Monday 1 July 2019 11:48 pm

Neil Woodford keeps flagship fund under lock and key

Embattled stockpicker Neil Woodford remained defiant last night despite confirmation that his flagship Equity Income Fund will stay frozen for at least another 28 days.

Read more: Woodford offloads stake in Raven’s property firm

In a new video promoted on social media, Woodford defended his trademark strategy of focusing on “undervalued assets”, saying it “will remain at the front and centre of how we construct the portfolio”.

He added: “All of my personal finances and investments are in the funds we run here.”

Neil Woodford defended his stockpicking strategy in a Youtube video published yesterday

The Equity Income Fund suspended trading on 3 June after becoming overwhelmed by withdrawals.

Woodford had to decide by yesterday whether or not to continue the suspension.

Investors were told in a letter last night that it “remains in the best interests of all investors in the fund to continue the suspension”, and it would be formally reviewed again by 29 July.

“We understand that the suspension of dealings may be causing concern to you as an investor in the fund”, wrote Karl Midl, director of Link Fund Solutions, which is managing the suspension.

“We can assure you that we are striving to do all we can to bring further clarity to the situation as soon as possible.”

Midl added that Woodford Investment Management, the fund’s manager, “has been taking steps to reposition the fund’s portfolio to realise the unquoted and less liquid stocks and invest in more liquid investments”.

Despite condemnation from MPs and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Woodford has refused to suspend management fees for the fund’s investors, and is thought to be receiving £100,000 per day in fees.

The suspension of the Equity Income Fund is under investigation by the FCA, which has faced questions about its handling of the scandal and whether it should have acted sooner.

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has questioned the FCA’s “alertness to the problems”.

Earlier yesterday it was announced that Woodford had jettisoned his 12 per cent stake in Raven Property Group. The sale brings the total Woodford has raised since the suspension of his flagship fund to £459m.

Read more: Neil Woodford cuts stake in AI firm as suspension deadline approaches

Raven, which specialises in property investment in Russia, said it had bought back a smaller stake from Invesco Asset Management, Woodford’s former employer.

It also emerged yesterday that Metalysis, a 3D printing firm backed by both Woodford’s Equity Income Fund and his Patient Capital Trust, collapsed into administration earlier this month.

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