Neil Woodford investment fund to be suspended until December

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Neil Woodford was considered one of the UK's star investment managers. Photo: Woodford Fund

Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT.L)’s £3.7bn equity income fund will be suspended until early December, it has announced.

A statement confirming the controversial suspension will likely last until near the end of the year comes just after it was revealed the fund created by Neil Woodford is considering replacing him as fund manager.

“The best option in the interests of all investors is for the suspension of dealings to continue,” the statement from Link Fund Services read.

READ MORE: Neil Woodford’s fund could replace him as manager

Link wrote to investors on Monday saying: "We anticipate that the suspension of dealing is likely to last until early December while we implement the strategy to re-position the portfolio in order for the Fund to be re-opened at that time, and which is conditional upon achieving the target fund profile."

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said it gave investors “much-needed clarity” but was unlikely to end their concerns.

“The fact that Link and Woodford have given a timeframe suggests they have some confidence in the fund re-opening in December, but this will still mark six months of fund suspension that investors have had to navigate,” he said.

In a statement earlier on Monday, the board of the trust said that it was assessing “all options available to it” and that it intends to hold discussions with other investment managers.

Through a separate company known as Woodford Investment Management, Neil Woodford currently manages the funds owned by Woodford Patient Capital.

In a highly unusual move, Woodford, once one of the UK’s most admired money managers, suspended trading in the high-profile equity income fund in June.

The fund had been flooded with requests from investors to withdraw their money, even though a significant proportion of its assets could take months to sell.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust said that it remained “confident” in Woodford’s commitment and his “current day-to-day management of the portfolio”.

Additional reporting by Edmund Heaphy and Tom McArthur.