M&G Investments has suspended trading in the shares in its £2.54bn (€3bn) property portfolio, citing Brexit-related political uncertainty and a challenging UK retail sector.

The M&G Property Portfolio is a broadly diversified fund which invests in 91 UK commercial properties across retail, industrial and office sectors on behalf of UK retail investors.

M&G said in recent months, “unusually high and sustained outflows” from the fund have coincided with a period where ”continued political uncertainty and ongoing structural shifts in the UK retail sector have made it difficult for us to sell commercial property”.

“Given these circumstances, we have now reached a point where M&G believes it will best protect the interests of the funds’ customers by applying a temporary suspension in dealing,” the manager said.

In September this year, the UK’s financial regulator, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), published new rules designed to prevent a repeat of the shutdown of open-ended real estate funds in 2016.

The FCA confirmed a number of measures, including requirements that open-ended funds that invest in illiquid assets must suspend dealing when “there is material uncertainty regarding the value” of more than 20% of assets.

M&G said the decision to suspend was made by M&G Securities, the funds’ authorised corporate director, in agreement with the fund’s depositary and the FCA has been informed.

M&G said the suspension – which will be regularly reviewed – will allow the fund managers time to ”raise cash levels to pay redemptions, whilst ensuring that asset sales are achieved at market prices and investors in the fund are safeguarded”.