This week, LGIM announced that it would be reopening its UK commercial property fund in October.1 Investors in UK commercial property funds – those available to retail investors have close to £13bn in AUM – have seen their investment stuck, or “gated” since March. And, so far at least, most UK property remain closed to investor withdrawals, highlighting the liquidity risk that comes with investments such as these. Questions have also been raised on whether such illiquid funds should be marketed to retail investors at all.
After the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty has become the norm for investors and fund managers. As the UK property market – both residential, commercial – came to a standstill earlier this year, the absence of activity led to challenges in valuing property investments with the certainty required. As a result, property funds suspended withdrawals by investors. And until more normal levels of property market activity are seen, investors may continue to struggle to access their capital.