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This Is How U.K. Funds Will Have To Operate Next Time There Is A Liquidity Crisis

Property funds will have to close much sooner in future crises.

The Financial Conduct Authority is proposing new rules for open-ended property funds which would mean they close the door to redemptions more quickly during times of market volatility in the U.K.

The FCA has been reviewing the way funds for the person on the street holding illiquid assets, mainly commercial property, operate, in the wake of the run on property funds that occurred in the weeks after the Brexit vote in 2016.

That caused several funds to close their doors for up to half a year in order to sell assets and return money to unit holders. It was the only area of property to suffer any real distress in the wake of the Brexit vote, and the FCA said it is acting to protect the reputation of the U.K. financial services sector.

Under the proposed rules, funds would have to close for redemptions if their valuers said there was material uncertainty about the value of 20% or more of their assets. Open-ended funds are valued monthly, and weekly in times of market uncertainty.

Property funds would need to carry clearer warnings about the illiquid nature of the assets they buy. Managers of these funds would need to produce contingency plans for how they would react if there was a need to pay back investors quickly.

The consultation closes at the end of January.

“We expect these changes to result in fewer runs on funds holding illiquid assets, and to reduce complaints from retail investors about perceived unfair treatment when they exit such funds,” FCA Executive Director of Strategy and Competition Christopher Woolard said.