Woodford investors face further 10-day wait to cash out

Investors in Neil Woodford’s flagship fund face an extra 10-day wait for their first payout as administrators try to help them cash out.

The LF Equity Income Fund, formerly the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, will be wound up from next Saturday.

But administrator Link Fund Solutions said its promise to start paying out to anxious investors from January 20 has been put back until January 30 due to requirements from regulators.

The delay will also allow investors to benefit from being exposed to the market for as long as possible before the fund’s assets are sold.

This means that, if the value of the assets goes up in that 10-day period, the increase will get passed on to investors.

Link said the delay will also allow it to liquidate some of the fund’s holdings at the lowest possible cost.

Mr Woodford, a former star of the City, was forced to stop investors withdrawing their money from his fund in June last year because cash was running out.

The investment manager, it emerged, had put too much faith in illiquid assets which are hard to sell. These could include shares in companies that are not publicly traded, so there is not a big market of willing buyers.

This meant that, when customers started demanding their money back, Mr Woodford ran out of the cash he needed to pay them.

In a bid to avoid selling the assets at knock-down prices, thereby damaging the remaining investors by reducing the value of the fund, he suspended withdrawals.

Mr Woodford has since stepped down from his role at the helm of the fund, and has handed over to Link, which is trying to sell off the assets and return as much cash as possible to investors.

Link said investors who used a fund platform to invest might have to wait until a few days after January 30 to get their first payment.

More than 300,000 customers are thought to be trapped in the fund.