St James's Place has suspended its £924m Property unit trust and deferred redemptions in its Property life and Property pension funds.

SJP has also implemented a 0.15 percentage point reduction on the fund, bringing the ongoing charges to 1.89%, according to the fund's key investor information document.

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The suspension has been described as a "proactive measure" to protect the interests of clients, preventing the fund from selling assets "under pressure" at a reduced rate.

A trio of reasons was given for the suspension and deferral, including a general fall in demand for UK commercial property.

The firm also cited increased client redemptions, along with office space vacancy as employees embrace working from home post-Covid.

The suspension and deferrals are effective from midday 20 October 2023.

Tom Beal, director of investments at St James's Place, said: "We have taken this step to protect the interests of clients. A combination of factors has led to our decision to suspend dealings in the Property unit trust and defer payments in the pension and life funds.

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"This action is also aimed at preventing the challenge of having to sell properties quickly to generate cash. Selling properties under such pressure may lead to the fund manager selling them for less than their actual market value, potentially resulting in financial losses for the fund and its investors.

"During this period of suspension, we will be assessing market conditions and closely monitoring valuations of properties within the fund. We are committed to resuming dealing as soon as we are satisfied that conditions are right."

The move comes following recent closures of open-ended direct property funds, including M&G and Canada Life AM's products.