Second Woodford fund is suspended following investment firm's collapse

Neil Woodford

Neil Woodford will cease to be the investment manager with immediate effect Credit Jeff Gilbert

Link Fund Solutions, administrator of the 258 million pound ($330 million) LF Woodford Income Focus Fund, said it had been forced to act as it expected Woodford's departure to trigger a rush for the exits.

The suspension comes less than 12 hours after Neil Woodford resigned as money manager for the fund.

The suspension of trading in the Income Focus Fund, which came into effect on Tuesday, will continue until further notice and be reviewed at least every 28 days, Link said in the letter to investors dated October 16. Cash will start being returned from the end of January - but only in instalments.

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Link said: "The name of the fund will, subject to regulatory process, be amended to reflect the fact that Woodford will no longer be the investment manager to the fund".

"It is disappointing that payments to investors will not now begin until January, rather than December".

Mr Woodford has faced heavy criticism over his investment strategy since setting up the fund, due to his preference for investing into unlisted businesses. The amount available for distribution to investors is unknown at the stage as it will depend on how quickly the assets can be sold at a fair price.

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'We had agreed with the Depositary and Woodford that we would seek to complete the repositioning of the fund's portfolio by early December 2019 to enable the Fund to re-open, but that we would monitor progress to ensure that this date remained achievable, ' explains Link.

Specialist broker Park Hill will continue attempting to sell off the unlisted assets and return the money to investors.

The fund will be split into two parts - listed and unlisted assets - with new managers from BlackRock tasked with selling the listed shares.

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'We also think the wind-up of the equity income fund increases the likelihood that the board of WPCT will decide to put the trust into run-off, with investments realised gradually over a number of years and cash returned to investors once the bank debt (£111m at 26/09/19) is repaid'.

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