Investors pull £7.5m a day from second Woodford fund

Investors pull £7.5m a day from second Woodford fund

Investors withdrew an average of £7.5m from Neil Woodford’s Income Focus fund every working day in June.

Data from Morningstar, seen by FTAdviser, shows the fund shrank in size by a third in June, with investors withdrawing £151m.

Poor performance from the fund also contributed to it shrinking in size to £296m at the end of June, having been £496m in size at the start of the month.

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The Woodford Income Focus fund has none of the exposure to unquoted and illiquid stocks that are a feature of the Woodford Equity Income fund, the larger mandate run by Mr Woodford which was suspended on June 3.

This fund was suspended following a sustained period of outflows which hit £9m a day in May.

It had unquoted and illiquid assets which are difficult to sell quickly, making it more difficult to deal with outflows. 

The Woodford Income Focus fund aims to pay an annual dividend of 5p per share, which presently equates to a yield of over 6 per cent.  

The fund has lost 23 per cent over the past year, compared with a loss of just over 1 per cent for the average fund in the IA UK Equity Income sector in the same time period. 

The largest holdings in the fund are stocks that tend to be widely held by equity income funds, such as tobacco company Imperial Brands, which have more liquidity.  

To date, outflows are £8m, according to Woodford Investment Management.

A representative of Woodford Investment Management said: "Outflows in the Woodford Income Focus fund (WIF) fell significantly during June, with 85 per cent occurring prior to the week ending 14 June 2019.

"This trend of reduced redemptions has continued in July.

"The Woodford Income Focus fund is a different portfolio from Woodford Equity Income fund (WEIF). It doesn’t have any exposure to illiquid or unquoted securities and consequently isn’t exposed to the same issues as WEIF."

They added: "The fund was set up with the aim to deliver an income of 5p per share per annum, which it has achieved.

"It mainly invests in companies that pay a dividend and, ever since launch, the portfolio has contained a combination of large, mid and small sized companies."

Jason Hollands, managing director for communications at wealth manager Tilney, said: "The fund does not hold unquoted stocks, so the issues are not quite the same as those faced by its sibling.

"However, performance has been dreadful and it has numerous crossholdings in stocks also held by the Woodford Equity Income fund which is, of course, in the process of trying to liquidate positions to meet a stack of redemptions.

"Woodford IM have ceased disclosing the full portfolio holdings, but previously this fund also included numerous AIM companies.

"The outflows on this fund are therefore unsurprising given the significant hit to this manager’s reputation from the suspension of WEIF, a prolonged period of very poor performance and the way institutional clients have rapidly deserted the group.