January 28, 2020 / 11:21 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Woodford's frozen fund investors to get first payout this week

(Adds detail, investment platform comment)

By Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Investors in British money manager Neil Woodford’s frozen multi-billion pound equity income fund will get their first cash payout this week, its administrator said on Tuesday.

Woodford’s fund shut in October following a four-month lock-up, sparking an outcry from investors and an investigation by Britain’s markets watchdog.

Investors will have lost more than 20% in value since the June suspension. Many will have lost more than this overall as the freeze followed a period of poor performance by the fund.

Morningstar data shows the fund, which was criticised for its exposure to hard-to-trade unlisted stocks, totalled 2.9 billion pounds ($3.81 billion) at the time of its wind-up valuation this month.

Investors will get their first payment on or around Jan 30, at a rate of between around 46.5 and 59 pence per share, depending on the share class, authorised corporate director Link Fund Solutions said in a letter to them.

Link said it would write a further letter explaining how the initial distribution has been calculated.

Investment platform AJ Bell said the payment represented just over 70% of the current fund value, while Willis Owen said it represented around 75%.

Link appointed BlackRock and PJT Park Hill to sell the fund’s assets and said this month that BlackRock had realised 1.9 billion pounds so far, representing 63% of the fund’s value. PJT is seeking to sell the more illiquid assets.

“Selling the liquid holdings was the easy bit ... investors still remain in the dark as to how long they will have to wait for the remainder of their money, and importantly, how much they are actually likely to get back,” Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell said. ($1 = 0.7608 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Simon Jessop, Jason Neely and Alexander Smith)

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