Canada Life re-opens its property fund as the commercial property market shows "stabilisation" after the Brexit vote

Helen Cahill
Follow Helen
London 2012 - Generic London Landmarks
Several property funds closed after the EU referendum (Source: Getty)

Canada Life has re-opened its commercial property funds after investors withdrew cash in the wake of the Brexit vote - but the firm has admitted its property valuations may be inaccurate due to current market conditions.

When investors scrambled to take out money from property funds at the end of June, Canada Life and several other firms were forced to suspend trading in their funds for fear they would run out of cash to meet redemption requests.

The commercial property market has now shown "some stabilisation" since, Canada Life said, allowing the firm to re-open its fund earlier than original six-month deferral date.

Read more: Commercial and City property prices crumble following the Brexit vote

But "property valuations continue to be subject to some uncertainty" due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding how the Brexit vote will play out.

Senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Laith Khalaf said the move from Canada Life means "re-opening is on the cards" for other property funds that remain suspended; but any other reopenings will depend on how quickly a fund sells its property to raise more cash.

"It depends on the property mix you've got and the price you are willing to accept for it," Khalaf said. "But the storm seems to have passed."

Fund Status
Aberdeen UK Property Suspension lifted
Aviva Inv Property Trust Withdrawals suspended
F&C UK Property Open
Henderson UK Property PAIF Withdrawals suspended
Kames Property Open
Legal & General UK Property Trust PAIF Open
M&G Property Portfolio PAIF Withdrawals suspended
Canada Life Canlife UK Property Suspension lifted
Standard Life UK Real Estate Withdrawals suspended
Threadneedle UK Porperty Trust PAIF Withdrawals suspended

Canada Life said it sold two properties in August to fulfil its liquidity requirements.

Aberdeen Asset Management is the only other fund that has lifted the suspension on withdrawals that it imposed after the EU referendum; but Aberdeen only intended to close the fund briefly while it re-priced, Khalaf said.

David Marchant, chief investment officer at Canada Life, said: "We have had two month end pricing valuations since the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union and our decision to defer requests to withdraw investment in the property funds.

"Real estate investment and occupational transaction activity has been subdued in that time, and the market outlook remains unclear."

Marchant said due to the current "lack of market transparency" the funds external valuers have said they are uncertain about the accuracy of their valuations.