Markets were jittery after three financial firms stopped trading in their respective UK commercial property funds following a rapid increase in investors trying to sell their holdings. The funds buy commercial property and offer shares to investors.
Some of those investors now appear worried that companies might opt to leave London to move operations to mainland Europe to retain access to the EU market.
That would vacate office space and weigh down on real estate values in Britain’s capital. Aviva Investors, Standard Life and M&G Investments said they froze the funds to protect other investors who wished to remain in the funds.
“Redemptions have now reached a point where M&G believes it can best protect the interests of the funds’ shareholders by seeking a temporary suspension in trading,” the company said of the 4.4 billion pound (USD 5.8 billion) fund. The moves come even as the Bank of England moved to reassure markets it would avoid a repeat of the 2007-08 financial crisis, freeing up more money for loans to business and households.
Drawing another line under another dramatic day, a group of senior bank leaders, including the chairmen of Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, met with Treasury chief George Osborne and promised to keep money flowing into the system. “We have a clear plan. We’re putting measures in place,” Carney said. “And it’s working.”
In a time of political upheaval, Carney offered the counterpoint of confidence and control, announcing changes to the amount of rainy-day funds banks have to hold. That, he hopes, will help the banks lend as much as 150 billion pounds (USD 199 billion) more, supporting the economy during the uncertainty surrounding the exit from the single EU market of some 500 million.
Carney, however, was direct in explaining that some of the risks to the economy predicted before the referendum had in fact begun to crystalize.