Shares of Edinburgh-based Standard Life have fallen about 13% so far this week after its fund management business Standard Life Investments suspended trading in its £2.9 billion UK Real Estate Fund “as a result of uncertainty for the UK commercial real estate market” following the EU referendum result.
A number of other British property funds have also suspended trading, raising concerns about the outlook for the financial system, according to Reuters.
“Due to exceptional market circumstances, Standard Life Investments has taken the decision to suspend all trading in the Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund (and its associated feeder funds) from 12 noon on 4 July 2016,” said a Standard Life Investments spokesperson.
“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.”
The fund firm said that unlike investing in stocks, 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 legal transactions.
“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.
“Approval for the suspension was received from Citibank Europe plc, in its capacity as Depositary for the fund.
“The suspension will end as soon as practicable, and will be formally reviewed at least every 28 days.”