Revamped Woodford fund to re-open tomorrow


The new ASI Income Focus fund (previously Woodford Income Focus) reopens tomorrow with investors able to place trades from mid-day today. Read the announcement here.

Yesterday, the new managers updated investors on the approach they are taking with the fund and provided details of the new portfolio, so investors now have a decision to make as to whether to stick with the fund or transfer to an alternative. Read the update here.

“With trapped investors set to be able to deal again from today in the former Woodford Income Focus fund, many will have a decision to make to determine whether the revamped fund under the management of Thomas Moore and Charles Luke is appropriate for them" ", says Ryan Hughes, Head of Active Portfolios at AJ Bell.

"With investors now getting a first look at the revised top 10 holdings and sector positioning, it is clear that the fund has undergone a complete overhaul with none of the top 10 holdings under the previous manager appearing in the new top 10. At a sector level, exposure to financials has doubled while consumer goods stocks are a significant overweight versus the benchmark.

“The bad news for investors is that this overhaul has come at a cost with significant underperformance of the FTSE All Share during the transition, not least because of the costs of making the changes to the portfolio. Many will see this as a final kick in the teeth, having suffered from poor performance and then had to pay again for the privilege of exiting the stocks.

“Looking forwards, investors now need to judge whether to keep the revamped fund or move on. It’s therefore important for investors to understand how the new managers think and get a feel for the types of company that they will likely invest in, to then be able to judge what the likely performance profile of the fund will be. Those investors who originally invested in the fund for income need to be aware that the fund has changed its income target from ‘5p per share per annum’ to ‘a yield higher than the average yield of the FTSE All Share Index over a rolling 3yr period’. In reality, this means the income paid on the fund is likely to be lower going forwards than before.”

These articles are for information purposes only and are not a personal recommendation or advice.

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Written by:
Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes is Head of Active Portfolios at AJ Bell. He has 20 years of experience in finance and investments and started his career working as a financial adviser before becoming an investment analyst and discretionary fund manager as well as twice being named one of the most influential financial advisers in the UK. In 2006, Ryan joined Skandia Investment Management as a fund manager, sitting on both the investment committee and global asset allocation committee before then joining Apollo Multi Asset in 2013. In October 2016, Ryan joined AJ Bell to help establish the investment research capability.