Over 500 investors contact law firm probing Hargreaves after Woodford saga

A law firm investigating a possible legal case against Hargreaves Lansdown in the wake of the closure of Neil Woodford’s flagship fund has received inquiries from more than 500 investors with millions of pounds locked up.

Leigh Day said the inquiries have flooded in over just two weeks since it announced it was looking at a possible claim against Hargreaves Lansdown on behalf of investors who have lost money following the collapse of Woodford Investment Management.

It comes as a second law firm, Slater & Gordon, also confirmed it was investigating whether there was any wrongdoing or conflict of interest on behalf of Hargreaves, which has been heavily criticised for keeping the Woodford fund on its “best buy” lists up until its suspension in June.

Bozena Michalowska-Howells, head of the consumer law team at Leigh Day, said: “Many of the investors who have contacted Leigh Day have together several million pounds locked in the suspended Woodford Funds.

“They are very angry that they may have been misled by Hargreaves Lansdown and that significant parts of their life savings and pensions have been lost.”

Hargreaves became engulfed in the saga involving the frozen Woodford fund.

It has apologised and waived fees for the near-300,000 Hargreaves investors who have around £1.6 billion in assets trapped in the Woodford Equity Income Fund.

Hargreaves has come under fire for its support of Mr Woodford in its best buy list and in-house funds, despite raising liquidity concerns with the fund manager as early as 2017.

Leigh Day is looking at a potential claim on behalf of investors in all three of the Woodford Funds, the flagship Equity Income fund, as well as the smaller Income Focus and Patient Capital funds.

Earlier this month, Link Fund Solutions announced it was planning to wind up the equity income fund and Woodford was forced to step down as manager.

Mr Woodford quit from managing his two other funds and announced he would be closing his business, Woodford Investment Management.

Slater & Gordon’s head of group litigation Gareth Pope added: “We’re concerned to establish if there was any actionable wrongdoing or conflict of interest by Hargreaves Lansdown in continuing to include Woodford funds on their Best Buy Lists if it had concerns as to their underlying investments.

“We’ll also be looking at the price achieved when buying and selling instruments, such as ordinary shares, on the Hargraves Lansdown platform and whether or not this represents Best Execution.”

Hargreaves Lansdown declined to comment.