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Liontrust and JP Morgan suspend Russia funds

Written by: Emma Lunn
Both fund managers have suspended their Russia-linked funds with immediate effect.

The announcements came as Russian forces continued their invasion of Ukraine, and Europe imposed an increasing number of sanctions on Russia.

JP Morgan suspended dealing in its Russia Equity Fund, Emerging Europe Equity Fund, and JPM Emerging Europe Equity Fund, while Liontrust suspended the Liontrust Russia Fund.

The decisions mean investors are not able to make purchases or redemptions from the funds until further notice.

A statement from Liontrust said: “We have not taken this action lightly but in this case we believe this is in the best interests of all investors given the events of the past few days and comes after discussions with the fund’s depositary. These events include today’s closure of the Moscow Stock Exchange and the temporary ban on foreign investors selling local Russian securities.

“At the moment, Liontrust is unable to say how long the fund will be suspended for. Liontrust will keep the suspension of the Russia fund under continual review given it is such a rapidly changing situation and we will update investors as soon as we can. The suspension of the Russia Fund will not have any impact on any other Liontrust funds.”

In other war news, Shell announced it plans to exit its joint ventures with Gazprom and related entities. Gazprom is 49.3% owned by the Russian government. Shell’s decision will affect about $3bn worth of business in Russia.

Joint ventures to be exited include a 27.5% stake in the Sakhalin-II liquefied natural gas facility, a 50% stake in the Salym Petroleum Development and the Gydan energy venture. Shell also plans to end its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

The UK Foreign Office (FCDO) is now advising against all travel to Russia. The FCDO has advised against travel to Ukraine since 14 February.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps banned all Russian airlines from the UK’s airspace on Friday with Russia banning UK airlines from Russian airspace in retaliation.

Economic sanctions on Russia mean its base interest rate now stands at 20% while the value of the rouble has plunged to record lows. The stock market remains closed amid fears of a massive share sell-off.

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