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Research - JANUARY 13, 2020

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Taking another look at the open- versus closed-end fund debate

by Bill Page

In many cases, the debate about property fund structures has never gone beyond the “open-ended bad, closed-ended good” stage. It has been all too binary.

In the UK, scrutiny of open-ended funds has been informed by the gating that certain property funds were forced to adopt shortly after the EU membership referendum. More recently, the travails of the Woodford Equity Income Fund, run by UK-celebrity investment manager Neil Woodford, has brought the issue of illiquid holdings in liquid investment wrap­pers into sharper focus, while the Governor of the Bank of England, no less, has described open-ended funds as being “built on a lie.”

The fact that illiquid holdings can be held within a liquid wrapper is nothing new for those working in property fund management. But given recent events, everyone has sud­denly, to quote The Financial Times, become “an expert on open-ended funds”.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidance that valu

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