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Woodford/Link group claim

Find out more information on the Woodford group claim and how you can join.

Group claim against Link in respect of the Woodford Equity Income Fund

Leigh Day is pursuing a claim on behalf of individuals who invested in the Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF). WEIF was suspended in June 2019, and its winding-up was announced in October 2019.

If you have suffered loss as a result of investing in WEIF, please complete the sign-up form to join the group claim.

Case against Link

Leigh Day’s investigations lead it to believe that Link allowed WEIF to hold excessive levels of illiquid or difficult-to-sell investments, and that this caused investors significant loss. In doing so, we consider Link breached the rules of the FCA Handbook and failed to properly carry out the management function of the Woodford Equity Income Fund.

The amount of loss will depend on the circumstances of your case and the legal arguments that we can advance on your behalf.

Join the claim

Fill in our form if you think you have been affected and a member of our team will help you investigate your potential claim

Endorsement from ShareSoc

ShareSoc (the UK Individual Shareholders Society) is an influential not-for-profit organisation that champions and empowers individual investors. ShareSoc has been following the Leigh Day investigation for many months and has made the decision to endorse the Leigh Day claim. Notably this is the first time that ShareSoc has endorsed a specific claim.

ShareSoc has also launched a Woodford Campaign, which you can join, to help investors seek compensation for their losses, facilitate communication between claimants and to help bring about changes in both regulations and enforcement that will improve standards and accountability.

The ShareSoc Woodford Campaign

ShareSoc Woodford Campaign is looking for Woodford investors to join its campaign. Members will receive updates from ShareSoc, and can participate in the Campaign Forum to exchange views with other investors.

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"Sharesoc has been following the development of five legal initiatives of which we are aware. We have elected to endorse the action proposed by Leigh Day, a leading litigation firm."

Cliff Weight, Director

Attend The Woodford Debacle - Reflections, Redress & Reform

9th March 2021, 6pm - 8.30pm

Mello Events and ShareSoc in partnership, present a free online event the Woodford Debacle – Reflections, Redress and Reform. ShareSoc has been following the Leigh Day investigation for many months and has made the decision to endorse the Leigh Day claim.

Costs

Leigh Day is accepting clients on a no-win-no-fee basis with each claimant’s contribution to the costs of the litigation being capped at no more than 30% (including VAT) of any compensation received.

After-the-event insurance

In court cases, the loser is often required to pay the winner’s costs. In large cases, the amount of a potential costs order can make it difficult for individuals to pursue well-resourced companies for compensation. After-the-event insurance (“ATE”) is a type of insurance policy that protects individual claimants against the risk of having to pay the defendant’s costs should their case be unsuccessful. Given the size of the claim against Link, court proceedings cannot be started without having in place such a policy to protect individual claimants.

Leigh Day has secured suitable ATE for its clients, and the costs of the policy are included in the contribution cap of 30% (including VAT) of any compensation received.

Leigh Day team

To progress these claims, Leigh Day has assembled a team including experts in financial analytics and senior and junior barristers from a leading set of chambers specialising in financial services litigation.

The team is led by Bozena Michalowska-Howells, Head of Consumer Law, and Kamran Vojdani, a solicitor whose areas of practice include competition law, civil fraud and financial services.

Claim eligibility

We are only able to bring claims on behalf of those who invested directly in WEIF and were affected by the fund’s suspension. In other words, investors in WEIF, who had money locked in the fund when it was suspended, will be able to instruct us to pursue a claim against Link for compensation. This includes those who used a platform to buy shares in the fund.

It does not matter which, if any, investment platform (e.g. Hargreaves Lansdown or Fidelity) you used to make the investment.

If you invested in a fund which in turn invested in WEIF (e.g. the HL Multi-Manager Income & Growth Fund), unfortunately, we are currently unable to assist you with a claim in respect of those shares. We are still investigating how we can assist these investors.

Who should complete the form?

To be able to progress your case, court documents require us to identify the owners of the shares that are the subject of the compensation. Therefore, the sign-up form should be completed by the person(s) who bought and holds the shares in WEIF. This will almost always be the holder of the account with the investment platform that was used to buy the shares. For example, if you bought your WEIF shares through Hargreaves Lansdown, it will be the person who holds that account. If you hold your platform account jointly with someone else, then it will be both of you who will need to bring the claim together, and both of you will need to consent to our terms and conditions.

If more than one family member each bought WEIF shares individually, each person will need to sign up individually.

If you act as a representative for someone else (e.g. because you hold the shares on trust for someone under 18, or under a power of attorney), then you will be able to bring the claim as the representative and the sign-up form will request the relevant information. After you have signed up, we will request the necessary supporting documents.

What will happen next?

To join the claim, you will need to complete a quick and straightforward sign-up form, which is comprised of two steps. First, you will be asked a few simple questions about how you made your investment in WEIF and provide contact details. Second, you will be presented with the opportunity to review a document that contains our client care letter and terms and conditions. The document is quite lengthy, and so we have set out a summary of the key points in the sign-up form.

After you have completed the sign-up form, you will receive an email to confirm you have instructed us to represent you in a claim against Link. You will then be a client of Leigh Day. If you change your mind, you can cancel within 14 days without charge. You may incur costs if you cancel outside of the 14 day period.

We will then collect from you the information we need to calculate the value of your claim. We will do this by sending you an online form to complete so that you can provide us with your data. You may not receive the form until a few days after completing the sign-up form.

Once you have signed up, you will receive regular updates on the progress of your case.

Contact the team

To make a claim, get in touch with our expert consumer lawyers today.

Join the claim

Fill in our form if you think you have been affected and a member of our team will help you investigate your potential claim

Questions about the case

What is the case about?

In this case, Leigh Day are representing a group of claimants who are seeking to obtain compensation from Link Fund Solutions Limited (“Link”) for losses they suffered as a result of investing in the Woodford Equity Income Fund (“WEIF”).

What is a group claim?

Where a large number of people have claims against the same defendant arising out of the same set of circumstances, the most cost effective way of bringing the claim is for the claimants to join forces and progress as a group under a Group Litigation Order (“GLO”). The GLO allows the claims to be heard together rather than on an individual basis making it far more efficient.

Will I have to give evidence in court?

Once proceedings have been issued in court on your behalf and you have joined the group register of claims, it is possible that you may be chosen as a test/lead claimant either by the claimant solicitors or the defendants and you may be required to give evidence in court. However, there are likely to be thousands of claimants and only a small selection would be chosen.

What did Link do?

WEIF’s authorised corporate director, Link, is responsible for the operation of the fund. The rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) require funds, such as WEIF, to follow investment restrictions that are designed to protect investors. Among other things, the FCA rules: (i) Provided that WEIF may invest in securities only to the extent that it did not compromise Link’s ability to redeem shares; and (ii) prevented WEIF from holding more than 10% of its portfolio in unlisted companies. These rules were designed to prevent the fund from investing in securities which would be difficult to sell and might therefore prevent investors from withdrawing their money from the fund. Our investigations lead us to believe that Link allowed WEIF to hold excessive levels of illiquid or difficult-to-sell investments, and that this caused investors significant loss.

We are therefore proposing to issue proceedings against Link for their failure to properly carry out the management function of the fund and in particular, for breaches of rules in the Collective Investment Schemes sourcebook of the FCA Handbook.

Are you also suing Neil Woodford?

Neil Woodford was a director of Woodford Investment Management Limited (“Woodford”), which performed the fund’s investment management function. Link delegated this responsibility to Woodford until 15 October 2019 when Woodford was relieved of this role. Because Link is the business responsible for the fund’s operation, we are currently bringing a claim against Link.

Are you suing anyone else other than Link?

The case we are presently bringing is against Link as the opinion of both Leigh Day and counsel, having considered the evidence, is that a case against Link has the best prospect of success and is the best chance of achieving compensation on your behalf.

Are you suing Hargreaves Lansdown?

We are currently investigating bringing a claim against Hargreaves Lansdown.

How long will the case take?

It is too early to be able to give an accurate prediction of the timescale to conclude this matter to a satisfactory outcome. This is because the length of time depends on the defendant’s approach. If Link seeks to settle the claim, then the case should conclude relatively quickly. If, however, it is necessary to progress the matter through trial, the case could take longer than two years.

Does the case include any of Woodford’s other funds (WPCT or WIFF)?

Not at this time. Our investigations have so far focused on WEIF as it was this fund that was affected by liquidity issues that caused the fund’s suspension and winding-up. If later it transpires that there are good grounds to bring claims on behalf of investors in the Woodford Patient Capital Trust or Woodford Income Focus Fund, we will communicate this.

Questions about WEIF's wind-up process

How is the wind-up of WEIF progressing?

Our current analysis on the progress of WEIF’s wind-up is detailed in the blogs listed below.

News

News Article
money, Still life of British currency on financial newspaper, close-up
Consumer law Banking and finance

Fourth capital distribution to investors in the Woodford Equity Income Fund

Leigh Day understands that, as part of the winding-up of the Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF), a capital distribution took place on 11 December 2020.

News Article
City Of London
Banking and finance Woodford claims

Leigh Day response to FCA consultation on consumer investments market

Leigh Day has written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide feedback on the FCA’s consultation about how to reduce harm in the consumer investment market.

News Article
City Of London
Woodford claims Consumer law

Insurers back Leigh Day’s group claim on behalf of Woodford Equity Income Fund investors

A group claim against Link Fund Solutions Limited for its mismanagement of the Woodford fund is now under way

Questions about claim eligibility

Who is eligible to bring a claim?

Investors in WEIF, who had money locked in the fund when it was suspended, will be able to instruct us to pursue a claim against Link for compensation. This includes those who used a platform to buy shares in the fund.

Are you only accepting clients who used Hargreaves Lansdown?

No. It does not matter which, if any, investment platform (e.g. Hargreaves Lansdown or Fidelity) you used to make the investment.

I bought my shares directly from Woodford. Can I still join the claim?

Yes. Using an investment platform does not make any difference to your being able to bring a claim.

I invested through a multi-manager fund. Can I still join the claim?

If you invested in a fund which in turn invested in WEIF (e.g. the HL Multi-Manager Income & Growth Fund), unfortunately, we are currently unable to assist you with a claim in respect of those shares. We are still investigating how we can assist these investors.

I used HL’s portfolio management service. Can I still join the claim?

Because HL’s portfolio management service invests in funds which in turn invested in WEIF (e.g. the HL Multi-Manager Income & Growth Fund), we are currently unable to assist you with a claim in respect of those shares. We are still investigating how we can assist these investors.

I exited WEIF before its suspension. Can I still join the claim?

The main claim we are advancing is for those whose WEIF shares were locked in WEIF when the fund was suspended. We are, therefore, not at this time accepting as clients those who exited WEIF prior to its suspension.

Join the claim

Fill in our form if you think you have been affected and a member of our team will help you investigate your potential claim

Questions about the amount of compensation

How much compensation can I get?

This will depend on the legal arguments that can be advanced on your behalf and what would have happened to your investments if Link had managed the fund in line with the rules. This includes the potential outcome of receiving a return on your original investment.

When you sign-up to the claim, we will ask questions to identify which arguments can be made on your behalf, and a few days later we will request the data we need to calculate your loss.

What data will you need to calculate my loss?

We will need data about your WEIF investments to calculate the value of your claim. This is because we need to work out what would have happened if Link had managed the fund in line with the rules. Some of the key information we will need is the date each trade was made; the number of units traded; and the price per unit.

A few days after you sign up, we will send you an online form you can use to provide us with your data. Using the online form to provide us with your data is the most straightforward method for us to collect your data. We will also ask you for permission to request, on your behalf, the data we need directly from your platform.

Can Link afford to pay me if I win?

Link is an important company in the UK arm of its parent’s fund solutions business. On 30 June 2019, Link operated 98 open-ended funds and 81 alternative investment funds, whose respective assets under management were £38,284 million and £34,426 million. Link appears to also be involved in the administration of other funds for which it is not the operator.

It is possible that by itself Link may not be able to afford to pay the damages of all the claimants. Should Link be unable to meet an award of damages against it, resulting in its being in default owing a civil liability, we will apply on our clients’ behalf to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for compensation.

Blogs

Blog Post
City Of London
Woodford claims Link

The Importance of Liquidity Management

Meriel Hodgson-Teall and Jonathan Garvey discuss the latest market updates on the Woodford Equity Income Fund.

Blog Post
Gettyimages 1216508346
Woodford claims Woodford Payback

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Lawyers for 5,000 investors give their response to the exclusive interview given by Neil Woodford in the Daily Telegraph

Questions about costs

How much will it cost me to instruct Leigh Day?

Leigh Day are accepting clients on a no-win-no-fee basis with each claimant’s contribution to the costs of the litigation being capped at no more than 30% (including VAT) of any compensation received.

Is the claim “no win, no fee”?

Yes. The claims are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (“CFA”), which is a type of ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. The CFA states the you are required to pay up to 30% of any compensation you receive if your claim is successful, and also states that if the claims are lost you do not pay us anything at all. For example, you might bring a claim for £150 but in the end you may only receive £100 from Link and so you would only pay a maximum of £30 towards the claim (i.e. 30% of £100). Please also refer to the FAQ entitled “Are there any situations where I would have to pay before the end of the claim?”.

Do I need to pay anything in advance?

No. You will only contribute towards the costs of the case if you win and receive some money, and then you will only contribute up to 30% of the money that you receive. For example, you might bring a claim for £150 but in the end you may only receive £100 from Link and so you would only pay a maximum of £30 towards the claim (i.e. 30% of £100).

Do I need to pay anything if I lose?

You are in principle liable for the defendant’s costs if you are unsuccessful. However, we have received terms for insurance to protect you from having to pay those costs should that event occur. The premium for the insurance will deducted from your compensation as part of the 30% fee if your claim is successful.

Are there any situations where I would have to pay before the claim ends?

If you decide to cancel the agreement after the end of the 14-day cancellation period, you may be required to pay for your share of the total costs at the date you choose to end the agreement. This is because we may have already begun working on your case. You will also be required to pay for your share of the total costs if we have to end our agreement with you because, for example, you misled us.

Are the costs of the insurance policy and funder included in the 30% cap?

Our success fee, the insurance premium and the funders’ fees, together with VAT, will never be more than 30% of your costs, irrespective of the number of claimants within the group.

Can I use my own legal expenses insurance?

An alternative source of funding may be cheaper for you than the funding package we are offering (e.g. legal expenses insurance as part of a home insurance policy). However, we are not offering to act through alternative sources of funding, and so if you wish to use it, you will need to instruct another firm.

What is after the event insurance?

After the event insurance (“ATE”) is to indemnify you in respect of the defendant’s costs in the event the claim is unsuccessful.

There may be unforeseen circumstances for which we have not been able to cater but we have done everything we can to minimise any risk exposure.

Should you provide false information, as a result of which it is necessary to discontinue proceedings, the ATE policy may not cover you in respect of the defendant’s costs.

You may also not be covered by the ATE policy if we issue proceedings on your behalf and you thereafter decide, against our advice, to discontinue your claim prior to the conclusion of the case.

You may also be liable for a fee for our legal costs,  if you terminate the retainer after the 14-day cancellation period or if we are obliged to terminate your retainer because you have not complied with the terms of the CFA or given false information.

It is therefore important that you are committed to pursuing the claim prior to entering into the conditional fee agreement.

Questions about who should sign up

Who should complete the form to sign up?

To be able to progress your case, court documents require us to identify the owners of the shares that are the subject of the compensation claim. Therefore, this form should be completed by the person(s) who bought and holds the shares in WEIF, or a fund of funds with holdings in WEIF. This will almost always be the holder of the account with the investment platform that was used to buy the shares. For example, if you bought your WEIF shares through HL, it will be the person who holds the HL account. If you hold your HL account jointly with someone else, then it will be both of you who will need to bring the claim the together.

Me and my partner hold the shares together through a joint account

If you and someone else hold the shares together through a joint account, then both of you will need to bring the claim the together. This means both of you will need to complete our sign-up form and consent to our terms and conditions.

If you hold some shares by yourself and some jointly with another person, you will need to complete the form twice (once for the shares you hold by yourself and once for those held jointly together with your co-claimant) so that we can correctly capture and present the different ownership structures of the shares.

I hold the shares on trust for my child through a junior account

If you the hold the shares on trust for your child (e.g. through a junior account), then you will be able to bring the claim as the representative of the child and the sign-up form will request the relevant information. After you have signed up, we will request the necessary supporting documents.

I am acting as a representative for the estate of a deceased relative

If you act as the representative for the estate of a deceased relative (e.g. under a Grant of Probate), then you will be able to bring the claim as the representative and the sign-up form will request the relevant information. After you have signed up, we will request the necessary supporting documents.

I am acting as a representative for someone else

If you act as the representative in a different capacity for someone else (e.g. under a power of attorney), then you will be able to bring the claim as the representative and the sign-up form will request the relevant information. After you have signed up, we will request the necessary supporting documents.

I have invested in the name of a company, how do I register a claim?

If you hold the shares in the name of a company, then the person bringing the claim will be the corporate entity.

Questions about bringing more than one claim

Can I instruct more than one law firm to sue Link?

No. If you have already formally instructed another firm by entering into a formal funding agreement with them, you cannot instruct an additional law firm in respect of the same matter.

In most cases, you are entitled to terminate your contract with a law firm, within 14 days of entering into that agreement, without penalty. In these circumstances, if you still wish to instruct Leigh Day, you will need to notify the other firm within the 14-day period to avoid any charges being applied.

Can I instruct you to sue Link and another law firm to sue a platform?

Our view is that this is not a good approach. Ultimately, you can only be compensated once for the same loss, which means that if your claim against Link is successful you would likely have to bring to an end your claim against the platform, or vice versa. In this regard, if you decide to terminate your contract with a law firm after 14 days, charges may apply. There may also be issues if it is necessary to approach your platform, for example, for data for a claim against Link while you are bringing a separate claim for an overlapping loss against that platform.

Can I instruct Leigh Day to sue Link and also use the Financial Ombudsman?

No. You can either use the FOS’ assistance to resolve your complaint against a company you consider responsible for your losses, or you can instruct a law firm to bring court action. If you have already started your case with the FOS, you can withdraw from that process and join the Leigh Day claim.

The FOS is a free service; however, there is currently no provision within its rules for bringing claims by way of a group, and therefore, you may consider that joining the Leigh Day action has some advantages over the FOS process.

Can I instruct Leigh Day to sue Link and use the FOS for a platform?

Ultimately, you can only be compensated once for the same loss, which means that if your FOS complaint against the platform is successful, and you decide to accept the outcome, you would likely have to bring to an end your claim against Link. This is because the compensation you receive from the platform is likely to be the same or substantially the same as the one you are seeking from Link. In this regard, if you decide to terminate your contract with a law firm after 14 days, charges may apply. There may also be issues if it is necessary to approach your platform, for example, for data for a claim against Link while you are engaged in a FOS process for an overlapping loss against that platform. In the circumstances, we will not be able to act on your behalf if you have an ongoing complaint in the FOS against a platform with respect to your WEIF shares. You may, however, choose to instruct us if the FOS process against your platform is unsuccessful, subject to your claim being within the limitation period to issue proceedings. You may also instruct us if you choose to withdraw from the FOS process.

Would the result of other law firms suing Link affect Leigh Day’s case?

In cases, such as the one against Link, where several law firms are proposing to bring the same/similar case, we consider that it is better if the law firms collaborate to present the strongest case possible in a united way.

If some law firms do not wish to collaborate, it is difficult to say how the outcome of one case could impact another as this may depend on how the different cases are argued.