Woodford Investment Management  

Woodford Income Focus saga to conclude soon

Woodford Income Focus saga to conclude soon

The administrators of the suspended Woodford Income Focus Fund expect to resolve the mandate’s future before the end of the month.

The future of the £250m fund has been up in the air since October 10, when fund manager Neil Woodford announced he would close Woodford Investment Management and resigned as manager of the Income Focus fund and the Patient Capital investment trust.

This came after he was removed as manager of the £3bn Woodford Equity Income fund, which was suspended in June following an extended period of outflows.

The fund's authorised corporate director Link had been considering whether to sell the fund to another manager, merge it with another fund at another fund house, or liquidate the fund and distribute its assets.

But last month Link suggested it was minded to opt for a merger or a sale rather than closing the fund completely.

The fund houses in contention to buy the Income Focus fund are reported to be Schroders and BlackRock. 

In an update to investors Link wrote: "As explained previously, if neither of the two options for re-opening the fund can be pursued in a way that is in investors’ best interests then we will make an application to the Financial Conduct Authority for approval to wind-up the fund through a process of an orderly realisation of the fund’s assets.

"This will result in the fund’s assets being sold in a way that seeks to best protect value and the proceeds of those sales will then be distributed to investors. We will write to you again as soon as our review is complete and in any event this will be no later than December 30 2019."

The Income Focus fund is the worst performer in the IA UK Equity Income sector over the past year, losing 17 per cent, compared with a gain of 7 for the sector average.    

In its update, Link wrote that the fund had lost 2 per cent since the suspension began, compared with a gain of 0.2 per cent for an investor who had simply bought a FTSE All Share tracker fund over the same time period.

david.thorpe@ft.com

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