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Woodford administrator to shut down flagship equity income fund

Link Fund Solutions, the authorized administrator of Woodford Investment Management Ltd.'s suspended flagship £3.7 billion LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, decided not to reopen the fund and close it as soon as possible.

The administrator said the decision to shut down the fund by an orderly realization of its assets was in the best interest of all investors to protect them from an increased level of redemptions. Link said it expects to begin the process Jan. 17, 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

Link also noted that it was seeking to complete the repositioning of the fund's portfolio until early December, but sufficient progress on the matter had not been met. Other options, including extending the suspension of the income fund and merging it with another, were considered but these were ultimately deemed not viable, it added.

Link will continue to serve as the authorized administrator of the fund, while Neil Woodford will no longer be investment manager, effective immediately. The fund will also be renamed to LF Equity Income to reflect the change.

The administrator divided the fund's assets into two portfolios of listed and unlisted and highly illiquid listed assets. BlackRock Advisors (UK) Ltd. will serve as transition manager to prepare the listed assets portfolio for a wind up, while PJT Partners (UK) Ltd. was appointed as specialist broker to assist Link in selling the unlisted highly illiquid listed assets.

The first capital distribution paid to all investors is expected by the end of January 2020, Link added.

Meanwhile, Woodford said he did not believe the closure of his flagship fund was in the best interests of investors and did not accept the decision, Reuters reported.