Leigh Day and Harcus Parker have combined their legal actions against Link Fund Solutions in order to have a better chance of recouping losses for the thousands of investors burned by the collapse of Neil Woodford’s fund.
On Wednesday the firms will file a joint application at the High Court for a group litigation order (GLO) against the authorised corporate director on behalf of their 2,500 clients.
They expect this will become the largest group claim on behalf of individual investors ever brought before the UK courts.
Harcus Parker had filed a multi-million pound claim against Link on the third anniversary of the Woodford Equity Income fund’s suspension, while Leigh Day had triggered its own legal action against the ACD last September.
Both firms allege Link mismanaged the £3.6bn fund and failed to maintain appropriate levels of liquidity, ultimately leading to the fund’s collapse. Link has denied any wrongdoing and rejected any liability to ex-Woodford investors.
“Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have lost significant amounts of their life savings investing in this fund. We contend this is a direct result of Link’s mismanagement,” said Leigh Day solicitor Meriel Hodgson-Teall.
Although the two are pooling their resources and will present a single argument, they will maintain separate lists of clients. So far Leigh Day has issued claims on behalf of 1,000 investors, while Harcus Parker has issued a claim for 1,500 people.
They will also keep separate fee structures, with Leigh Day agreeing to take 30% of any compensation if the suit is successful, while Harcus Parker’s “no win, no fee” arrangement is 42%.
The joint application is expected be heard over two days in October.
Daniel Kerrigan, senior associate at Harcus Parker, said presenting a “united front” would be the most effective way of securing justice for investors sitting on heavy losses.
“We know that investors have been waiting for far too long for compensation and we are confident that working together we will deliver a positive resolution for our clients as soon as possible, starting with the first court hearing in this case in the autumn. We invite all investors who have not signed up to the claim to do so.”
Most of the hopeful claimants in the Woodford case will only have seen a portion of their money back since the fund began winding down in October 2019.
Link has warned they could be waiting until 2023 before any further cash is returned, meanwhile losses have continued mounting, with Rutherford Health, one of the last remaining holdings in the portfolio, going bust earlier this month.
Nor have trapped investors had any update from the Financial Conduct Authority about which parties are to blame for the collapse of the fund, now called LF Equity Income.
Though a separate firm RGL Management has launched a legal claim against Hargreaves Lansdown, which continued to promote Woodford’s fund on its best buy list up until its collapse, there has been no update in over a year.
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