Does '4' make a trend? First Standard Life, then Aviva, followed by M&G and now this morning, due to "exceptional liquidity pressures" Henderson has suspended trading in its $5bn UK property fund and all of its feeders. Is it time to panic yet?
Things are getting bad fast in Britain...
Domino #1: *STANDARD LIFE INV PROPERTY DROPS 15%; TRADING IN FUND SUSPENDED
In a stark flashback to the catalytic event that ultimately brought down Bear Stearns in 2008, and subsequently unleashed the greatest financial crisis in history, last night we reported that Standard Life, has been forced to stop retail investors selling out of one of the UK’s largest property funds for at least 28 days after rapid cash outflows were sparked by fears over falling real estate values.
As we further noted, citing an analyst, “given the outflows the sector seems to be experiencing, this could well put downward pressure on commercial property prices,” said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “The risk is this creates a vicious circle, and prompts more investors to dump property, until such time as sentiment stabilises.”
As we concluded, whie Brexit is not a Humpty Dumpty event, where all the Fed’s horses and all the Fed’s men can’t glue the eggshell back together, it is an event that forces investors to wake up and prepare their portfolios for the very real systemic risks ahead. And, indeed, if Standard Life was the first domino, moments ago the second domino also tumbled when as Bloomberg reported that Aviva Investors Property Trust is as of this moment "frozen" citing "extraordinary" market conditions.
Domino #2: *AVIVA SUSPENDS TRADING ON AVIVA INVESTORS PROPERTY TRUST
As the FT adds, Aviva Investments said it had prevented retail investors from selling out of its £1.8bn UK Property Trust since Monday afternoon.
Cited by Bloomberg, Aviva said in an email that "market circumstances, which are impacting the wider industry, have resulted in a lack of immediate liquidity" adding that "we have acted to safeguard the interests of all our investors by suspending dealing in the fund with immediate effect.... Suspension of dealing will give Aviva Investors greater control in managing cash flows and conducting orderly asset sales in order to meet our obligations to investors.”
Domino #3: *M&G SUSPENDS TRADING IN M&G PROPERTY PORTFOLIO FUND
As Bloomberg reports, M&G suspends trading in property portfolio, feeder funds, according to statement on website.
"Investor redemptions in the fund have risen markedly because of the high levels of uncertainty in the U.K. commercial property market since the outcome of the European Union referendum.
Redemptions have now reached a point where M&G believes it can best protect the interests of the funds’ shareholders by seeking a temporary suspension in trading."
Henderson temporarily suspends all trading in the Henderson U.K. Property PAIF and the Henderson UK Property PAIF feeder funds to safeguard the interests of all investors, according to statement.Decision due to “exceptional liquidity pressures” after Brexit and recent suspension of other direct property funds
The $5 billion fund was already dropping fast...
As Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown cited above, put it, “the dominoes are starting to fall in the U.K. commercial property market, as yet another fund locks its doors on the back of outflows precipitated by the Brexit vote. It’s probably only a matter of time before we see other funds follow suit."
We could not have said it better ourselves.