M&G keeps freeze on UK property fund despite raising cash
The UK insurer and asset manager is freezing the M&G Property Portfolio and feeder fund on Brexit uncertainty and weakness in the retail sector
London — British insurer and asset manager M&G will continue the suspension of its £2.5bn property funds, it said on Thursday, after selling £70.4m of real estate assets to raise cash.
M&G said on December 4 that it was freezing the M&G Property Portfolio and its feeder fund after Brexit uncertainty and weakness in the retail sector led to a surge in investor requests to cash out.
The suspension follows the collapse of money manager Neil Woodford’s equity fund and comes as regulators seek changes to funds that invest in hard-to-sell assets such as property but enable investors to cash out at short notice.
M&G’s funds will re-open “once cash levels have been sufficiently restored”, the company said in a statement without specifying a date. It is required to update investors on the status of the fund at least every 28 days.
The asset manager, which split from parent Prudential in October, said it had completed the sale of a retail park in Edmonton, northeast London, for £51.4m and exchanged contracts on a property in Staines, southeast England, for £19m.
M&G said it had a further £67.2m in properties under offer or going through legal processes.
Seven property funds with a combined £18bn under management froze in quick succession after the Brexit referendum in June 2016. Other property funds have said they are monitoring the market situation.
M&G’s funds had 4.8% of their assets in cash — a smaller cash buffer than other major property funds such as those run by Legal & General and Aberdeen Standard Investments.