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Second Woodford fund suspended

Written by: Emma Lunn
A second fund run by investment manager Neil Woodford has been frozen, the day after the stockpicker announced the closure of Woodford Investment Management.

Fund administrators Link Fund Solutions (LFS) suspended dealing in shares in the Woodford Income Focus Fund on Tuesday, saying it feared investors would rush to withdraw money from the fund.

Link director Karl Midl wrote to investors on Wednesday morning informing them of the move. Midl said all deals placed and accepted by LFS prior to the fund’s suspension would be settled in accordance with the fund’s prospectus.

The suspension came just hours after Woodford resigned as manager of the fund and announced he was pulling the plug on Woodford Investment Management.

A statement from Link Fund Solutions said: “After consideration of all relevant circumstances relating to the fund’s assets, LFS has come to the conclusion that it is in the best interests of all investors in the fund to suspend the issue, cancellation, sale and redemption of shares in the fund.

“The period of suspension is intended to protect investors from this anticipated increased level of redemptions in the fund.”

Link added that as a “forced seller” of its assets to meet redemptions, the values received by the fund for such assets might be adversely impacted and the fund might not receive full value from such sales.

Link fired Woodford from his flagship Equity Income Fund on Tuesday morning, and said the fund would be wound up. The move prompted Woodford to quit as manager of his two remaining funds and announce he was closing Woodford Investment Management.

Woodford’s Equity Income Fund had been suspended since June and Woodford had subsequently failed to raise sufficient funds for it to safely reopen in December as planned.

During the suspension of the Income Focus Fund, LFS will consider the options available to it including the appointment of an alternate investment manager, a scheme of arrangement into another fund, or a winding-up of the fund.

Link said that Woodford had committed to continue to work collaboratively with LFS in its capacity as the appointed investment manager of the fund while the administrator considered the options.

The suspension will be reviewed at least every 28 days but Link said it expects to write to investors with an update within the next 14 days.

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