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BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Shares in listed Woodford fund slump on firm's suspension woes

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By Simon Jessop and Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) – Shares in a listed fund run by high-profile British money manager Neil Woodford tumbled by more than 13% on Tuesday after investors were spooked by the previous day’s suspension of another of his funds.

The Woodford Patient Capital Trust was trading at 67.4 pence a share at 0806 GMT, on course for its biggest daily fall since launching in 2015, after investors were blocked from taking cash out of another of Woodford’s funds late Monday.

The suspended fund, LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, has shed assets amid weak performance and growing concern about the fund’s holdings in unlisted companies, which fuelled an increase in demand to leave the fund in recent weeks.

While Woodford had managed a fall in the Income Fund’s assets from a May 2017 high of 10.2 billion pounds to the current level of 3.7 billion pounds, a rush of redemptions on Friday and Monday prompted the suspension.

Among those putting in a request to exit was Kent County Council, a source familiar with the matter said, though its investment of 250 million pounds remained with the fund.

The suspension compounds a tough period for Woodford after a number of favoured investments have chalked up losses in recent months, most recently property company Kier, which issued a profit warning on Monday.

Britain’s financial markets regulator said it was in touch with Woodford over the issue of the suspended fund.

“The FCA is aware of this situation and in contact with the firms involved to ensure that actions undertaken are in the best interests of all the fund’s investors,” a spokeswoman said.

Others to be hit by the fallout of the suspension include fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown, which holds a stake in the Income Fund across some of its multi-manager portfolios. At 0913 GMT its shares were down 5.3%.

Late on Monday Hargreaves said it had removed the Income Fund from its Wealth 50 list of top fund picks.

Also hit were the shares of some of Woodford’s biggest holdings amid concern that he could be forced to sell out of some of his more liquid assets to create cash for when the fund is reopened.

“There’s a clear weakness across most of their major holdings,” one London-based stockbroker said on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting by Huw Jones and Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London; Editing by David Goodman)

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