Saturday 19 October 2019

Woodford flagship fund to remain frozen till December says director

Neil Woodford. Photo: Jonathan Atkins
Neil Woodford. Photo: Jonathan Atkins

Carolyn Cohn and Simon Jessop

The suspension of money manager Neil Woodford's Equity Income fund until December remains in place, the fund's authorised corporate director said yesterday at its monthly review of the lock-up.

Link Fund Solutions froze the fund on June 3 after it was unable to meet redemption requests, to enable Woodford to sell assets to raise cash.

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Woodford's flagship fund, which is aimed at retail investors and has drawn the ire of lawmakers, regulators and investors for its exposure to unlisted and illiquid stocks, has lost 12.83pc since its suspension, Link Fund Solutions said in a statement, under-performing its benchmark index.

Assets under management now total £3.1bn, according to Morningstar data.

Of the proceeds of share sales, 84pc has been reinvested in Ftse 100 companies, Woodford Investment Management said in a separate statement.

"Neil continues to reposition the portfolio founded on a belief that the global economic environment is not as robust as equity markets are implying," the firm said.

It said the fund had lost ground recently following a revaluation of one of its top holdings, biotech firm BenevolentAI.

BenevolentAI got a $90m (€81m) investment from Singapore's Temasek last week, valuing the company at $1bn, down from a valuation of $2bn at the previous funding round in April 2018.

Shares in Woodford's only listed fund, Woodford Patient Capital Trust, were down 3.5pc at 45.05 pence having lost more than 40pc since the fund's suspension.

Woodwork's other open-ended fund, the Income Focus fund, has assets under management of £267m, according to Morningstar, and has lost nearly half its value since the suspension.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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