M&G suspends £2.5bn property fund blaming retail crisis and Brexit
M&G Property Portfolio bans withdrawals after investors demand their money back. One of the UK’s biggest property funds, which owns shopping centres across the country, has alarmed investors by banning withdrawals and blaming both Brexit and the retail downturn for its problems.The £2.5bn M&G Property Portfolio was suspended after “unusually high and sustained outflows” – demand from investors for their money back – prompted by “Brexit-related political uncertainty and ongoing structural shifts in the UK retail sector”.
Nearly £1bn has been withdrawn by investors from the fund over the last year. M&G admitted it had been unable to sell commercial property fast enough to fund the rush for the door by investors, leaving it with no choice but to block further withdrawals.The fund’s biggest holdings include shopping centres such as Fremlin Walk in Maidstone, Kent, where House of Fraser is one of the biggest tenants, the Gracechurch centre in Sutton Coldfield, where stores include House of Fraser, Topshop and New Look and the Wales designer Outlet in Bridgend, home to retailers including Marks & Spencer and Next.Investors may now have to wait months to see their cash again. In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in 2016, M&G’s fund was shut from July to November, as panicked investors fearing a collapse in values were prevented from withdrawing their cash.There will now be concern of a domino effect in a repeat of the 2016 experience, when funds worth a total of £35bn were forced to close their doors. Read More