Aviva first pulled the plug on trading in the trust on 5 July in similar fashion to a number of its peers. The company said ‘extraordinary market circumstances’ has resulted in a lack of immediate liquidity.
The fund group said that the long timeframe for the suspension reflected the time it takes to sell commercial properties.
The full announcement can be viewed here.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s Laith Khalaf sees this as a disappointing decision from investors’ point of view.
“This is a big blow to investors in the Aviva fund, who are basically now being told they won’t be able to get their money out any time in 2016,” he said. “The wider question is whether this time frame applies across the rest of the sector, and property fund investors would no doubt welcome similar guidance from other suspended funds as to when they might open again, so at least expectations can be set accordingly.”
Khalaf also noted that this development highlights the risk of investing in bricks and mortar funds.
“Once again this highlights the problems of investing in an illiquid asset class via an open-ended fund which offers liquidity on a daily basis, until it’s forced to shut up shop at least,” he said. “Being unable to trade in your fund for the best part of a year is more than a minor inconvenience, and over such a long time period we can expect a natural flow of people who want to access their money for perfectly normal reasons, entirely unrelated to the Brexit vote. These investors will now face the frustration of simply having to sit tight and wait for the doors to open.’