Home   Kent   News   Article

Woodford Equity Income Fund manager apologises for locking fund that Kent County Council invested £263m into

The businessman who suspended trading in a fund in which Kent County Council had a £263m pension investment has issued a public apology.

Fund manager Neil Woodford said he was “extremely sorry” but the action had been necessary to protect remaining investors.

The leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter has played down the impact on Kent’s pension fund and the 110,000 scheme members.

Cllr Paul Carter (11793098)
Cllr Paul Carter (11793098)

He said:"We don't know what the extent of the fund will materialise over the next few months but let's wait and see; the scale of the problem in relation to the £2bn gain in the value of the fund over the last four and a half years is manageable and scaleable."

KCC sought to redeem its £263m investment on Monday but was blocked from doing so because of the decision to suspend trading the same day.

There has been speculation that KCC’s notification that it intended to withdraw the £263m triggered the 28-day suspension.

In an apology posted on You Tube, Mr Woodford who manages Woodford Equity Income Fund, said: "As difficult a decision as this is, and clearly frustrating for you, our investors, we felt this was necessary to protect your interests."

Due to the rising number of investors withdrawing funds, the stock market was "in a way anticipating the fact that we would have to be sellers of stocks to meet those redemptions."

Retirement saving and pension planning. (11793360)
Retirement saving and pension planning. (11793360)

The amount invested by KCC in the fund represented a relatively small amount of its pension fund - around 4% of the council’s total investments of £6.4bn.

In a statement, KCC said: “At this stage there is no loss to the pension fund, and whatever the outcome there will be no impact on the council’s cash reserves or service provision.”

The council said concerns over the performance of the fund were flagged up by its Superannuation Fund committee in March and a decision was made to reconsider the position at a meeting scheduled for June 21.

However, concerns about other investors withdrawing money led to it to bring forward a review and it was decided to withdraw its £263m.

Neil Woodford launched his company Woodford Investment Management thanks to his stellar reputation for getting returns for investors during his time at Invesco Perpetual.

Head to our politics page for expert analysis and all the latest news from your politicians and councils.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More