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Commercial break

Britannic Asset Management’s UK property fund will aim for income and growth by investing up to 100 per cent directly in UK commercial property.

The fund has been established under the collective investment scheme sourcebook published by the FSA in March 2004. 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.

Britannic’s head of property John Wilson will manage the fund. He joined the company in 1991 after seven years with Scottish Amicable Investment Managers.

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

The management team comprises 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 show a higher correlation to equities than the property market.

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership also has a property fund which also takes advantage of the new rules but it is available only to high-net-worth clients who can meet the 100,000 minimum investment.

In contrast, Britannic’s 500 minimum investment allows the average retail investor to gain exposure to a property portfolio. However, there are drawbacks. The fund is not available through Isas or Pep transfers and redemptions could take up to six months because real property is illiquid compared with property shares.

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