After Epic “Run on the Funds,” 10 More Real Estate Mutual Funds Shuttered as COVID-19 Batters UK Property Values | Wolf Street
Over the past two days, 10 open-end property funds in the UK have slammed their doors shut on investors, citing concerns about asset valuation. The funds’ two property valuers, CBRE and Knight Frank, say that it is currently impossible to accurately value the funds’ real estate assets amid the market chaos being caused by the response to Covid-19.
“The UK commercial property market is facing unprecedented circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and so valuation firms can no longer make reliable judgement on value. This is known as ‘material value uncertainty’,” said Paul Richards, managing director of the Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF), in a statement. To justify the fund suspensions, Richards cited new FCA rules applying to funds investing in inherently illiquid assets, such as commercial property:
“Funds with more than 20% of their portfolio subject to material valuation uncertainty are required to suspend subscriptions and redemptions in the interests of all investors. Although these rules are not due to come into force until September 2020, existing rules would require fund managers to consider suspending funds in circumstances like the ones they are facing at the current time.”