Edition:
United States

Carolyn Cohn

RPT-Illiquid assets held by Woodford's UK fund pose hurdle to reopening

Jun 24 2019

(Repeats Sunday's story with no changes to the text) * Investors must be updated on suspension each 28 days * First deadline for market update falls on July 1 * A third of holdings could take over six months to sell * Regulator examining some holdings listed in Guernsey By Simon Jessop, Carolyn Cohn and Muvija M LONDON, June 23 Trading in Neil Woodford's 3.7 billion pound ($4.69 billion) Equity Income Fund may not be reopened swiftly after it was suspended on June 3 because of the illiquid assets it holds. The fund's authorised owner, Link Fund Solutions, must update investors on whether it intends to keep the fund closed to trading at least every 28 days. The first deadline is July 1. The main reason trading was suspended was to allow time for the fund to sell its stakes in unlisted and illiquid assets. This is also the main factor determining when it can reopen. Woodford had been trying to sell those stakes before the suspension. His plans included moving five holdings into his listed Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) in a March share swap. But redemptions outpaced that effort. Britain's markets regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said at the time of the suspension that a fifth of the fund's assets were in such illiquid assets. The illiquid assets include preference shares in four firms listed on the Guernsey stock exchange that have never traded. FCA data show how difficult it will be to reopen the fund quickly, indicating that just 8% of the holdings could be sold in a week. The rest are expected to take much longer to sell. The data showed selling 29% of the fund's holdings could take up to a month, about 30% would require six months and another third would need from six months to more than a year. "I doubt very much whether that fund will be unsuspended until much later this year, possibly not until next year," said Chris Bailey, analyst at Raymond James. Tracking Woodford's handling of the process has been made harder since he stopped publishing a list of holdings on the company website. A Woodford spokesman told Reuters on June 13 that the frozen fund had sold 100 million pounds in more liquid listed British stocks. He declined to offer an update when contacted on June 21. According to the 2018 annual report, the fund had stakes in 24 unlisted or Guernsey-listed companies, excluding those subsequently removed in the share swap. The companies equated to 18.26% of the portfolio with a value of 850 million pounds, based on assets under management at the end of 2018. The fund's investment include stakes in 14 unlisted healthcare or biotechnology companies. Below are detailed of stakes in unlisted companies held by the fund according to the annual report and updated where available: GUERNSEY-LISTED STAKE VALUE £ SHARE OF PORTFOLIO % NOTES COMPANIES mln BenevolentAI 194 4.15(4.47 end-April, 4.9 June 11) Listed in March 2019 IH Group 114.8 2.46(3.24 June 11) Ombu Group 45.2 0.96(0.8 June 11) Sabina Estates 85.3 1.83(2.25 June 11) Total 439.3 9.4 (11.19 June 11) UNLISTED COMPANIES STAKE VALUE £ mln SHARE OF PORTFOLIO % NOTES Oxford Nanopore 111.6 2.38 Share 2.57% at end-April Immunocore 44.7 0.96 Proton Partners 44.4 0.95 Listed on Nex in February 2019 Metalysis 1.6 0.03 Nexeon 8.5 0.18 Oxford Pharmascience 0.1 N/A Oxford Science Innovation 15 0.32 Propelair 0.25 0.01 Sphere Medical Holdings 0.04 N/A Amo Pharmaceuticals 16.7 0.36 Kymab 15.4 0.33 Novabiotics 1.9 0.04 Drayson Technologies N/A N/A 8.1 mln shares Brandon Point Enterprises 0.02 N/A Marlin 65.5 1.4 Mafic 23.4 0.5 Cequr 32.4 0.69 Evofem Biosciences 23.93 0.61 Viamet Pharmaceuticals 4.3 0.09 Bought by Novaquest Cap Mgt Origin 0.5 0.01 Total 410.24 8.86 Total Guernsey, unlisted 849.54 18.26 ($1 = 0.7895 pounds) (Additional reporting by Samantha Machado Editing by Edmund Blair)

Illiquid assets held by Woodford's UK fund pose hurdle to reopening

Jun 23 2019

LONDON Trading in Neil Woodford's 3.7 billion pound ($4.69 billion) Equity Income Fund may not be reopened swiftly after it was suspended on June 3 because of the illiquid assets it holds.

Nearly 300,000 Hargreaves Lansdown clients exposed to Woodford fund

Jun 19 2019

LONDON British investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown said nearly a quarter of its clients are exposed to Neil Woodford's suspended fund, piling further pressure on the company for heavily backing the fund since it was launched.

Britain's markets regulator investigates Woodford fund suspension

Jun 18 2019

LONDON Britain's markets watchdog said it had opened a formal investigation into the suspension of Neil Woodford's flagship equity income fund earlier this month and first had concerns more than a year ago.

Woodford under fresh fire as Fidelity curbs investment in second fund

Jun 18 2019

British money manager Neil Woodford faced further pressure on Tuesday after retail platform Fidelity International stopped its customers from making new investments in one of his smaller funds.

After Woodford fund suspension, focus turns to its stewards

Jun 17 2019

LONDON The suspension of Neil Woodford's flagship fund has put the focus on a little known firm tasked with ensuring his investors were being looked after properly.

Suspended Woodford fund has sold around £100 million of assets

Jun 14 2019

LONDON Neil Woodford has sold 97 million pounds of shares over the past 10 days to boost liquidity in his suspended equity income fund, a Woodford spokesman said on Thursday.

Suspended Woodford fund has sold around 100 mln pounds of assets

Jun 13 2019

LONDON, June 13 Neil Woodford has sold 97 million pounds ($123 million) of shares over the past 10 days to boost liquidity in his suspended equity income fund, a Woodford spokesman said on Thursday.

Woodford rejects calls to waive fees for suspended fund

Jun 11 2019

LONDON Neil Woodford's asset management firm said on Tuesday it won't waive fees for investors in its suspended flagship fund, rejecting calls from its regulator and lawmakers.

World News