Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) is delighted to have been appointed by Link Fund Solutions Limited as Investment Manager of the LF Woodford Income Focus Fund. Subject to regulatory approval the Fund will be renamed LF ASI Income Focus Fund.

The £267.6 million Fund will be managed by Charles Luke and Thomas Moore, who are two highly experienced UK Equity Income fund managers. Charles and Thomas will be supported by the 16-strong UK equity team which is led by Andrew Millington.

ASI’s priority is to reposition the portfolio as efficiently and effectively as possible for the existing shareholders. The aim is to re-open the Fund no later than February. ASI, LFS and Northern Trust Global Services SE (Depositary, administrator and custodian for the Fund) have all agreed to waive their fees until 31 May 2020. The Fund will be open on the same terms to new shareholders also looking for exposure to a UK equity income portfolio.

Investment approach

The LF ASI Income Focus Fund will be a high conviction portfolio of around 30 liquid UK equity holdings, drawing on the best income ideas from ASI’s 16-strong UK equity research team. As active equity investors, the team believes company fundamentals ultimately drive share prices but are often valued inefficiently in the shorter term. We believe that fundamental research is the key to delivering insights that allow us to exploit these inefficiencies and identify the best investment opportunities for client portfolios. The team maintains full coverage of the FTSE 350 and conducts over 750 company meetings annually.

Constructive engagement with the companies we invest in on Environmental Social and Governance considerations is at the heart of our investment process. We believe this approach can mitigate risks and enhance returns for our clients, as companies with robust ESG practices will have more sustainable business models and tend to enjoy long-term financial benefits.

Investment Governance Oversight

Risk management is an integral part of ASI’s equity management process, and portfolios are formally reviewed on a regular basis as part of a rigorous and well established management and peer review process within the investment teams. Over and above that, ASI’s stand-alone Investment Governance and Oversight Team (IGO) provides and scrutinises detailed portfolio specific risk analytics, as well as performing liquidity analysis, on all portfolios. Operational and investment risk monitoring is undertaken independently within our Risk Division. This cumulative and coherent framework brings a clear focus on ensuring client objectives are met, and will be applied in full to the LF ASI Income Focus Fund from outset.

Kristy Barr, UK Distribution Director at Aberdeen Standard Investments, comments:

“As the UK’s largest active asset manager we have a very strong focus on our UK equity franchise and this income strategy is a fantastic enhancement to our offering. The excellent long-term track records of Thomas and Charles as well as the robustness of our research and risk processes gives us the confidence that we can deliver the expected investment outcome for the existing shareholders as well as others looking for long-term income and capital growth.”

Andrew Millington, Head of UK Equities at Aberdeen Standard Investments, comments:

“The team and I are honoured to have been given the opportunity to act as Investment Manager of the LF ASI Income Focus Fund. We recognise the issues that may have weighed on the minds of investors in the Fund over the past months and we are resolute in our determination to turn things around for them. We will reposition the Fund into a focused portfolio of our favoured, liquid UK equity income names aiming to generate sustainable long-term income growth for its investors. The scale of our UK equity business means we will manage turnover of stocks to minimise costs and set the Fund on the right track for 2020 and beyond.”

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