Fidelity platform bans clients from buying Woodford fund

Fidelity platform bans clients from buying Woodford fund

Fidelity’s Fundsnetwork platform has banned its clients from making new investments into Neil Woodford’s Income Focus fund.

This fund has not been suspended, but its assets under management have fallen to below £400m from more than £500m at the end of April.

The fund has no exposure to the unquoted companies that made up a substantial portion of the investments in Mr Woodford’s Equity Income fund and contributed to the problems with the fund, which was suspended on June 3.

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A representative of Fidelity said: "FundsNetwork has decided to restrict new investments in LF Woodford Income Focus fund.

"We believe this is in the best interest of our platform clients unless and until uncertainties are resolved and we are not restricting withdrawals from Woodford Income Focus.

"The restrictions are a temporary and precautionary measure. This does not affect the Woodford Patient Capital investment trust."

The Woodford Income Focus fund has lost 23 per cent over the past year, compared with a loss of 3 per cent for the average fund in the IA UK Equity Income sector in the same time period.

In a recent update to investors, Mr Woodford urged them to stick with the Income Focus fund, stating it has no unquoted holdings. 

When he launched the fund, Mr Woodford stated it would have more of a focus on income generating shares than would his Equity Income fund, but the funds have many common holdings, including Provident Financial and housebuilding stocks.

Since suspending his Equity Income fund Mr Woodford has been selling holdings to raise cash for any redemptions when it reopens, and this has the potential to make the share prices of those companies fall, impacting the performance of the Income Focus fund.