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Woodford Income Focus fund raises £553 million

Neil Woodford's new focused income product proves to be one of the UK's most popular fund launches.

Woodford Income Focus fund raises £553 million

Neil Woodford has raised £553 million for his new Income Focus product in one of the biggest fund launches in history.   

The CF Income Focus fund launched on 20 March, with the offer period closing at midday on 12 April. Daily pricing on the fund commenced the following day. 

The fundraising propels the Income Focus to third spot in the UK's most popular fund launches, behind the other two funds in the Woodford stable, Woodford Equity Income and Woodford Patient Capital, which raised £1.6 billion and £800 million respectivelty.

It has raised more than other high profiles launches, including Fidelity Special Situations, Mercury World Mining and Jupiter Absolute return, which attracted £460 million, £426 million and £276 million during their respective offer periods.  

The news comes after The Share Centre revealed that the Woodford Income Focus fund was the top traded fund on its platform in March, knocking the £10 billion Woodford Income fund off top spot. 

Commenting on the inflows, Citywire A-rated Woodford (pictured) said: 'I am very excited by the income prospects of the companies within the portfolio.

'In a low interest world, an income-focused equity portfolio is an attractive proposition for investors, while the lack of geographic restraints allows me to access quality income stocks regardless of their location.'  

The inflows lift total assets under management at Woodford Investment Management to £17 billion.

The Income Focus fund is designed to meet the growing demand for yield among UK investors. 

It invests in a portfolio of around 55 stocks in a bid to deliver a yield of around 5%, versus the 3.8% currently on offer through the Income fund. 

'After speaking to private investors, intermediaries and platforms last year, we knew there was an appetite for a new equity fund targeting a higher income,' Woodford Investment Management chief executive Craig Newman said.

'Aligned with Neil’s outlook for the investment opportunity, the fantastic response highlights investors’ continued interest and requirement for high quality income streams in today’s economic environment.' 

Woodford intends to reveal a full breakdown of the 55-stock portfolio when the fund's first factsheet is published. Thereafter he will keep investors informed with regular monthly updates. 

The fund is expected to be predominately UK-focused at launch, although it is not constrained by geographic region and has the ability to increase its overseas exposure well above the maxiumum 20% level permissible in the UK Equity Income. 

In a launch event in February, Woodford outlined where he was seeing some of the best opportunities and did not rule out holding banks in the new fund.

He also explained why Brexit had made him more bullish

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