his Woodford Equity Income Fund after increasing numbers of investors asked for their money back.

The move was “necessary to protect investors’ interests”, he said.

Separately, another wealth manager, Hargreaves Lansdown, said that it would waive fees for investors who had money invested through the company in the suspended Woodford Equity Income Fund.

Emma Wall, head of investment analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We do not think it is fair to charge our clients a fee while they cannot trade in the fund. This is a frustrating and difficult time for clients and we are doing what we can to support them.

“We have been in communication with Woodford Investment Management to explain why we think this is the right thing to do and have put pressure on them to do the same.”

A stockpicker – or fund manager – analyses the potential of different stocks to try to decide whether or not they will make a good investment.

Investors had withdrawn about £560m from Mr Woodford’s fund over the past four weeks.

Kent County Council had wanted to withdraw its £263m investment, but was unable to do so before trading halted.

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