Aviva Investors £1.5bn property fund to reopen

Aviva Investors £1.5bn property fund to reopen

Aviva Investors is to reopen dealing in its £1.5bn Property Trust  next month, making this the final open-ended fund in the sector to reopen following the EU referendum fallout.

The asset manager has announced its fund will resume trading on December 15 and confirmed that manager Mike Luscombe is to retire in January 2017, after 28 years with the firm.

"While we recognise the valuable contribution Mike has made to Aviva Investors for many years, Andrew Hook, who has been co-manager since March 2015, has the necessary skills and experience to lead the trust," the company said.

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The June referendum result cast a shadow over the property sector, and funds from Aviva, Aberdeen, Columbia Threadneedle, Henderson, M&G and Standard Life Investments all suspended dealing amid a spike in outflows.

However such moves have subsequently been reversed as asset managers cite a combination of improved market sentiment and increased levels of liquidity.

Aviva Investors said today (23 November) that its vehicle sold 11 properties worth £212m between the June referendum and November 17, noting that the suspension of trading had allowed this process to be "selective".

Ed Casal, chief executive of Aviva Investors Real Estate, added: "We have undertaken an orderly sales programme to rebuild liquidity. This has enabled us to obtain the best value for the asset sales while continuing to actively manage the remaining properties in the trust."

The suspension saga has reignited the debate over whether open-ended funds should be used for illiquid investments such as physical property. The FCA recently announced its plans to publish a discussion paper looking into the suitability of the system.

At the time of the suspensions, fund buyers warned the moves to stem a run on assets created an "administrative nightmare" for property holdings in model portfolios.