Woodford investors to receive third payment on 26 August as annual reports delayed again

James Baxter-Derrington
clock • 3 min read
Former manager of LF Equity Income Neil Woodford
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Former manager of LF Equity Income Neil Woodford

Link Fund Solutions has written to investors to confirm the amount and date of the third capital distribution to investors in the former Woodford Equity Income fund.

As of 19 August 2020, the fund has made available £183.2m for distribution to investors, comprised of the sale of a portfolio of assets to Acacia Research Corporation, along with additional amounts raised since the second capital distribution.

This brings the total amount distributed to investors since the winding up of the fund began to £2.45bn.

Investors will receive a letter on 24 August 2020, detailing the amount they are to receive as part of this third round of distribution, with the money to be paid "on or around" 26 August.

The letter also informed investors that there was to be further delay still to investors wishing to see the annual accounts, as Link pushed the deadline once more.

A letter on 29 July advised the annual accounts would be published no later than 31 August, but in this most recent update, the accounts are now "expected" to be published by 30 September 2020, although investors will have to wait for a further update in September to advise when the accounts will be published.

Karl Midl, managing director, said: "While the audit is progressing satisfactorily with all parties, we have been in regular discussions with Grant Thornton, the appointed auditor of the Fund, and due to the significant amount of work involved in finalising the financial statements and the detail of the post balance sheet events (including the Acacia transaction), it is now expected that the annual accounts will be published by 30 September 2020 at the latest."

With effect from 26 August, the fund's net asset value (NAV) will be calculated and published on the final business day of each month, meaning investors will see the first updated NAV on the day they receive payment and will have to wait until 30 September to see it again.

Investors have also been informed that further capital distributions "will be made" when "suitable" amounts of cash have been raised from the further sale of assets and further proceeds received from Acacia, but the exact timing and amount remains to be seen.

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said: "There is no sign of Link and the asset managers shifting the remaining illiquid assets in the fund. There is no mention of a timeline or any progress having been made on the sale of the assets, with Link just saying the sale 'may take some time'.

"This means the process will drag on for even longer for investors, who just want to get as much of their money back as possible and move on from the sorry saga.

"It is also frustrating that investors will have to wait even longer for the fund's report and accounts for the year ending March 2020, with Link delaying their publication again from the end of this month to the end of September.

"This is another blow to investors who have not had access to a proper report and financial statements for the fund since the interim report for the six months ending 30 June 2019, well over a year ago.

"When they finally arrive the accounts will provide a bit more clarity to investors on the sale process and costs involved, but will now be over six months out of date by the time they are published."

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