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One to watch

There have been a number of new property fund launches announced over the summer and two big names entering the arena are Skandia and Standard Life. I particularly like the look of the Standard Life Investments’ product.

Standard Life manages over 10bn in institutional property mandates and this is its first foray into mainstream retail property. I feel this is a serious alter-native to the established funds in the market.

I like the make-up of the fund, particularly the 20 per cent invested in fixed income, so your money continues to work while also providing liquidity . The rest is split 75 per cent property and 5 per cent cash.

Its target is realistic – 5 per cent above the CPI over a rolling three-year period (around 7-8 per cent) built around an initial overweighting in top quality City and West End offices and underweight in retailers, specifically high-street shopping centres.

Commercial property has outperformed equities, gilts, overseas equities and cash over one, three, five and 10 years and while we generally think the easy money has been made, you can still expect a return of between 6 per cent and 9 per cent a year from the asset class. This is a decent return from a good portfolio diversifier.

I am impressed by SLI’s resources and the strong team they have running this fund – manager Andrew Jackson is to be supported by a team of 90 – and I will watch it closely.

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