Brexit: Three more property funds forced to suspend withdrawals

Worryingly, headline valuations of funds in suspension so far suggests over half of the UK's £25bn commercial property funds market is now inaccessible to investors.

M&G said withdrawals from its £4.4bn fund had risen markedly because of "high levels of uncertainty in the United Kingdom commercial property market" since the outcome of referendum.

"As a result of this decision, Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland has deferred for a period of six months and with immediate effect, encashments and switches out of its UK Property Funds, which now invest in the UK Property Trust", the statement continued.

Savers in a second property fund are being prevented from withdrawing their money.

Standard Life said it took this action in order to protect investors who wish to remain in the fund, who could otherwise be negatively affected by fund liquidations. "Investors appreciate that we are continuing to provide liquidity, albeit at a discounted price which reflects current market conditions and the fact that short term trading in the property market has relatively penal consequences".

"This will allow the fund manager time to raise cash levels in a controlled manner, ensuring that any asset disposals are achieved at reasonable values".

Last week, Standard Life marked down the value of the buildings its funds own by 5 per cent. The UK's two largest open-ended property funds, run by Henderson and M&G Investments, did the same.

London property prices have soared over the past few years, but the Brexit vote has fueled concerns about its future.

Other firms are expected to follow suit as the investor exodus picks up.

An excessive amount of fund withdrawals could use up cash reserves, potentially forcing the sale of properties at low prices.

Laith Khalaf, Senior Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented: "The dominos are starting to fall in the United Kingdom commercial property market, as yet another fund locks its doors on the back of outflows precipitated by the Brexit vote". Similar suspensions were instituted by property funds at the height of the global financial crisis in September 2008.

Trading has been suspended because the fund managers can not liquidate, or sell-off, the underlying assets fast enough to meet investors demand for their cash back.

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