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Former Neil Woodford fund to reopen ‘no later than February’

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Smaller LF Woodford Income Focus Fund worth £268m was frozen as crisis deepened Neil Woodford. Photograph: Troika/Alamy Stock Photo One of the smaller investment funds formerly run by star stock picker Neil Woodford will reopen no later than February this year, according to Link Fund Solutions, the administrator of the fund. The LF Woodford Income…

Smaller LF Woodford Income Focus Fund worth £268m was frozen as crisis deepened

Neil Woodford






Neil Woodford.
Photograph: Troika/Alamy Stock Photo

One of the smaller investment funds formerly run by star stock picker Neil Woodford will reopen no later than February this year, according to Link Fund Solutions, the administrator of the fund.

The LF Woodford Income Focus Fund was caught in the crossfire as Woodford’s empire collapsed last year.

Woodford was once one of Britain’s star fund managers, with a flagship fund worth more than £10bn before poorly performing choices, including a number of unquoted investments and companies such as the online estate agent Purplebricks and the doorstep lender Provident Financial, pushed its value below £3bn after investors rushed to withdraw their money. He suspended the Equity Income Fund in June. It later collapsed.

Administrators are now winding up that flagship fund, and have told its 300,000 investors they had lost nearly a fifth of their money and that selling the remaining assets was proving more difficult than expected. Investors were told earlier this month they will receive their first payment on or around 30 January.

Earlier this month, investors expressed their dismay that Woodford and his business partner Craig Newman were paid £13.8m in dividends from their investment management company last year, in the months before the main fund failed. A Woodford spokesman said the partners did not take any profits or income during the fund’s suspension.

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After the former City investment guru was fired from his flagship fund, Woodford quit as manager of his two remaining funds, including the £268m Income Focus Fund, leading to them also being frozen.

Aberdeen Standard Investments was appointed to manage the fund in December and says its goal is to “reposition the portfolio as efficiently and effectively for the existing shareholders”.

Once the fund reopens it will be called the ASI Income Focus Fund, with a portfolio of around 30 liquid UK equity holdings. Investors will once again be able to buy and sell shares in it.

The new managers are waiving their fees to investors until 31 May 2020.

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