Chelsea Financial Services’ dinner with Neil Woodford descended into scenes reminiscent of a One Direction concert last week with financial journalists swooning, screeching and near-fainting as they tried to get a word with their income fund-running hero.
One journo with enough experience to know far better grabbed a few seconds with Woody to tell him how much of an inspiration he was, in a sick-inducing moment of brown-nosing that will linger long in the memory of others in attendance.
Data analysis compiled by the Wells Street Journal reveals no fewer than 12,856 “exclusive” interviews with the income guru since the launch of Woodford Investment Management (“exclusive” as in there were no other journalists in the room during the 30 minutes when the interview took place).
For anyone who has somehow missed the tsunami of Woodford coverage, he’s basically going to run the same sort of income portfolio he ran at Invesco. His cautious views on the economy remain and the only bank he still likes is HSBC.
Meanwhile, he’s been likened to Frank Sinatra, Mother Teresa and Jesus Christ in a number of fawning puff pieces over the past couple of weeks. One journo even suggested a future pilgrimage to Woodford’s Oxfordshire abode.
With the sycophantic coverage you’d have thought the Woodford IM team would be content that they have more friends in the press than they know how to deal with.
However, news reaches the WSJ that the presenter of a recent video interview of the main man himself, broadcaster Andrea Catherwood, is married to none other than legal expert Gray Smith – chief legal and compliance officer of Woodford IM.
Given the gushing reaction from their friends in the fourth estate, it is perhaps surprising that Woodford Inc feels the need to load the dice even more in its favour when it comes to dealing with the meeeja.