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Fidelity blocks customers from Woodford sister fund

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One of the UK’s largest fund platforms has blocked its customers from putting money in the Woodford Income Focus fund.

Fidelity Personal Investing customers will be able to withdraw their money from Neil Woodford’s second fund but won’t be able to buy new units.

The move comes after Woodford suspended trading in his flagship Equity Income fund earlier this month following an increase in demand from investors wanting to get their money out.

Income Focus is the smaller, sister fund of Equity Income. It remains open but has seen £175m of outflows since the suspension of Equity Income, dropping from nearly £500m to £325m.

A Fidelity spokesperson said: “Fidelity International has decided to restrict new investments in LF Woodford Income Focus Fund. We believe this is in the best interest of our platform clients unless and until uncertainties are resolved and we are not restricting withdrawals from Woodford Income Focus. The restrictions are a temporary and precautionary measure. This does not affect the Woodford Patient Capital investment trust.”

In separate news, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today announced it has opened an investigation into the suspension of Woodford Equity Income.

In a letter to Treasury Select Committee chair, Nicky Morgan, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said the regulator had opened an investigation “but cannot comment any further”.

Morgan had written to the FCA asking for details of its contact with the Woodford fund, and whether it will investigate the events that led to the suspension of the fund.

In a statement in the days following the fund suspension, the FCA said where it “believes there are circumstances suggesting serious misconduct or non-compliance with the rules it may open an investigation”.


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