Trading in second Woodford fund suspended: administrator

LONDON (Reuters) - A second Woodford fund was suspended from trading on Wednesday after embattled investor Neil Woodford resigned as its manager.

FILE PHOTO: British fund manager Neil Woodford is seen in this undated handout image released July 18, 2019. Jonathan Atkins/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Link Fund Solutions, administrator of the 258 million pound ($330 million) LF Woodford Income Focus Fund, said it had been forced to act as it expected Woodford’s departure to trigger a rush for the exits.

“We expect that the redemptions in the Fund will reach a level whereby it may no longer be able to continue to meet redemption requests without prejudicing the interests of both remaining and redeeming investors,” Link said in a letter to investors.

Neil Woodford, one of Britain's most high-profile fund managers, called it quits on Tuesday, announcing he was shutting his investment firm after Link sacked him as manager of his flagship 3 billion pound LF Woodford Equity Income Fund. He also resigned from the two other funds he managed: LF Woodford Income Focus Fund and Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) WCPT.L.

The equity income fund, which comprised more than 10 billion pounds at its peak, was frozen in June after a surge in requests from investors to pull out their cash. Hundreds of thousands of retail savers had money trapped in the fund.

The suspension of trading in the Income Focus Fund, which came into effect on Tuesday, will continue until further notice and be reviewed at least every 28 days, Link said in the letter to investors dated Oct. 16.

“During the Fund’s suspension, we will consider the options available to us including the appointment of an alternate investment manager, a scheme of arrangement into another fund or a winding-up of the Fund, and decide on the course of action that is in the best interests of all investors,” Link said.

Shares in WPCT, Woodford’s only listed fund, tumbled more than 10% at the open on Wednesday, hitting a fresh record low of 30.36 pence before recovering slightly to trade down 6.7% at 0923 GMT.

The board of the trust said late on Tuesday it was in “advanced discussions” in relation to the ongoing management of WPCT’s portfolio and expected to announce details of new management arrangements shortly.

“During its three-month notice period, Woodford Investment Management has committed to work collaboratively with the board and its advisers throughout this transition period in order to protect the interests of shareholders,” it said in a statement.

Editing by Susan Fenton