Scottish Widows opens property fund to public

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership has reduced the minimum investment into its property unit trust from 100,000 to 5,000. The move is designed to open the 660m commercial property fund to the retail market, following its launch last November.

According to Standard & Poor’s, the fund has generated a return of 8.26% since the start of the year to June 30, 2005.

On the back of this Andy Frepp, sales and marketing director at Swip, says the fund has witnessed increased demand from advisers and is now in a position to meet this. Swip expects total returns from property to average 7% a year between 2006 and 2009.

Structured as a non-Ucits retail fund (Nurs) under new Coll regulations, the fund carries an initial charge of 5% and an annual management fee of 1.35%. It pays out 3% commission and a 0.5% trail for intermediaries.

By adopting the Nurs structure rather than Ucits III the Swip property trust can hold its entire portfolio in commercial property. However, Nurs-registered funds cannot at present be held in an Isa.

As at the end of June the fund held 70 properties. Of these 53% was held in retail property, 19.2% in offices and 25.2% in industrials. The average value of properties in the fund was 8.6m, while the fund’s largest holding (7.5%) was Huddersfield Great Northern Retail Park, which was worth 45m.