By Simon Jessop and Muvija M
LONDON (Reuters) – Investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown said nearly 300,000 clients were directly or indirectly exposed to Neil Woodford’s suspended flagship equity income fund.
In a letter to the UK’s treasury committee, Chief Executive Chris Hill said 133,769 clients had a direct holding in the suspended 3.7 billion pounds LF Woodford Equity Income Fund worth 1.1 billion pounds.
Adding in those with an indirect exposure through Hargreaves’ various fund-of-fund products put the total number at 291,520 clients with a collective exposure of 1.6 billion pounds.
Shares in Hargreaves were down 1% at 1024 GMT, lagging a 0.3% fall in the wider FTSE 100.
Hill was responding to questions raised by the chair of the committee, Nicky Morgan, about Hargreaves’ connections to the suspended fund and comes a day after Britain’s markets regulator opened a formal investigation.
At the heart of the probe by the Financial Conduct Authority are the circumstances surrounding the suspension of the fund on June 3, and the handling of its stakes in a number of private companies.
The FCA said on Tuesday that it had been in contact with the authorised manager of the fund, Link Fund Solutions, in early 2018 after it twice breached rules around its stake in unlisted companies – something Hill said Hargreaves was unaware of.
(Editing by Louise Heavens and Deepa Babington)