Woodford Income Focus Fund set to reopen in two weeks

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
British fund manager Neil Woodford in this undated handout image released on July 18, 2019. Photo: Jonathan Atkins/Reuters

One of scandal-hit money manager Neil Woodford’s frozen funds is set to re-open in two weeks, administrators said on Friday.

Link Fund Solutions wrote to investors to tell them the Woodford Income Focus Fund will be reopened for withdrawals on 13 February. The £250m ($328m) fund has been frozen since October.

The Woodford Income Focus Fund was gated after Woodford resigned his role in charge of the fund, amid the collapse of his business. Standard Life Aberdeen took charge of the fund in December and it is due to be renamed “ASI Income Focus Fund”.

READ MORE: Standard Life Aberdeen to take over frozen Neil Woodford fund

“Investors will now need to consider whether they are happy with the new management of Aberdeen Standard Investments who have said they will operate a more concentrated investment portfolio and a different yield target,” said Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at stockbroker AJ Bell.

“This means the fund reopens with a totally different portfolio to when it suspended.”

The un-gating of the Income Focus Fund comes as administrators continue to try and pick through the wreckage of Neil Woodford’s investment business and salvage what they can.

Woodford was one of Britain’s most successful money managers and set up a firm under his own name in 2014. However, Woodford was forced to suspend withdrawals from his flagship fund last June amid issues with liquidity. The suspension sparked a four-month crisis that led to the collapse of his investment business.

The City watchdog is investigating the scandal and Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a full independent inquiry.

Earlier this week Link said it would make the first repayments from Woodford’s flagship Equity Income Fund, which is being wound up. Investors face steep losses from the fund.

READ MORE: Woodford investors face £10m bill for closure of fund