Investors trapped in Neil Woodford’s former flagship fund could face a wait of up to a year for the rest of their cash.
In a letter published today (September 30), the fund’s administrator Link Fund Solutions told investors it was expected that some of the remaining assets would not be realised until “mid to late 2021”.
Link said: “You are reminded that we have now sold the majority of the fund’s assets and it may take some time to sell those that remain.
“We will ensure that future sales of the fund’s remaining assets will be completed in a way that best protects your interests as an investor in the fund.”
Link said this meant it was unable to provide a specific date by which the fund’s wind up would be complete and, in turn, all cash returned to investors.
It will continue to make capital distributions to investors as the fund's assets are sold.
The liquid assets in the portfolio were largely sold in January this year, when £2.1bn, around 70 per cent of the portfolio, was returned to investors.
Investors have since received two further payments — of £143m and £183m respectively — as more illiquid parts of the fund were sold. Some £288m is still trapped in the fund.
Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said: “The latest update from Link does little to ease the pain for embattled investors stuck in the Woodford Equity Income fund with the news that the winding up of the fund could still be happening in another 12 months, meaning that over two years would have passed since the fund originally suspended.
“This is of course dependent on Link being able to offload the remaining assets that they have confirmed is left in the fund which may be challenging given market conditions are being severely impacted by coronavirus.”
The letter also showed investors have paid out around £15.5m in fees to BlackRock, Park Hill and Debevoise and Plimpton, a law firm, to facilitate the winding down of the fund.
Mr Hughes added: “While these fees would have been due regardless of who was selling the assets, seeing such sums will make for painful reading for investors.”
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