This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

Worldwide Healthcare Trust – Telegraph Omits Latest News

This morning (7/12/2017) the Daily Telegraph’s Questor column ran a puff on the Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH), a company which incidentally I do hold. It made such comments as “this trust has returned 16 per cent a year for 22 years, and it should keep on roaring”.

The Trust fund is managed by Orbimed Capital LLC, and perhaps the unfortunate aspect of the above is the failure to mention the announcement by the Trust yesterday over serious allegations of sexual harassment against Orbimed’s Managing Partner and founder Samuel Isaly. I won’t repeat them here but you can find them on the internet quite easily.

Samuel Isaly is also a director of Worldwide Healthcare Trust. I am never very keen for fund managers to sit on the boards of investment trusts and regularly vote against this practice. Boards need to be independent of the fund managers, even if we recognise that the fund managers often have a significant influence over the affairs of such companies. Non-executive directors of investment trusts should all be “independent” which they cannot be if they are employed by the fund manager.

The Trust advises that Orbimed has retained an independent law firm to investigate the matter, but surely this is an appropriate time to consider the composition of the board.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson )

5 Comments
  1. niq says:

    Allegations?

    Once upon a time we had “Innocent until proven Guilty”. Now we have “Guilty until hounded out” (and in some cases suicide). Are you jumping on that bandwagon?

  2. Roger Lawson says:

    The allegations are very serious with more than one witness. Most of the allegations about the past sexual conduct of politicians and actors, often from years back, are I suggest something to wait for more evidence about – if they are even worth investigating after many years which can make the evidence very unreliable. And I was not suggesting that the board of the Trust take any immediate steps but the reputational damage could be considerable. It’s not something they can simply ignore. And if they do ask him to resign from the board then that would be the opportunity to replace him by someone who is truly independent and not another appointee from the fund manager. In the meantime they should simply wait for the results of the investigation by the firm commissioned by Orbimed. The blog post was written to inform investors who read this blog about the allegations which have been very widely covered in the media.

  3. marben100 says:

    The RNS doesn’t indicate that any board replacement is being sought, nor that there will be an immediate appointment of the new manager to the board.

    Mark Bentley

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