Aberdeen Standard suspends property funds trading

Aberdeen Standard Investments said on Wednesday that dealing has been suspended in the £1.7 billion Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund and the £1.1 billion Aberdeen UK Property Fund.

“As with the other property fund suspensions announced over the last 24 hours, the suspension of these two ASI funds is solely due to the extreme difficulty in accurately valuing assets in the current environment,” said Aberdeen Standard.

The suspensions follow similar action this week by Aviva Investors, Kames Capital and Janus Henderson.

An Aberdeen Standard Investments spokesperson added: “Following the introduction of ‘material uncertainty’ clauses into valuations by UK property fund industry valuers, we have suspended dealing in our two open ended UK property funds and their feeder funds.

“Markets around the world have experienced huge disruption as COVID-19 spreads and trading in the UK property market is being severely impacted.

“As a result the funds’ independent valuers have informed us it is not currently possible to provide accurate and reliable valuations for certain assets, including the properties held in the funds. 

“We are therefore unable to produce a price for the funds which we can say with any confidence reflects the true value of the assets.

“This action reflects the exceptional circumstances in global markets, including the UK property market as COVID-19 spreads, and the need to protect client interests by suspending trading when there is material uncertainty regarding how the assets should be valued.

“We will aim to lift the suspension as soon as confidence returns to the market and there is more certainty regarding asset valuations, taking into account the best interests of customers and investors.

“We will continue to keep everyone updated and thank them for their patience and understanding in these difficult times.”

Later, Aberdeen Standard said it also suspended dealing in the £550 million ASI Global Real Estate Fund.

“Further to the suspension of the UK Property Funds, the standing independent valuer for the £550 million ASI Global Real Estate Fund has informed us that there is material uncertainty over valuations of certain physical assets within the fund,” said the asset manger.

“Currently this specifically applies to the fund’s European assets but this remains a rapidly evolving situation.

“Therefore to protect the interests of customers and investors, we have additionally suspended dealing in the ASI Global Real Estate Fund.”