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Lawyers approached by Woodford investors in potential Hargreaves Lansdown legal claim

​Law firm Leigh Day has announced that it is currently investigating a potential legal claim against the investing platform Hargreaves Lansdown on behalf of investors who have lost money following the collapse of Woodford Investment Management.

Neil Woodford (credit: Jenny Goodall/​Associated Newspapers/​Shutterstock)

18 October 2019

The law firm is currently investigating what Hargreaves Lansdown knew about the health of the fund whilst it continued to support it in its Top 50 list of funds through the platform, which is marketed to non-institutional investors.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Kam Vojdani, a solicitor in the consumer law team at Leigh Day, confirmed that the firm is  investigating potential action on whether Hargreaves Lansdown should have removed the fund, created by Britain’s best-known stock picker Neil Woodford, from its Wealth 50 list earlier than it did.

According to the Financial Times Hargreaves Lansdown revealed in June this year it had been locked in talks with Mr Woodford over the poor liquidity of his funds since 2017.

Despite these talks Hargreaves had admitted Woodford Equity Income to its Wealth 50 list in January 2019, marketed by the company as “what we believe to be the best funds across all the major sectors for new investment”.

Boz Michalowska, head of the consumer law team at Leigh Day who is leading the potential claims said that the firm had already been contacted by potential clients keen to pursue legal action against the trading platform.

Ms Michalowska said: “We have been approached by a number of individuals who are keen for us to investigate whether Hargreaves Lansdown and Woodford became too closely interlinked. We will be looking into whether Hargreaves Lansdown misrepresented the health of the Woodford Equity Income Fund resulting in potentially significant losses for their clients.” 
 
Andrew Russell, a 62-year-old Hargreaves customer told the Financial Times:

“It’s left a bitter taste in the mouth, particularly when you read about Neil Woodford in his second homes and Mark Dampier [research director at Hargreaves] and his wife selling Hargreaves Lansdown shares weeks before the Woodford fund was suspended,” he said.

“Someone must have known this was about to happen and it’s people who’ve been saving all their lives and doing the right thing who are ending up picking up the bill.”

Hargreaves Lansdown said in a statement: 

“As with all HL plc share sales made by directors, trades were approved ahead of the transaction and there is a clear public record. The timing of these share sales and the gating of WEIF was entirely coincidental.”

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