Aberdeen lifts suspension on UK open-ended funds

Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive, Martin Gilbert (pictured) has told investors that pricing might be adjusted daily to reflect the funds’ requirement to provide liquidity. 

London-based real estate asset management firm Aberdeen Asset Management has lifted a trading suspension on two of its UK open-ended retail funds. On Monday, the firm announced it had extended a six-day suspension of trading in the two funds for two more days, ending at noon today.

A spokesman for Aberdeen said the suspension was put in place to provide those investors who made redemption requests with additional time to consider their options and ensure that all customers were treated fairly. But this morning, Aberdeen chief executive Martin Gilbert announced that the halt on trading was to be revoked.

“Following the lifting of the week-long suspension, I am pleased that investors will now be able to trade shares in the funds,” he said. “Investors should be aware that the price may be adjusted on a daily basis to reflect the funds’ requirement to provide liquidity and the need to protect all investors. The market may take time to find its level but I have no doubt that property will continue to play an important part in investors’ portfolios,” Gilbert added.

Last week, seven UK open-ended commercial property retail funds suspended trading after a torrent of redemption requests from jittery investors keen to withdraw their cash in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.

In addition to Aberdeen, the six firms were Standard Life, Aviva, M&G Investments, Henderson Global Investors, Columbia Threadneedle and Canada Life. In total, the seven funds hold around £15 billion ($19 billion; €17.8 billion), meaning around 60 percent of the UK commercial property held in such vehicles was under lock and key.

In response, Aberdeen announced it had halted trading in both funds for an initial 24 hours. The following day, the firm extended the deadline for a further six days until 12 noon, July 11, stating that any investor wanting to withdraw capital from the funds after this date would need to accept a 17 percent price reduction.

Aberdeen also placed two properties contained in the funds, on Oxford Street and Hammersmith Grove, on the market in a bid to improve its liquidity status.