Friday 10 January 2020 10:52 am

Woodford fund investors face payment delay

Investors in the Woodford Investment Equity Fund must now wait until the end of the month for payouts to begin.

Investors in Neil Woodford’s stricken fund, which will be wound up on 18 January., had been expecting letters on Monday, with the first payments to commence on or around 20 January.

Read more: Timetable set for Woodford fund repayments

Letters outlining the sums investors will receive in the first payments will now not be sent until 28 January, with payments to begin around 30 January, Woodford fund administrator Link said today.

“This change to the timetable is required to ensure that investors retain exposure to the equity market for the entire period prior to the fund being wound up as required by the regulations,” Link said.

“This delay also allows a significant portion of the fund’s holdings in money market instruments to be liquidated in a way that minimises costs to the fund.”

People who hold stakes in the equity fund via other platforms like Hargreaves Lansdown’s may have to wait “a few days” beyond the end of the month for payments, Link added.

Since the fund’s suspension in June, it has underperformed the FTSE All Share benchmark, seeing losses of almost 15 per cent compared to gains of 9.4 per cent. 

Blackrock and Park Hill were appointed in October to manage the Woodford fund after Link opted to wind it up.

Since then the Woodford fund has offered returns of 1.2 per cent compared to average FTSE gains of 6.2 per cent.

They have since sold off assets belonging to the fund, which was renamed the LF Equity Income Fund, to free up cash for payments back to investors.

Neil Woodford and his partner Craig Newman received £13.8m in dividends in the year before the fund crisis that led to the collapse of Woodford Investment Management, it emerged this week.

Read more: Neil Woodford and partner bagged £14m before empire collapsed

The equity income Woodford fund was suspended as investors rushed to withdraw cash as its performance collapsed.

Link took the decision to close the fund and fire Woodford as its manager in October. Woodford then quit as manager of his other two funds, Woodford Income Focus and Woodford Patient Capital Trust. He also closed his company.