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Woodford’s smallest fund remains suspended as new managers shortlisted

By Holly Williams, PA Deputy City Editor

Investors will remain locked out of Neil Woodford’s smallest fund, but the administrator has confirmed meetings with potential new managers as it considers replacing the under-fire stockpicker.

Link Fund Solutions said the £258 million Woodford Income Focus fund – the smallest of the three Woodford funds – would remain suspended under the “exceptional circumstances”.

It said it has held initial meetings with a shortlist of managers as it explores two options – to appoint a new manager or transfer investors into another of their funds.

It will report back to investors in the next 21 days.

But it reiterated warnings that it could still wind down the fund if neither of these options are in the best interest of investors.

The Income Focus fund is the smallest of Mr Woodford’s three vehicles, which also include Patient Capital Trust, worth £799 million, and Equity Income, which held nearly £3 billion in assets.

The Income Focus fund was suspended on October 15 after Mr Woodford said he would resign as manager and close down his investment management business, having been sacked from his frozen flagship Equity Income fund.

Link announced last month it was planning to wind up the Equity Income fund, which had been suspended since June after too many investors tried to take their money out.

In its update on the Income Focus fund, Link revealed it has seen returns fall 0.3% since it was suspended.

Link said: “As the exceptional circumstances that led to the fund’s suspension continue to prevail, we have… concluded that it remains in the best interests of all investors in the fund to continue the suspension of the issue, cancellation, sale and redemption of shares.”

It added: “In the meantime, Woodford continues to work collaboratively with us in its capacity as the investment manager of the fund, which continues to be managed in accordance with its investment objective and strategy as set out in the fund’s prospectus.”