Woodford fund suspended until December

In a statement released to the stock exchange today (July 29), the board of the trust wrote: "The board has also held preliminary discussions with select management groups that have approached the company regarding the ongoing management of WPCT.

"The board continues to monitor and assess all options available to it. Therefore, whilst the board remains confident in the portfolio manager's commitment to WPCT and the current day-to-day management of the portfolio, the board intends to engage with a broader range of third-party managers in order to undertake a full assessment of all potential management options, which may or may not lead to a change in the company's management arrangements."

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The board had previously restricted the level of gearing Mr Woodford could deploy in the trust, and required him to seek the board’s permission to make new investments.

The share price of the trust has fallen from 78p to 53p over the past year.

In a regulatory filing this morning, Mr Woodford revealed that he has sold 60 per cent of his personal investment in the trust, a sum of about £1m.

Mr Woodford said his reason for selling the shares was to meet personal expenses and pay a tax bill.  

He said he does not receive a salary while the Woodford Equity Income fund is suspended.

A representative of Woodford Investment Management said: “Neil is proud of the portfolio created and the considerable potential some of these companies have to achieve commercial success, as summarised in the chair’s statement in the annual report published in April 2019: ‘WPCT has a unique portfolio of companies, developed over a long period, where the portfolio manager has a deep insight into the evolution of the businesses… the portfolio is well established with strength and depth, while there have been solid signs of progress this year.’

“Neil remains committed to WPCT, the early-stage asset class and its long-term investment potential.”

The third fund run by Mr Woodford, Woodford Income Focus, had outflows of £7.5m a day in June, but the company said that in July, the outflows moderated, and totalled just under £8m in the first weeks of the month.