Columbia Threadneedle's property funds become the latest to suspend trading

Londons Iconic Gherkin Building Up For Sale
Commercial property funds have been suffering as the future of the City looks uncertain (Source: Getty)

Columbia Threadneedle has become the latest firm to suspend trading on property funds.

Both the Threadneedle UK Property Authorised Investment Fund (Threadneedle PAIF) and the Threadneedle UK Property Authorised Trust suspended at 12pm on Wednesday.

It follows Aviva, M&G, Henderson, Standard Life and Canada Life in suspending trading on UK property funds.

Read more: Fourth property fund suspension announced in wake of Brexit vote

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "Over half of the property fund sector is now on ice, and will remain so until managers raise enough cash to meet redemptions. To do that they need to sell properties, and as any homeowner knows, that is not a quick or painless procedure.

"These funds are therefore likely to be closed for weeks and months rather than simply a matter of days. Clearly there has been a knee-jerk reaction to Brexit in the commercial property sector, which may moderate over time."

Requests for cash are expected to continue for now due to "uncertainty in the market following the UK referendum result", Columbia Threadneedle said.

"Columbia Threadneedle aims to ensure the fair treatment of all our investors whether they are transacting now or investing for the longer-term.

"Because the purchase and sale of property assets can be a lengthy process, our portfolio managers maintain a cash balance in the Fund to meet requests from clients who wish to sell their shares.

"We have not been immune to the recent trend of retail outflows from the sector and so far these requests have been met from the cash balance retained within the Threadneedle PAIF.

Read more: M&G and Aviva become the latest property funds to suspend trading

The fund has minimal exposure to central London properties, Columbia Threadneedle said, highlighting that "to mitigate risk the fund is highly diversified by sector".

Canada Life said in a statement: "Following last month’s vote to leave the European Union, a combination of uncertainty around the pricing of commercial property assets and the recent rise in requests to withdraw from property funds, has meant Canada Life taking the decision to immediately defer requests for withdrawals.

"Deferring requests to withdraw allows us to protect the interests of all investors in the property fund, including those who plan to remain invested for the medium to long term."

The four Canada Life funds are: Canlife Property Life Fund, Canlife Property Pension Fund, Canlife UK Property Life Fund and Canlife UK Property Pension Fund.