Real Estate

M&G suspends UK's biggest commercial property fund, blames Brexit

Key Points
  • Investors have been unable to withdraw cash from midday Wednesday.
  • M&G blamed Brexit-related uncertainty and "ongoing structural shifts in the UK retail sector."
  • The same fund was suspended in the wake of the 2016 referendum result.

The UK's biggest commercial property fund has been suspended after its adminstrators claimed "Brexit-related political uncertainty," was causing investors to remove money at an unsustainable rate.

Investment firm M&G added in a statement Wednesday that changing trends in U.K. retail were also having a negative effect on property demand.

"In recent months, unusually high and sustained outflows from the M&G Property Portfolio have coincided with a period where continued Brexit-related political uncertainty and ongoing structural shifts in the UK retail sector have made it difficult for us to sell commercial property," the statement read.

M&G said the fund, which managed assets valued at $2.5 bilion ($3.3billion) as at the end of October, had witnessed £1.1billion of investment withdrawals, so far this year.

"Given these circumstances, we have now reached a point where M&G believes it will best protect the interests of the funds' customers by applying a temporary suspension in dealing," the firm added.

M&G said any orders placed after midday U.K. time Wednesday, would not be accepted until the suspension is lifted. M&G said it would waive 30% of its annual charge to investors.

The asset manager claimed that the suspension will allow time to "raise cash levels to pay redemptions, whilst ensuring that asset sales are achieved at market prices."

The same fund was suspended in July 2016 following the U.K'.s EU referendum result when a large number of investors suddenly decided to withdraw cash.

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