Wednesday 6 July 2016 3:43 pm

Henderson becomes fourth firm to close commercial property fund

Henderson Global Investors has suspended trading in its commercial property funds, the latest in a series of closures as companies combat investor panic.

The company said it has temporarily suspended all trading in the Henderson UK Property PAIF and the Henderson UK Property PAIF Feeder Fund to "safeguard the interests of all investors".

"Despite a strong underlying portfolio, the decision was taken due to exceptional liquidity pressures on the funds, as a result of uncertainty following the EU Referendum and the recent suspension of other direct property funds," the group said.

It added that income distributions will continue throughout the period of suspension.

Yesterday saw Aviva and M&G shut off their funds, following in the footsteps of Standard Life Investments, which took the same action on Monday.

Funds are facing a capital shortfall as investors seek to make an exit – which in turn will push prices down, as a new stream of commercial properties hit the market.

"The problems these funds face is that it takes time to sell commercial property to meet withdrawals, and the cash buffers built up by managers have been eroded by investors heading for the door, both in the run up to the EU referendum, and in the aftermath," Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said yesterday.

"These managers will now be adding to the supply of commercial properties on the market, which is likely to put downward pressure on prices. Foreign investors might be tempted in by the fall of sterling, but equally they may decide to steer well clear of an economy in limbo."