Kent County Council pension fund has asked Neil Woodford to hand back its £263m investment mandate in response to the £560m fall in his flagship fund in May.

The institutional investor said it had not been informed by Mr Woodford, with whom it has entrusted its capital since 2007, that his investment business was blocking withdrawals from the Equity Income fund before it was announced yesterday afternoon.

“KCC is disappointed that, as a major investor in the fund, we did not receive this prior notification,” the pension fund said.

The FT revealed last week the extent of outflows and underperformance of the fund throughout May, with investors pulling £10m every business day.

Kent said it would be seeking a managed redemption in order to maximise benefits for the pension fund. It said the Woodford mandate represented 4 per cent of its overall portfolio.

Woodford Investment Management took the controversial move of erecting a redemption gate on its Equity Income fund yesterday in order to quell outflows as it deals with the high level of illiquid holdings in the portfolio.

But analysts expect more redemptions requests will follow once the trading suspension is lifted.

Kent initially invested £200m with Woodford in 2014, with a further £60m commitment in 2016. It had previously invested in Mr Woodford’s Invesco fund.


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