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Britannic invests in genuine article

Britannic Asset Managements UK property fund aims for income and growth by investing up to 100 per cent directly in UK commercial property.

The fund was established under the new collective investment scheme sourcebook published by the FSA in March last year. This created a new group of non-Ucits funds, including authorised property unit trusts. Under the old regulations, the maximum that property unit trusts could invest directly in property was 80 per cent.

Britannics head of property John Wilson will manage the fund. He joined the company in 1991 after seven years with Scottish Amicable Investment Managers where he was a fund manager.

Wilson chairs quarterly strategy meetings where economic factors, forecasts, growth and sentiment with the property market are discussed. This meeting allows the management team to set sector targets and identify investment themes.

The management team is divided between asset managers and investment managers. Investment managers focus on property selection, investment strategy and portfolio construction, while the asset managers look at what can be done to add value to the properties before they are sold.

The ability to invest 100 per cent directly in property is an advantage as funds which have been restricted to 80 per cent may invest in property shares show a higher correlation to equities than the property market.

SWIP has a property fund which also takes advantage of the new rules, but it is available only to high net clients who can meet the 100,000 minimum.

In contrast the Britannic funds 500 minimum allows the average retail investors exposure to a property portfolio they would otherwise not be able to buy, but there drawbacks. The fund is not available through Isas and Pep transfers and redemptions could take up to six months because real property is illiquid compared with property shares.

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