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Spooked investors pull £100m from UK property funds  

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Worried investors pulled nearly £100m out of property funds in the days after the suspension of the UK’s largest commercial property fund.

The £2.5bn M&G Property Portfolio was suspended last Wednesday, barring thousands of investors from taking their money out.

M&G took the decision to halt trading after struggling to meet an increase in withdrawal requests from investors worried about Brexit-related political uncertainty.

In response to M&G’s announcement, investors withdrew £61m from property funds on Thursday and £36m on Friday, according to data from Calastone, the fund transaction firm.

Investors have been withdrawing money from property funds throughout the year.

Since October 2018, outflows have totalled “an unprecedented” £2.5bn, Calastone said.

Edward Glyn, head of global markets at Calastone, said: “Fears of further fund suspensions have spooked investors in property funds, with outflows of capital spiking to their highest daily level all year on Thursday.

“Investor reaction is understandable though counterproductive as it may result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Investors should be mindful that property is a long-term investment, and buildings are not ATMs dispensing cash. If you think you need rapid access to your savings, there may be other, more suitable savings products you should consider first.”

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at investment platform AJ Bell, said: “The UK property sector has been out of favour with investors, seeing outflows every month for the past year. However, it’s important to put this in context, as the three months around the referendum saw £2.3bn of outflows alone.”

A number of property funds, including M&G, froze trading in the aftermath of the EU referendum result in 2016.

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