Capital locked up in frozen UK open-ended funds reaches £20b

BlackRock and Schroders are the latest investment managers to close UK open-ended funds due to valuers caveating 31 March monthly and quarterly reports.

As coronavirus crisis repercussions continue to spread, the two firms said they were gating the £3.4 bn BlackRock UK Property and £2.4 bn Schroder UK Real Estate Funds.

The BlackRock and Schroders vehicles are not valued daily and are not intended for retail investors as are many of the first round of funds which succumbed two weeks ago. With institutional investor bases, they normally offer quarterly or monthly liquidity.

Five further institutional funds have also been closed, by Royal London and Legal & General.

This takes the number of gated funds to at least 15. The Financial Times put the amount of capital locked up in such funds by this week at £20 bn (€22.7 bn).

Royal London said: ‘We have taken the decision to temporarily suspend all dealing in the Royal London Property Fund and the Royal London Property Trust.

‘Markets around the world have experienced huge disruption as Covid-19 has spread and trading in the UK property market has been severely impacted. It is not currently possible to provide accurate and reliable valuations for the properties held in the fund.’

Freezing redemptions is in line with new Financial Conduct Authority rules which require managers to suspend funds if there is ‘material uncertainty’ over 20% of their assets.

Mainly daily priced funds which closed two weeks ago include: The Legal & General UK Property Fund; Aviva’s UK Property Fund; BMO UK Property and BMO Property Growth & Income funds; Kames Capital’s Property Income Fund; Janus Henderson’s UK Property PAIF; Aberdeen UK Property Fund; Standard Life’s UK Real estate Fund; Columbia Threadneedle’s Threadneedle UK Property; and  M&G Property Portfolio.