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Aberdeen lifts week-long trading suspension on UK property funds

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Aberdeen Asset Management has lifted a week-long suspension on its UK commercial property funds, which was put in place after an increase in redemption requests following the Brexit vote.

Last Wednesday, Aberdeen ‘gated’ its UK Property Fund and Aberdeen UK Property Feeder Unit Trust, meaning investors weren’t able to buy or sell units in the funds.

But as of midday today, Aberdeen confirmed investors have been able to trade, but at a ‘diluted price that reflects the current market environment’. The value of the fund has been cut by 17%.

A statement from Aberdeen said: “We recognise that the temporary suspension since 6 July 2016 and the anti-dilutive measures we have taken will have inconvenienced some shareholders, but Aberdeen remains absolutely focused on providing liquidity to shareholders who wish to access it, while protecting value for the remaining shareholders; our aim is to ensure all shareholders are treated fairly.”

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the price could move sharply up or down and anyone who believes they are picking up a bargain “could be in for a nasty surprise”.

He said: “The removal of the suspension of trading of this fund was always planned by Aberdeen, it was simply giving investors enough time to cancel orders in light of the introduction of the dilution levy.

“Now this has passed, trading resumes, but investors should be very wary of dealing under these conditions. Those selling the fund are probably already expecting the worst, so it’s buyers who stand to be most disappointed if the price suddenly jumps up.”

Last week Standard Life Investments led the way by suspending trading in its Real Estate Fund after a rapid increase in redemption requests following the momentous Brexit vote.

As the UK’s third largest open-ended property fund for retail investors and with £2.9bn under management, this unsettled investors across the sector.

Other commercial property funds run by Aviva Investors, M&G, Standard Life, Henderson, Columbia Threadneedle and Canada Life, were also suspended.

See’s Property funds freeze trading: should investors worry? for more information.

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