Standard Life has shut a property fund worth £2.9 billion after a rush to withdraw money following the EU referendum as fears for the UK property market grow.
In a note to investors, Standard Life blamed “exceptional market circumstances” for the decision to suspend trading in its UK property fund for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
The fund invests in a mixture of commercial real estate in the UK, including office blocks, shopping centres and warehouses.
M&G Investments has followed two major finance firms and suspended trading in the UK’s biggest commercial property fund following the Brexit vote.
Firms said high levels of uncertainty caused by the referendum have led to investors rushing to withdraw funds.
M&G closed the doors on its £4.4bn fund after Aviva and Standard Life halted trading in similar schemes.
M&G, part of UK insurer Prudential, said it had seen a “marked increase” in customers trying to pull out of the portfolio – which includes retail and office space – after the referendum result.
As with Aviva and Standard Life, the firm said investors would be better protected by preventing any further withdrawals.
Aviva, the UK’s biggest insurer, earlier halted its £1.8bn property trust, a day after Standard Life blocked access to its £2.9bn fund.
It takes time to sell commercial property to meet withdrawals, particularly as investors have been heading for the door in the run up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath.
The last time Standard Life stopped investors taking money out of its UK real estate fund was during the financial crisis in late 2008, while Aviva has never previously done so.