Director Changes at Woodford Patient Capital Trust

Steven Harris, who founded a firm that Woodford invested in will step down as non-executive director, to be replaced by Ruffer co-founder Jane Tufnell

James Gard 2 September, 2019 | 9:57AM
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Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT), the closed-end fund run by under-fire manager Neil Woodford, has announced changes to its board.

Steven Harris, the founder of pet hair allergy firm Circassia Pharmaceuticals (CIR), is to step down as a non-executive director at the end of this month. Woodford invested a substantial stake in Circassia when he worked at Invesco and also when he set up Woodford Investment Management in 2014. According to Morningstar data, the trust no longer holds a stake in Circassia, but Woodford Equity Income held 0.55% of its portfolio in the firm (as at end of April, 2019). Invesco also holds stakes in Circassia via open-ended and closed-end funds.

Harris will be replaced on the board of Patient Capital Trust by Jane Tufnell, who co-founded investment trust firm Ruffer in 1994. She will join the Audit, Risk and Valuation and Engagement committees on the trust. WPCT chair Susan Searle said Tufnell’s investment trust experience will prove valuable at an important time for WPCT. Tufnell holds 130,000 shares in the trust, which at current prices is worth £52,000.

The trust’s board said in July that it has been in discussions with other fund managers about replacing as the trust’s manager. Woodford himself sold 60% of his stake in WPCT in early July, but only told the board three weeks after the transaction took place.

The investment trust’s share price has been hit by the fallout from the equity income saga, dropping from 76.5p when that fund gated to around 41p now, a drop of 46%. It currently sits at a discount to NAV of 45%.

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James Gard  is content editor for