Woodford investors get £20m from administrator but further payouts likely to be hit by downturn

Investors in Neil Woodford’s collapsed investment fund will receive another £20 million from its administrator but further payouts are likely to be hit by a downturn in market conditions.

After this fifth capital distribution, a total of £2.56 billion will have been distributed to investors since the start of the winding up of the fund, Link Fund Solutions said.

Rising interest rates and slowing economic growth have affected the value of companies originally backed by the fund. “Investors are reminded that the assets that remain to be sold are the less liquid assets and it is expected that some of these may not be sold before mid-2023,” the administrator’s letter said.

A large proportion of the recent writedowns in the fund come from Benevolent AI, a drug discovery company that listed in Amsterdam this year. Its shares fell from €8 to €3.91 after progress on new treatments proved disappointing and this cut the value of the fund’s stake by £31.2 million.

Woodford had been a star stock-picker but the collapse of his fund in 2019 left thousands of small investors out of pocket. The administrator, Link, must respond this week to a draft warning notice from the Financial Conduct Authority over its “failings in managing the liquidity” of the Woodford fund, a view with which Link disagrees.