Following our decision in July to suspend all recommended ratings on funds directly investing in commercial property in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, we have continued to monitor the situation closely. Having seen an easing of market conditions, we took the view to lift our blanket suspension and reverted back to our normal practice of considering recommendations on an individual fund basis.
Of our recommended funds, the Aviva Investors Property Trust was the last fund to re-open (15 December 2016) and having reviewed the strategy we have taken the difficult decision of removing the fund from our Academy of Funds.
During the time the fund was closed, named co-manager Mike Luscombe, left the group leaving the other co-manager, Andrew Hook, in sole charge. We recognise Mr Hook has been associated with the fund for some time but this is the first retail mandate he has run as a lead manager. Furthermore, there has been a subtle change in strategy with the fund becoming more concentrated both in terms of the number of properties held and in the regions in which it invests.
We feel that the combination of these factors means that the fund's composition could be quite different in the future than it was at the time of our initial recommendation. We would rather exercise caution by removing the rating at the current time and allowing the new manager time to implement the changes in strategy; a process that can take some time in this asset class. We will of course continue to monitor the fund.
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