Investors in the failed Woodford Equity Income Fund (Weif) should act immediately if they want to register interest in claiming compensation, according to Sharesoc, a non-profit organisation set up to represent the interests of UK investors.
Sharesoc’s warning follows last month’s rejection of the Group Litigation Order (GLO) application by law firms Leigh Day and Harcus Parker on behalf of stranded investors.
The GLO would have involved selecting representative test cases for a group of legal claims raising similar issues, but the judge, justice Trower, instead opted to proceed with bespoke case management by the court, as requested by the target of the legal action, and former authorised corporate director of Weif, Link Fund Solutions.
In the process, Trower also denied the request to mandate Link to inform any potential claimants of their opportunity to claim, arguing that it was “not part of the GLO regime for the process to be used to encourage potential claimants to litigate”.
Trower added: “The likelihood is that those investors who wish to sue have already instructed solicitors, and if they have not done so, the reason is likely to be that they do not wish to participate.”
So far, 90% of the 300,000 investors eligible to claim compensation have not yet done so, according to data from Sharesoc, and the organisation argued that the judge was conflating publicity about the Woodford scandal, and publicity about routes to redress, including the costs, risks, chances of winning and alternative options.
The collapsed fund has received wide media coverage, and Sharesoc added that recent developments, including the proposed sale of Link Fund Solutions to Irish asset manager Waystone Group, and the apparent reduction of the £50m FCA mandated fine and £306m redress charge, to £257m, had complicated matters for potential claimants.
Sharesoc said time is running out for investors to make a claim and urged them to do so sooner rather than later: “ We suggest that, at a minimum, they should register their interest with the relevant firm or make an enquiry about the options available.
“This initial step does not create a legal contract if you do not formally instruct the firm and agree to their terms and conditions. It may, however, mean that you get updates about potential time constraints relating to that firm’s claim.”