Woodford administrators confirm fund losses since suspension

Woodford administrators confirm fund losses since suspension

The Woodford Equity Income fund has lost 11 per cent since it was suspended on June 3, according to the fund’s authorised corporate director (ACD).

In an update to clients today (August 23) Link Asset Services stated Woodford Equity Income has lost 11 per cent, while the benchmark it used, the FTSE All Share Total Return Index, has gained 1.5 per cent.

Although the fund is suspended and so investors cannot access their cash, the assets of the fund are valued on a daily basis so investors can see the worth of their holdings. 

Link confirmed it still expects the fund's suspension to be lifted at the start of December as previously announced.

Woodford Equity Income was suspended in June following a period of sustained outflows which amounted to millions of pounds a day in May.

Mr Woodford has since been selling hundreds of millions of pounds worth of shares as he seeks to raise sufficient cash to open the fund and meet expected redemption requests from investors. 

The valuation provided by Link covers the period from suspension to August 21, so prior to the suspension of the shares of Stobart Logistics Plc, another Woodford Holding, which happened this morning.

The suspension means he is unable to sell any of those shares to raise cash. 

Link is the regulated body that manages the fund and decides whether to lift the suspension.

The fund is the absolute worst performer in the FE Analytics UK All Companies sector over the past three years. 

The sector, which contains 214 funds, has gained 15 per cent in that time, compared with a loss of 33 per cent for the Woodford Equity Income fund.  

Responding to today's update Woodford Investment Management stated: "We continue to make progress focusing the fund’s portfolio towards the few areas of the market which, we believe, continue to offer valuation appeal and to the economic sectors with enough internal momentum to withstand the growing global headwinds.

"As we highlighted in our previous update, this strategy has not delivered the returns we had anticipated over the past couple of years.

"The suspension did have an immediate impact on performance in the short term with the fund underperforming its benchmark significantly (FTSE All Share Total Return Index) during the first 28-day period.

"The situation improved during the second 28-day period in July, with the fund outperforming, albeit marginally.

"However, over the latest 28-day period of suspension the fund has underperformed its benchmark – which can be primarily attributed to the share price decline of two of the fund’s larger holdings, Burford Capital and Industrial Heat."

The price of Burford’s shares declined sharply after it came under fire in a report from a US-based short-seller earlier this month.

The company has since rebutted the allegations.

Woodford Investment Management added: "The suspension and the circumstances that led to it, may have had an impact on the price of some of the fund’s assets in the short term.