The Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF) is to assess the impact of the Brexit vote on the UK real estate market and its funds industry.
John Forbes – an independent consultant who wrote an influential AREF report in 2012, ‘Unlisted funds: lessons from the crisis’ – has been asked to reassess the sector in the light of the UK’s referendum result.
Trading suspensions in several open-ended property funds in recent months have been widely attributed to the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote.
Many of the funds have since reopened.
AREF argues that, broadly speaking, the fund management industry responded appropriately to the situation and that the regulations in place protected investors’ interests.
But the organisation, which represents the UK’s unlisted property fund industry, has decided that the post-referendum market environment called for a reassessment of existing regulation, fund structures and best practice for the industry.
John Cartwright, chief executive at AREF, said: “There was a lot of media attention on the real estate funds industry in the days and weeks following the referendum. Investor interest was protected by both regulation and responsible fund manager behaviour.
“To ensure our industry continues to provide comprehensive investor protection and deliver the best possible outcomes for its clients, we thought it was an appropriate time to look back at how the market reacted to the result and see where, if any, improvements to fund structures and processes could be made.”
The previous AREF report was commissioned during the aftermath of the global financial crisis and following a series of trading suspensions in UK property funds.
Many of the conclusions have been adopted by the industry.
The new research will assess the impact on funds and investors following the referendum and will take a view of the whole market, including fund distributors, managers, valuers and other service providers.
It will be published in the first quarter of 2017.
Forbes, founder of John Forbes Consulting, said the review was “of crucial importance to the real estate industry but also for investment managers in other asset classes”.
“It is vital the investment models available to retail and institutional clients provide protection to all investors at moments of market stress and illiquidity,” he said.