Law firms join forces for Woodford group claim



Law firms Leigh Day and Harcus Parker have joined forces to submit a joint claim against Link Fund Solutions over its handling of the collapsed Woodford Equity Income Fund.

Both law firms had previously begun separate court proceedings against Link.

The law firms submitted an application for a Group Litigation Order against authorised corporate director Link to the High Court this morning (Wednesday).

They said the by joining forces they would be able to share resources and also save time for the High Court.

They claim that Link failed in its duty to manage the types of assets that were being held in the fun, and that Link should pay compensation to help investors locked into the fund when it was suspended in 2019 recoup their losses.

Leigh Day is encouraging clients who invested in the fund through Hargreaves Lansdown and other advice firms to join the group claim through a dedicated website.

Leigh Day and Harcus Parker represent over 1,000 clients and 1,500 clients who invested in the fund respectively.

Up to 300,000 investors are estimated to have been affected by the fund’s collapse.

The law firms expect to go to court in October.

They claim that Link breached the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules by failing to ensure the fund was managed in accordance with the Collective Investment Schemes sourcebook.

The alleged breaches include inappropriate levels of investment in illiquid, speculative or hard-to-value stocks; an appropriate investment strategy; issues with the valuations of the fund’s assets; and misleading statements in the prospectus.

They claim that if Link had not breached the rules, the fund would not have been suspended in June 2019 and their clients would not have been locked in and would have received higher returns.

Link denied that is breached any rules and denied any liability to the Woodford investors.

Meriel Hodgson-Teall, solicitor at Leigh Day, said: “Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have lost significant amounts of their life savings investing in this fund.  We contend this is a direct result of Link’s mismanagement.  Leigh Day is seeking redress for these investors, drawing on our strong track record of securing justice for individuals who have been wronged by large corporations. 

“Collaborating with Harcus Parker is the most effective and efficient way of securing justice and, by joining forces, we expect this will become the largest group claim on behalf of individual investors ever brought before the UK courts.”

The Woodford Equity Income Fund was initially suspended on 3 June 2019, with the suspension originally due to be lifted in December 2019.

At the time of its suspension the fund was valued at £3.5bn. This dropped to £2.9bn by January 2020 when capital began being repaid.

So far £2.5bn has been paid out, with investors still waiting for £140m to be returned.