Why did it take independent outsiders such as Hargreaves and the FCA so long to notice?
You can find (at least for now) a short video on Woodford Investment Management’s website in which the man himself, back in September 2017, addresses a burning question: “Has Neil Woodford lost it?” Woodford’s answer, naturally, is that he still has “it”, just as he did in 1999 when he sat out the dotcom bubble and was vindicated within a year.
But the date on the video is interesting. Questions about Woodford’s rotten run have been around for a while. Supposedly independent outsiders – firms such as Hargreaves Lansdown who collect fat fees by promoting funds – are not obliged to share a manager’s pumped-up self-belief. They are allowed to be sceptical. And too few were.