Britain’s answer to Warren Buffett...
NEIL Woodford is the closest equivalent the UK has to legendary American investor Warren Buffett.
The star stock-picker made his name over a quarter of a century working at Invesco Perpetual, where loyal private investors trusted him with £33 billion, more than any other fund manager.
Savers who handed him £10,000 in the late 1980s would now have £300,000, and his views and stock picks can strike fear or joy into the nation’s top chief executives.
Mr Woodford, 57, lives in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, having left Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire in 2011 after a bust-up with neighbour and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman over the fund manager’s plans to build a horse-training arena.
In 2015, he married his second wife Madeline White, an amateur show-jumper, with whom he has two young children. Mr Woodford leaves home at am every day, driving a Porsche Cayenne to his fund’s modest offices on an industrial estate in Oxford or into London for meetings at some of the UK’s biggest companies.
Despite his success, he says he chanced upon fund management.
Growing up in Berkshire, he left Maidenhead Grammar wanting to fly fighter jets. But he could not pass the RAF’s aptitude test, and instead went into the City in 1981 when Britain was gripped by a recession.
Sleeping on his brother’s floor, Mr Woodford worked his way through various jobs at the Reed Pension Fund, TSB and Eagle Star. His big break came in 1988 when he got a job at Invesco in Henley, and he was soon running his own fund.
In 2013, he quit to set up his own fund management operation, Woodford Investment Management, which manages £15 billion of savers’ cash.
Despite a shaky performance over the past 18 months, Mr Woodford’s influence in the City endures.
In 2015, he told the Mail the eurozone could not continue in its current form and that a ‘day of reckoning’ over Britain’s future in the EU was inevitable.
City star: Fund manager Neil Woodford