Angry Woodford investors take 107 complaints to ombudsman

Angry investors still trapped in the Woodford Equity Income fund one year on from its suspension have brought 107 complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

In complaints data published this morning covering the financial year to the end of March, the FOS said it had received complaints against Woodford Investment Management, financial advisers who recommended the fund and investment platforms.

‘We received complaints against the fund itself, as well as complaints against investment platforms and financial advisers relating to portfolios including the fund and advice to invest in it,’ the FOS said.

‘These included disputes over whether people had been wrongly encouraged to invest in the fund, having had the ongoing situation misrepresented to them.’

Dealing in Woodford Equity Income was suspended one year ago today, after fund manager Neil Woodford was unable to sell investments quickly enough to fund investors withdrawals. Kent County Council had attempted to redeem its £250m investment in the fund.

Investors had been fleeing the fund as Woodford’s performance had deteriorated, losing 29% in the two years before the fund was suspended. Since then, the fund has lost a further quarter of its value, as stocks held by the fund slumped in the months following its suspension.

Fund administrator Link Fund Solutions has distributed payments of £2.3bn from the fund, which stood at £3.7bn when it was suspended, and the remaining assets held are valued at £558m, according to Morningstar.

Customers of Hargreaves Lansdown owned £1.6bn of the fund at the time of its suspension, either directly or through the investment platform’s multi-manager fund.

The UK’s largest investment platform has come under fire for its promotion of the fund, which it included on its Wealth 50 fund buy list up until its suspension last year.

Two more law firms are on preparing a class action against Hargreaves Lansdown on behalf of customers who lost money in Woodford’s fund.

Litigation firm RGL Management has partnered with commercial law firm Wallace on the legal action. Wallace partner Alexander Weinberg said that by 11 May the firms had received more than 500 applications to join the claim, with the number having since grown ‘significantly’.

In February, law firms Leigh Day and Slater and Gordon said they had been contacted by around 3,700 Hargreaves Lansdown customers as they examine a claim against Hargreaves. A further firm, East Midlands-based Nelsons, is also considering legal action

Angry Woodford investors take 107 complaints to ombudsman

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