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Woodford fund to remain closed

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Woodford Equity Income will remain closed until at least early December, the fund’s administrators have confirmed.

In a statement on the Woodford Investment Management website, Link Fund Solutions apologised once again for the fund’s continued suspension, but said it was “fully committed to getting the fund into a position that delivers the best possible outcomes for our investors”.

Investors in the fund have been unable to access their money since trading was suspended on 3 June.

Once revered manager Neil Woodford was forced to pull down the shutters after a stampede of investors requested their money back following a long period of underperformance.

In the latest update, the administrator also confirmed the fund has performed badly since the freeze.

It said: “During the latest 28-day period, which covers much of September, the fund has underperformed in relative and absolute terms.

“A primary reason for the underperformance was the downward revaluation of Benevolent AI, a UK-based healthcare company that uses artificial intelligence for drug development.

“On 17 September, the company announced that it had raised $90 million from Temasek, a Singapore-based investment company. The funding round valued the company at a lower level and this has subsequently impacted the overall net asset value (NAV) of the fund.”

The statement also said 84 per cent of the proceeds from share sales made to reposition the portfolio since the suspension have been reinvested in FTSE 100 companies.

According to the fund’s interim report to 30 June, these include new investments into Imperial Tobacco, BT and IAG.

Woodford IM also reiterated it will continue to charge a management fee “to cover the infrastructure and resource costs associated with running an actively managed fund”.

The fund group has faced backlash from investors for continuing to charge management fees during the suspension. It is reportedly taking in £100,000 a day.

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