Investors in the collapsed Woodford Equity Income fund (WEIF) have engaged with legal representation in efforts to claim compensation for "heavy financial losses" accrued as a result of the fund's demise, with Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) among those in the firing line.
WEIF collapsed in October after it was determined that it was not in the best interest of investors to reopen the fund after its June gating, which ultimately led to the closure of Woodford Investment Management.
The fund is now being wound up but experts anticipate it could take years for investors to get their money back, with any return set to be considerably lower than capital invested.
WEIF's ACD Link Fund Solutions has said the first pay out to investors is anticipated at the end of January, with cash returned in proportion to the size of their investment.
Partner at law firm Nelsons Cathryn Selby explained that investors will get their money back in stages, "but it is without doubt that they will face heavy financial losses - forecasted at between 32.5% and 42.6% of their original investment".
She added: "The Financial Services Compensation Scheme can pay compensation for losses of up to £85,000 if a financial firm is unable to pay back money it owes. The scheme has said it is monitoring developments, however, is not expecting to be involved.
"This will come as very bad pre-Christmas news for the many investors who have already seen the value of their funds fall in value."
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In claiming compensation for the claims, disgruntled investors have targeted advisors who recommended the fund as well as investment platforms including HL.
HL has come under criticism for continuing to promote the fund to retail investors via its best buy list, despite ongoing underperformance.
In defence of the investment platform, co-founder Peter Hargreaves claimed that fund manager Neil Woodford had "not been truthful" with HL, which is estimated to have seen 300,000 of its clients invest with WEIF.
Selby, whose firm is representing clients in any future legal action against HL, said: "Questions are being asked of the platforms and financial advisers that recommended investment in the fund and whether they were acting in their customers' best interests by doing so.
"We are currently investigating various legal avenues for achieving compensation for those losses, including claims against Hargreaves Lansdown for its promotion of the fund."
She noted that HL's decision to promote the fund up until its suspension makes it "clear that many investors relied upon the representations made by the positive wording on the website, or in its magazine, when making investment decisions".
Selby also urged investors to seek legal advice "as it is likely you may have a claim for compensation".
HL declined to comment.
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