(Bloomberg) -- Neil Woodford’s fund administrator faces an additional £50 million ($57 million) fine in relation to the collapse of the disgraced star manager’s equity fund.
The UK’s financial watchdog issued a draft notice to Link Fund Solutions Ltd. on Sep. 20 warning of the penalty, according to statements from Link Group and the Financial Conduct Authority on Wednesday. It comes days after the FCA said Link could face a redress payment of up to £306 million.
“There are multiple parties under investigation in relation to the circumstances that led to the suspension of the LF Woodford Equity Income fund,” the FCA said in its statement. “These investigations continue and they will consider any further failings which may have negatively impacted investors.”
The revelation of how much Link could be fined for one of the UK’s most dramatic ever fund collapses was made as Link Administration Holdings is in takeover talks with Toronto-based Dye & Durham Ltd. The FCA said last week its approval of the acquisition of Link is “subject to a condition to commit to make funds available to meet any shortfall” within the fund administrator to cover potential payments.
Woodford Administrator Faces Possible £306 Million Hit, UK Says
Link Fund Solutions was the fund administrator on the LF Woodford Equity Income fund, which started to be liquidated nearly three years ago. Woodford froze the vehicle in mid-2019 because he couldn’t meet clients’ withdrawal requests, trapping £3.7 billion of investor funds.
“Link Group has not made any commitment to fund or financially support LFSL,” it said in the statement. “Link Group considers that any liabilities relating to the Woodford matters will be confined to LFSL.”
The FCA said the notice wasn’t a final decision, but signaled the beginning of the regulator’s settlement decision procedure. Link now has 14 days to respond to the notice. Shares in Link fell 3.8% in Sydney trading on Wednesday.
Canadian software firm Dye & Durham sought to recut its takeover deal of Australia’s Link Administration in light of the liabilities. Link rejected the proposed changes.
“This has gone from bad to worse for Link,” Dye & Durham Chief Executive Officer Matthew Proud told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “We continue to believe that a solution with Dye & Durham is the best way to create the most value here and potentially deal with this liability for all parties involved in a fair way,” he said.
(Updates with a statement from the FCA in the third paragraph, stock price move in the sixth paragraph)
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