LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Neil Woodford, one of Britain’s most high-profile fund managers, said he has sold his fund’s stake in banking group HSBC, citing concerns over the potential impact on the company of several industry-wide probes.
“In particular, I am worried that the ongoing investigation into the historic manipulation of Libor and foreign exchange markets could expose HSBC to significant financial penalties,” he said in a blog posting on his fund’s website.
“Not only are these potentially serious offences in the eyes of the regulator, but HSBC is very able to pay a substantial fine.”
Woodford, a favourite among investors due to his strong performance track record, said the size of any potential fine was unquantifiable and therefore represented an unquantifiable risk.
“Nevertheless, a substantial fine could hamper HSBC’s ability to grow its dividend, in my view. I have therefore sold the fund’s position in HSBC, reinvesting the proceeds into parts of the portfolio in which I have greater conviction,” he added.
CF Woodford Equity Income Fund had 2.68 percent of its assets in HSBC shares at the end of July, according to the fund’s factsheet.
Woodford left Invesco Perpetual earlier this year to set up his own company. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Simon Jessop)