When Neil Woodford’s fund management group collapsed in October 2019, it sent shock waves through the investment world. But it barely registered with the wider British public. This was perhaps because most of the 400,000 victims were well heeled and perhaps also because the questions the scandal raised – about whether the UK’s system for managing people’s pensions and savings is fit for purpose – seemed to pale into insignificance compared to Brexit and other issues.
Both When the Fund Stops by the Financial News correspondent David Ricketts and Built on a Lie by Financial Times journalist Owen Walker thoroughly explore Woodford’s rise and fall. They tackle the wider issues surrounding the collapse of his business and how regulators, as is their wont, missed the red flags. They also highlight the urgent need for reform.
Ricketts’s is the more vivid and affecting account, providing greater insights into ‘Woody’ Woodford’s private life and character. Born in Berkshire in 1960, Woodford was educated at Maidenhead Grammar School, before studying agricultural economics at Exeter University. In 1981 he opted for a career in the City, briefly working at