Investors pull £3m from former Woodford fund on day one

Investors pull £3m from former Woodford fund on day one

Investors withdrew a net £3m from the former Woodford Income Focus fund on the first day after it re-opened.

This equates to 1.2 per cent of the total fund, according to Aberdeen Standard Investments, the company which won the mandate to run the fund following the resignation of Neil Woodford as manager.

New managers Charlie Luke and Tom Moore said they were encouraged by the "small amount of outflows".

Yesterday (February 13) was the first day of trading for the fund since it was suspended in October.

The company stated that £500,000 was invested into the fund on the day, and £3.5m was withdrawn. 

The fund has underperformed the wider market by 4 per cent since October.

One of the first acts of the new managers was to remove the income target set by Mr Woodford of paying a dividend of 5p per share, and instead aim to achieve a higher income than the market as a whole over a three-year period. 

Commenting on the first day of trading for the fund, Mr Luke said: “Investors in the fund have had an unsettling time and I’m delighted we’ve been able to reposition it into a diversified liquid portfolio allowing to be re-opened.

"The small amount of outflows offset by some inflows is encouraging. Of course we knew therefore would be some outflows as some investors will need the cash. But generally investors have a long-term focus and Thomas and my aim is deliver for them.”

Mr Luke and Mr Moore have been selling off many of the holdings that were in the fund under Mr Woodford, and replaced them with their own choices of assets.

Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at Willis Owen, said: “Whilst the fund wasn’t at the centre of the Woodford debacle, investors have been trapped for months and have been naturally concerned with poor performance, as well as being unable to access their money.

"The new managers are, through no fault of their own, not the first choice for investors. However, they are well supported by a strong brand, and a large UK equity team which means this is less of a one-man show than it was under Woodford.

“Nonetheless, Thomas Moore recently suffered from a spell of poor performance in the Aberdeen Standard Equity Income and ASI UK Income Unconstrained Equity funds, with the value style out of favour.

"This has been compounded by some stockpicking issues which have hit performance further. Charles Luke on the other hand has delivered stronger performance since taking over the ASI UK Income Equity Fund, which has more exposure to large cap and growth companies, in July 2017."

A representative of Aberdeen Standard Investors said it would be wrong to label Mr Moore completely as a value style fund manager, and Mr Luke as a growth style manager.

The representative said the company believes the manager’s styles “complement” each other.