Furious savers blast investment fund chief Neil Woodford amid fears his flagship fund will remain locked for MONTHS
- Woodford banned investors from withdrawing cash from his Equity Income fund
- This was because it did not have enough ready cash to pay departing customers
- Despite this, Mr Woodford, 59, is raking in almost £100,000 every working day
Furious savers have blasted money manager Neil Woodford amid fears his flagship fund will remain locked for months.
Mr Woodford banned investors from withdrawing cash from his Equity Income fund nearly four weeks ago.
This was because it did not have enough ready cash to pay departing customers. Despite this, Mr Woodford, 59, is raking in almost £100,000 every working day in fees for looking after the fund – which was worth £3.7billion when it shut – and has now earned about £1.8million.
He is currently selling assets to free up cash and pay anyone who wants their savings back. Equity Income’s corporate director Link Fund Solutions is required to give an update on Monday about whether the fund is ready to reopen. But sources say the process could take months longer.
Mr Woodford, 59 is raking in almost £100,000 every working day in fees for looking after the fund
Investors Anne and David Woolgar, from Surrey, have been forced to scrap a holiday to Madeira and scale back plans for a housing renovation after they were unable to withdraw their money. Mrs Woolgar, 69, a retired pre-school teacher, said: ‘It is hanging over me like a black cloud. All our worst fears are coming true and it is a constant worry for us. We are totally in the dark over when we will get our money back.’
The once-feted Mr Woodford has faced calls to stop taking fees from Nicky Morgan, Tory chairman of the Commons Treasury committee, and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown.
The latter has promoted Equity Income and has stopped charging any fees of its own to its 133,769 customers who bought into the fund.
And Andrew Bailey, of the Financial Conduct Authority watchdog, has said: ‘There are good arguments for waiving fees during a suspension as a gesture of support to investors.’ Dennis Deane, 71, and his 73-year-old wife Janet chose the fund to invest £40,000 in because they wanted a ‘safe and steady’ option.
Anne and David Woolgar. They have money trapped in the Woodford suspended fund and now have to scrap plans for holiday and sell their second car
But now they have had to cancel their annual October break because the money is beyond reach.
Mr Deane said: ‘Neil Woodford needs to reimburse every investor with any money they’ve lost in the time it has been closed – as well as any fees we’ve paid.’
The retired technology officer, from Lamberhurst, Kent, may have to resort to equity release if they cannot access the cash, he said, meaning they would borrow money against the value of their home.
Another investor, a 71-year-old retired engineer suffering from cancer, said his entire £28,000 nest egg is with the fund and he is having to get by on the state pension of £129.20 a week.
The pensioner, from Cardiff, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘If the fund remains locked, I suppose I will have to think about taking a loan out or building up debt on my credit card.’
A spokesman for the stock picker’s company Woodford Investment Management said: ‘The company will continue to receive a fee, as they focus on repositioning the portfolio, to cover the infrastructure and resource costs associated with managing an actively managed fund.’
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