Topical Issues

Legal & General proposed transfer of their Savings, Life and Pensions policies to ReAssure Ltd.

Legal & General are proposing to transfer its traditional insurance-based savings, pensions, life and with profits business to ReAssure Limited.

They say they have chosen ReAssure for the following reasons ” After a considered process, Legal & General has chosen ReAssure to take this business forward as ReAssure’s core business is acquiring and administering closed portfolios of insurance business. ReAssure is therefore experienced in managing this type of business and well-suited to take over from Legal & General. ReAssure has over 2.2 million customers and looks after investments of over £39 billion on behalf of its customers. ReAssure employs over 2,000 staff in locations across the UK. You can find out more about ReAssure and its history by visiting reassure.co.uk/about-us .

Policyholders funds will continue to be managed by the Legal & General investment team.

Our concern is the level of service policholder’s will receive in the future. We can only comment on the level of service we have experienced in dealing with ReAssure over recent years and this on the whole has not been good.

We will be advising any existing clients who hold, particularly pension contracts, to seriously consider moving to another provider in order to receive better service in the future.

If you have a Legal & General policy or policies feel free to contact us. An initial chat will be without cost or obligation.

Latest on the Woodford Fund. 19 August 2019.

The most important item to report is that the fund will remain closed until the New Year at least. Reports have emerged that some of the illiquid stocks have been sold to Private Equity Firms as Woodford continues to restructure the portfolio. In all cases of these reports the Woodford organisation has chosen not to comment.

Latest on the Woodford Fund 04 July 2019

Neil Woodford has spent much of the past week reducing his holdings in listed small cap firms with businesses in biotech and healthcare.

The fund manager announced on Monday (July 1) that his Equity Income fund will remain suspended for a further 28 days as he battles to raise the cash to reopen it.

The fund was first suspended on June 3 following a period of underperformance and a wave of redemptions that was running at £9m a day in May.

When announcing the suspension, Mr Woodford said when the fund reopens it will contain fewer small caps, and more FTSE 100 stocks, though he emphasised that his view of the market had not changed. 

Among the small caps Mr Woodford has sold some of his shares in over the past week is Benchmark Holdings, a £306m Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listed company engaged in using technology to develop more sustainable food production.

A stock market filing on July 2 shows Mr Woodford cut his holding in the company from 12.4 per cent to below 5 per cent. The company’s shares have fallen from 60p to 53p over the past year. 

The fund manager continued to dispose of his holding in Horizon Discovery Group, a £240m biotech company, having cut his stake to 7 per cent from the previous 10 per cent in June. The manager now owns less than 5 per cent of the shares. 

Mr Woodford also sold 12 per cent he held in the £460m Russian property company Raven Property back to the company on July 1.

Mr Woodford’s funds took a substantial loss on this sale, with stock market filings showing he received 36p per share for the stake, while the shares were trading at 49p at the start of this year. 

At the end of June, Mr Woodford cut his stake in £178m Arix Bioscience from 22 per cent to 21per cent, and Sensyne Heath, a £211m market cap biotech firm, was cut to 14.5 per cent from the previous 20 per cent.

The shares of this company have fallen from £1.87 to £1.64 over the past year. 

One of the smallest companies in which Mr Woodford’s fund was invested was Mereo Biopharma, which has a market cap of less than £50m. It has also been one of the worst performers in the fund over the past year, with the share price collapsing from £3.12 to 47p in twelve months.

Mr Woodford remains keen on the investment case for this stock however, having reduced his holding, he still owns 30 per cent of the shares. 

The smallest company in which Mr Woodford has disposed of shares lately was E-Therapeutics, a £6.7m market cap company, in which Mr Woodford reduced his holding from 6 per cent to below the declarable limit. The shares have fallen by about two thirds in the past year, from £7.50 to £2.50. 

In addition to the small cap holdings revealed above, Mr Woodford has also reduced his stake in large cap stocks AA Group to 6.9 per cent from the previous 11.9, and outsourcer Capita, from 9 per cent to below the declarable limit. 

Capita shares have fallen from £1.62 to £1.08 over the past year.

The shares of AA Group have fallen from £1.21 to 50p over the past year. 

The travails of the fund manager have not put off investors on the Interactive Investor platform however, with his Patient Capital investment trust, being the most bought on the platform in June, having been just the sixth most bought the previous month.  

The trust’s share price has fallen from 76p to 58p since the suspension of the Woodford Equity Income fund was announced a month ago. 

Fund rules mean Mr Woodford has also been forced to sell his unquoted holdings, despite those being among the best performers in the fund.

Darius McDermott, managing director at Chelsea Financial Services, said he would want Patient Capital shares to fall further before he would consider investing, due to concerns about the health of some of the companies in which the trust is invested.   

Fielding Financial Services Ltd.