KCC losses from collapsed equity fund may be as high as £60million

Fears that county's pension pot losses could be double
Neil Woodford

The local authority could see losses of more than £60million when the Woodford Equity Fund is liquidated by administrators.

Link Fund Solutions, which took over the fund after Woodford ran into liquidity problems, is trying to sell off its assets.

They have told investors to expect returns of around 46p and 59p per share – depending on the type of shares they hold. Based on the fund’s value before its troubles, this means KCC would recoup less than 80 per cent of its money.

The £3billion fund run by renowned stock-picker Neil Woodford was closed last year, after KCC asked to remove its investment.

The authority’s request caused Mr Woodford to immediately suspend withdrawals from the fund to prevent a run from 300,000 other investors.

KCC was among the largest investor in the Woodford Fund, having ploughed more than a quarter of a billion of its pension money into it. The money belonged to its 135,000 pension fund members, including frontline staff such as police officers and firefighters.

The Council maintains that the investment represents just 4 per cent of its total £6.8billion investment fund and will have a minimal impact on members.

But KCC Green Party Cllr, Martin Whybrow, has said that the Council’s 23 per cent loss, was not ‘small change’.

He told Sky News: “We are looking at a loss from our pension fund of around £60m, 23 per cent of the overall investment.

“The party line from here is that it’s a small percentage of the total pot but mention that to average pension fund holder on the street they won’t see it as small change.

“A copious amount of salt has been rubbed into the wound by learning how much money he took out before this all hit, that certainly has to be looked at, there are questions about his conduct and the sector as a whole, there are lessons for Kent County Council and other local authorities, and for the sector as a whole.”

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