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Link on the hunt for new manager for Woodford fund

Written by: Emma Lunn
Woodford Income Focus administrator Link Fund Solutions has shortlisted potential managers for the suspended fund – but a merger or winding up the fund is not out of the question.

Link has written to investors with an update about the LF Woodford Income Focus Fund which has been suspended since 15 October.

Dealings in the fund were halted to protect investors from an increased level of redemptions Link anticipated would follow the news that Neil Woodford had resigned as the fund’s manager.

Link says it has been working with a leading independent research firm to establish a shortlist of investment managers that it believes are suitable replacements for Woodford as investment manager of the fund. Link has now held initial meetings with the shortlisted managers to confirm their suitability.

However, it is also considering transferring the fund’s assets into another UCITS fund in exchange for investors receiving shares in that fund through a scheme of arrangement.

Link says it expects to make a decision in the next 21 days – but hasn’t ruled out winding up the fund.

The letter to investors said: “However, if, we determine that neither of those options is in the best interests of investors then we will write to you at the earliest opportunity to explain why we reached that decision. In that scenario we expect that the likeliest outcome will be that we will make an application to the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) for approval to wind-up the fund through a process of an orderly realisation of the fund’s assets.”

Dealing in Woodford Income Focus was suspended last month after manager Neil Woodford served notice of his resignation and subsequently closed down Woodford Investment Management. The move was prompted by his sacking as manager of his flagship £3bn Woodford Equity Income Fund by Link.

Woodford Income Focus remains suspended and Link will write to investors on 10 December at the latest.

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