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Investors see first payout from failed Woodford fund

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

Investors in the troubled fund formerly run by Neil Woodford have been told how much they will receive when it makes its first payout since being suspended in June.

The scandal-hit fund will return between 46p and 59p to investors per share they own. The payout will depend on what kind of shares the investor bought.

The Woodford Equity Income Fund was split into different share classes, some of which had a minimum investment threshold of £150,000.

Link Fund Solutions, which has sold off assets to return cash to investors, said the first payment will hit bank accounts on Thursday.

However, the fund still needs to sell off the remaining 30% of the fund’s assets, a task which is likely to be much harder than selling the more liquid 70%.

Liquid assets, which include shares in publicly traded companies, are easier to sell off quickly without losing money.

Now it falls to investment bank Park Hill to find buyers for shares in companies that are not sold on a stock exchange.

“Selling the liquid holdings was the easy bit,” said Ryan Hughes, the head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, a stockbroker.

“For Park Hill, it is a hugely challenging task to sell the illiquid holdings in a timely fashion and investors still remain in the dark as to how long they will have to wait for the remainder of their money, and importantly, how much they are actually likely to get back.”

However, the payout will still be the first that investors see of their cash, and thousands of investors are likely to take some relief when they check their bank accounts.

Link said that some customers, who had used a fund platform to make their investment, might have to wait a few days after Thursday to get their payment.

Karl Midl, the managing director of Link, said: “LFS [Link Fund Solutions] will write to you, under separate cover, with an explanation of how this first capital distribution has been calculated and to provide an update in relation to other matters concerning the winding up of the fund.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell reiterated his call for a fully independent inquiry, including the role of the regulator.

“Many small investors who were simply seeking a secure investment for their pension have been hurt by the failure of Woodford,” he said.