Aberdeen Standard unit to manage smaller Woodford fund

LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Life Investments, part of Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) SLA.L, will replace Neil Woodford as manager of the LF Woodford Income Focus fund, administrator Link Fund Solutions said on Friday.

The 270 million pound ($351.73 million) fund was suspended after Woodford closed his firm following the collapse of his flagship 3 billion pound equity income fund in October.

ASI will take over management of the fund on Dec. 31 and Link said in a statement it expected to reopen the fund by February 2020, although its performance target may change.

“We will be reviewing with ASI whether the fund’s income yield target as stated in the prospectus remains achievable,” Link said.

Woodford faced criticism for his investments in unlisted stocks, although the income focus fund is only invested in listed firms.

He was also criticised for continuing to charge fees on the equity income fund while it was frozen.

Link said it would waive its fee as authorised corporate director until May 2020.

ASI said in a separate statement that it and custodian Northern Trust Global Services would also waive their fees until May 31.

“We recognise the issues that may have weighed on the minds of investors in the fund over the past months and we are

resolute in our determination to turn things around for them,” said Andrew Millington, head of UK equities at ASI.

The fund will be repositioned into liquid UK income stocks and its name will change to LF ASI Income Focus Fund.

The management of Woodford's only listed fund SUPP.L has shifted to Schroders SDR.L, while BlackRock BLK.N and PJT Partners PJT.N are selling the assets of the flagship fund.

Investors are due to get some of their money back in January.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Alexander Smith