Woodfund Fund Under Review by Kent County Council

£250 million stake in Bronze-rated Woodford Equity Income fund under review by Kent council's pension fund.

Holly Black 13 May, 2019 | 5:40PM
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Neil Woodford

Kent County Council has put its £250 million stake in Bronze-rated Woodford Equity Income under review, the latest threat to the under-fire fund manager after a run of poor performance and negative headlines.

More than 4% of the council’s pension fund is held in Woodford’s flagship fund. The council has concerns over the transfer of assets between the fund and closed-end fund Patient Capital (WPCT), as well as “adverse publicity” associated with the veteran fund manager. Kent County Council is retaining its position in the fund for the time being but will make a decision after a meeting scheduled for the end of June.

It's the latest blow to the veteran investor, whose flagship fund has come under fire in recent weeks for its high exposure to unquoted stocks. Earlier this month the fund manager vowed to reduce the proportion of the fund invested in unlisted companies to below 10% by the end of the year and eventually to zero.

Frustrated investors have pulled billions out of the fund in recent months amid concerns about poor performance. Assets under management have more than halved from a peak of £10.2 billion to around £4.3 billion. Morningstar analysts downgraded their rating on the fund from Silver to Bronze in June 2018. 

Kent County Council started investing its pension fund when Woodford was at Invesco and transferred its holding when the fund manager left to set up his own investment house in 2014. The Woodford equity income is the worst performing of the funds held by the council in the 12 months to the end of March 2019.

Woodford Investment Management did not comment.

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About Author

Holly Black  is Senior Editor, Morningstar.co.uk