Standard Life has suspended trading in its £2.9bn UK commercial property fund – the first such closure since the financial crisis.
The global investment firm blamed the “exceptional market circumstances” around the decision to exit the European Union for the move which has seen investors banned from withdrawing their money.
It follows a spate of withdrawals following the decision to leave the EU.
A statement from Standard Life read: “The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors in the fund and to avoid compromising investment returns from the range, mix and quality of assets within the portfolio,” the company said.
“The selling process for real estate can be lengthy as the fund manager needs to offer assets for sale, find prospective buyers, secure the best price and complete the legal transaction. Unless this selling process is controlled, there is a risk that the fund manager will not achieve the best deal for investors in the fund, including those who intend to remain invested over the medium to long-term.”
“The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors in the fund.”
The fund invests in a mix of commercial property including office blocks, shopping centres and warehouses.
Standard Life said the suspension would end “as soon as practicable” and added that it would be reviewing the decision every 28 days.