Share Centre building position in Woodford despite ‘blow-ups’

The Share Centre is sticking behind Neil Woodford in its multi manager range despite recent “blow-ups”, which have led a number of rival funds pulling money from the star fund manager.

Its Multi Manager Cautious fund has 11 per cent in Woodford Equity Income, while the Multi Manager Balanced fund holds 5.9 per cent. The Multi Manager Adventurous fund has 4.6 per cent in the Woodford Patient Capital trust.

Fund manager Sheridan Admans says he plans to up his position in Woodford, who apologised to investors over the summer for disappointing performance, because of his strong track record and sector allocation.

It bucks a trend of multi managers and platforms ditching the UK equities manager with Architas removing the Woodford UK Equity Income fund from their MA Active fund range, Jupiter pulling approximately £300m from the fund and Aviva ditching it from their workplace pensions platform.

“We recognise that all fund managers are at risk of having some blow-ups in the portfolios over time and Neil is not immune to this,” Admans says. “Nevertheless, Neil’s approach is tried and tested and the fund has outperformed its FTSE All Share benchmark since inception, with lower drawdown and downside risk.”

Admans says the team sees value in healthcare stocks, which Woodford invests in across the market cap range, and financials, which he expects to be supported by higher rates. Technological changes, growth in emerging markets and the rise of diabetes and obesity will support the healthcare sector, he says.

Architas has said Woodford’s concentration in those sectors could risk losses in volatile markets and was part of the reason they pulled money from the UK Equity Income fund.

Housebuilders are another large position that Admans likes thanks to a supportive political environment.

“Housebuilders continue to generate and give back a lot of cash to shareholders and the potential for further wholesale changes to planning could give a further boost to the sector.

“In the meantime, house builders are in a position rightly or wrongly where they can control prices and supply in the broad market, which should continue to be supportive for cash flows.”

Admans adds the Woodford Patient Capital Trust is set to benefit from the budget announcement to invest £2.5bn in young knowledge-based British businesses.