Finance

Former Woodford sales exec Simon Dale joins ETF firm

Simon Dale, the former head of retail at Woodford Investment Management, has joined exchange traded fund boutique HANetf to oversee its European sales efforts.

Dale was one of the original team members of Neil Woodford’s eponymous investment empire, which the former star fund manager set up in 2014 after more than two decades at Invesco Perpetual.

Dale previously worked alongside Woodford as UK sales manager at Henley-based Invesco, where he worked for more than a decade before moving to Matthews Asia for a brief stint as head of European business development.

At Wooodford IM, Dale oversaw the launch of Woodford’s flagship Equity Income fund, which during a two-week offer period raised £1.6bn — a record amount for a UK fund launch.

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At its peak Equity Income was the UK’s best-selling investment fund, managing more than £10bn in assets by May 2017 and championed by online investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown.

However, a prolonged period of underperformance sparked a flood of investor redemptions and the fund was suspended in June 2019 after Kent County Council asked to withdraw its £240m holding.

Woodford was forced to close his asset management empire in October 2019 after he was sacked as manager of Equity Income by administrator Link Fund Solutions, which decided to wind down the £3.2bn fund and return money to investors.

HANetf was established in 2017 by two former WisdomTree executives, Hector McNeil and Nik Bienkowski.

Their white label platform offers ETF product development, compliance, marketing and distribution services, enabling asset managers to enter the booming ETF market within 10 weeks without having to build their own infrastructure.

McNeil told Financial News that Dale’s hire would help HANetf develop its offering of active ETFs. It currently has one active ETF — the Almalia Sanlam Active Shariah Global Equity — the world’s first actively managed global equity ETF to be compliant with the principles of Shariah investment.

“We feel that will be a major focus area. We think about 20% of our offering will end up as active, and we are getting a lot of interest from UK and US active managers,” said McNeil.

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In the past year, HANetf has launched 7 new products including a gold ETC with The Royal Mint, Europe’s first medical cannabis ETF, and a product which tracks the price of bitcoin. HANetf now manages more than $2.1bn in assets.

In February it hired former DWS ETF executive Manooj Mistry as its chief operating officer.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email David Ricketts

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