Trading has been suspended on Standard Life Investments’ UK real estate fund in response to increased outflows.
The suspension, which came into force at midday on Monday, is in response to “exceptional market circumstances” after the UK’s Brexit vote.
The company said the suspension would be lifted “as soon as possible” and would be reviewed at least every 28 days.
SLI said in a statement: “The decision was taken following an increase in redemption requests as a result of uncertainty for the UK commercial real estate market following the EU referendum result.
“The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors in the fund and to avoid compromising investment returns from the range, mix and quality of assets within the portfolio.
It added that “unlike investing in equities, the selling process for real estate can be lengthy as the fund manager needs to offer assets for sale, find prospective buyers, secure the best price and complete the legal transaction. Unless this selling process is controlled, there is a risk that the fund manager will not achieve the best deal for investors in the fund, including those who intend to remain invested over the medium to long-term.”
It emerged this morning that investors took hundreds of millions of pounds out of the UK’s property sector before the EU referendum.
Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Property funds are clearly under pressure as a result of the Brexit vote, and we could now see a new wave of investors being unable to liquidate their property funds quickly, which we last witnessed during the financial crisis.
"This is part of the problem with investing in open-ended property funds, and one of the reasons we don’t recommend them to investors. Property does offer diversification, and a reasonable yield compared to government bonds, but investors must be willing to accept high costs, and a lack of liquidity when the market turns down."