Neil Woodford Limits Fund Disclosures While Withdrawals Remain Frozen
Neil Woodford curtailed what he tells investors about his holdings as he scrambles to sell stock from his beleaguered flagship fund.
Woodford will publish only the top 10 holdings of his three funds while redemptions from the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund are halted, the firm said in a statement on Monday. The move is an abrupt shift from a longstanding commitment to provide transparency about investments; the fund previously disclosed all holdings at the end of each month.
“We firmly believe this is in the best interests of investors,” according to the statement.
The challenge facing Woodford as he tries to restore confidence in his firm is underscored by the 86.4 million-pound ($110 million) decline in assets under management in his smaller LF Woodford Income Focus Fund. The drop to 407.9 million pounds in the week since May 31 is the result of client redemptions and stock performance.
To make matters worse, the board of the 1 billion-pound ($1.3 billion) publicly traded trust run by Woodford on Monday issued its first statement since he froze redemptions in his flagship fund, and stopped short of declaring its support for the investor.
The five-member board endorsed the bets he has made for the Woodford Patient Capital Trust. But regarding Woodford himself, Chairwoman Susan Searle said only that the board is “in regular dialogue with the portfolio manager.”
And Hargreaves Lansdown, a major supporter of Woodford, is considering whether to remove his Equity Income Fund from its own range of branded products, the latest move to distance itself from the embattled fund manager.
“It would be insincere to say that this is business as usual, and we will be taking this time to consider our position,” Emma Wall, head of investment analysis at Hargreaves Lansdown, said in an emailed statement. “Any decision made will be communicated first with the investors in the funds affected.”
Hargreaves Lansdown has over 500 million pounds ($634 million) invested in Woodford’s Equity Income Fund through its multi-manager portfolio, which operates like a fund of funds and invests on behalf of clients.
The Financial Times reported the disclosure limit earlier.
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