A sea change from across the Atlantic?

iStock_000020170985_ExtraSmall copy

North America is leading the way once again, with the exceptional communicator and statesman Barack Obama safely installed in the hot seat for a second term.

Having led (i.e. caused!) the credit crunch, the US is making the most of its relative safe haven advantage and utilising the depth and diversity of its funding markets to great effect. This in turn has provided good real estate investors with more funding options through corporate bond issuances, plus loans from insurance companies as well as banks. DTZ boldly stated last autumn that, as a result, there was no funding gap in the US. In consequence, acquisitive US Private Equity funds such as Blackstone have begun mopping up bargains all over the world. Over the last year, domestic unemployment has decreased from 8.3% in January to 7.7%, homebuilder sentiment has risen to its highest level since 2006, and prices are up by about 17%.

Just as significantly, DTZ also said they expected the UK’s real estate funding gap to be all but eliminated by 2014, with equivalent funding lines to those active in the US recently tested and expected to expand significantly in the months ahead.

In the Eurozone, meanwhile, DTZ expect the funding gap to remain outstanding for some years. Even so, it looks promising that the crisis is taking a course “less bad” than most had expected  -much to the credit of (ex-Goldman Sachs) Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank and FT Person of the Year 2012. Draghi’s promise to “do whatever it takes” seems to be working.

As a result, the recovery of Greek Bonds has proven to be the hedge fund play of 2012. And if the Spanish government finally requested a Euro bailout, the country’s banks only required half the expected £100bn. The great exception of course is France, where policy makers seem to be doing their utmost to dismantle the economy (to the benefit of London). Economic disaster looks increasingly likely as wealth creators jump ship before they are pushed or even have their ships confiscated (as with Arcelor Mittal)!

Returning to the outlook for the UK, Mike Carney (notably also ex-Goldman Sachs) has been recruited as the new Governor of the Bank of England. He is widely considered to be one of the top two central bankers in the world, which is quite a coup for George Osbourne. Carney is generally expected to promote higher growth and employment, with interest rates staying lower for longer at the price of higher inflation.

This should be good news for investors like Inspired who concentrate on “real assets”, as values and incomes increase while debt as a proportion of value diminishes.

It is likely to encourage greater risk taking by investors who need to find higher returns in order to protect their capital, which will be at greater risk of erosion from inflation – currently standing at 2.7% and remaining stubbornly above the 2% target. Again, this represents good news for opportunistic investors like us: competition for assets may make it harder to buy cheaply, but there should still be plenty to go around as the US funds that bought loans in 2012 take action and make their margin by offloading in 2013. Additionally, our existing assets are all located in Inner London and should benefit from an increase in value, while capital should become easier and cheaper to raise.

I firmly believe that more risk taking (within reason) is a good thing generally: fear has a corrosive rippling effect through morale and into trust, investment and employment and has in itself become the greatest threat to our future wellbeing and prosperity. A more confident approach, as we’re beginning to see in the US, may just offer the perfect antidote.

Spend the ‘bonus’ years on work and play

As people live longer, saving enough money to support themselves in full retirement is no longer a realistic option

Ros Altmann

Tory proposals to raise the state pension age to 66 in 2016 have certainly captured the headlines. However, dealing with the problem is not as simple as that.

Millions of older people could soon be in poverty, as smaller numbers of taxpayers have to support a soaring proportion of people over 65 in the next few years. At present pensioners comprise under 20 per cent of the population, but that will rise to more than 25 per cent in the 2020s. There will be more than 16 million pensioners and, according to the European Commission, the relative level of poverty among pensioners in the UK is one of the highest in Europe, worse than in Poland and Romania. One in three of the over-65s in Britain is at risk of poverty.

People are living much longer, and that means longer periods of retirement. In the 1950s average workers spent two thirds of their life in the labour force. Today as people stay at school longer, retire earlier and live longer, only about half their life is spent earning. As life expectancy keeps rising, if we do not change the concept of retirement, people will spend more than half their life out of the workforce.

Just tinkering with the pension age will not solve these problems. Nor is making people work longer likely to generate the expected cost savings, unless it is accompanied by a comprehensive reassessment of income in later life.

Astonishingly, we have only just introduced the last set of state pension reforms — which politicians assured us would sort out our problems until at least 2050. I warned at the time that these “long-term” reforms were not a solution. Now the Conservatives are proposing changes to the new system before it even starts. However, just tweaking parts of the system is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic when the whole system is sinking.

The UK state pension is just about the lowest and most complex in the developed world. After a working lifetime of national insurance contributions, our full basic state pension is only about £95 a week.

Increasing it in line with earnings will make precious little difference. Workers may also receive a bit extra from the second state pension, but the means-tested, non-contributory pension credit pays £130 a week to anyone over 60 on a low income. Nearly half of pensioners are eligible for these means-tested benefits. Those who have not bothered to save and do not keep working may be paid more by the State than those who paid contributions for decades.

And if the pension age rises to 66, but 65-year-olds cannot find work, they will end up on pension credit, which could actually pay more than the state pension, thus negating the estimated savings of the change.

In reality most people will never be able to save enough, during a normal working lifetime, to provide a decent pension for retirement at 60 or 65. Stock market returns cannot be relied on and the rising costs of annuities will further erode pension values. Working for 40 years to save enough to provide a decent income for another 30 years is unaffordable.

Changing the pension age will not deal with these fundamental problems. Just making people wait a year for their pension is an old-fashioned way of thinking. Inevitably, they will see it as being forced to work longer.

However, with a more visionary approach, the idea of a longer working life could be a positive, not a negative, message.

The arbitrary age of 65 or 66 should not be a “target” date for people to stop work altogether. Part-time work for those over that age must be encouraged. We live longer, healthier lives. Most people are not “old” at 60 or 65, so why throw them out of the labour force at that age, especially as most jobs no longer entail heavy manual labour?

Retirement should be a process, not an event. There is a whole new phase of life waiting to be enjoyed, perhaps working two or three days a week and having four or five days free, with more money to spend in that extra leisure time; a phase of life where workers cut down but do not stop altogether.

These would be “bonus years” that previous generations could not enjoy, because they did not live long enough or were not in such good health. The concept of part-time work in later life is a social revolution that could benefit us all. Just as we have achieved this for working mothers in the past 30 years, I am convinced we will do the same for older people.

Employer attitudes must change and they must be required to make jobs available for older workers. The same kind of legal protections should be provided as for working mothers, with the right to part-time, flexible working. At the moment, age discrimination legislation ends at age 65. This must change.

The 70-year-olds of the future could be job-sharing or mentoring younger staff, or may have retrained to do something that they always wanted to do. Just tweaking the pension system to fit fiscal projections will not deal with the problems of an ageing population.

Planning for “bonus years” and rethinking retirement, with a simpler, non means-tested state pension, would be a great leap forward.

Dr Ros Altmann is a governor of the London School of Economics and a former adviser to the Treasury and No 10 on pensions policy

(Ros Altmann, The Times) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6863731.ece

London shares finish above 5,000 barrier

London’s leading stock market index closed above the 5,000 barrier for the first time in 11 months today buoyed by continuing hope that an economic recovery was underway.

The FTSE index of Britain’s top 100 companies hit 5,004.30 – the first time since October 3 last year – helped also by a strong opening on Wall Street and what one trader, Tim Hughes at IG Index, described as the “feel good factor”.

Mr Hughes said the positive mood was being helped by brokers upgrading a raft of stocks, bullish UK consumer confidence and a giant oil discovery off Brazil by BG Group.

In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 63.94 points at 9,561.28 at 11.30am.

Oil continued to rise, to above $72 a barrel, as signals from an Opec meeting in Vienna indicated that demand was still growing strongly.

A revival in the appetite for corporate takeovers also boosted the positive sentiment.

In London, Cadbury added another 1p to 785p amid expectations that America’s Kraft would raise its £10.2 billion bid for the Dairy Milk maker. Andrew Wood, a Bernstein analyst, believes it will offer 900p a share.

National Express closed flat at 2.2p to 464.5p after a decision due today on whether to succumb to CVC’s bid or merge with Stagecoach was delayed.

BG Group was one of the top gainers, up 42p at £10.97 after it said it could extract two billion barrels of oil in Brazil, near its existing Tupi field.

British Airways rose 10p to 211p amid expectations a merger deal with both Iberia and American Airlines was close.

Miners, which have enjoyed a strong run in recent days, continued to gain on the back of strong commodity prices.

Lonmin was the exception, down 48p at £16.64 after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the platinum miner, despite talk that Xstrata was eyeing a bid. Xstrata lifted 18p to 898p.

Sterling edged up against the dollar again today, up 0.1 per cent to $1.6508. The weakness of the dollar was also helping demand for oil and metals which are purchased in dollars.

Gold held steady at around $1,000 an ounce, having hit that level yesterday for the first time since March 2008. (Robert Lindsay, The Times) http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/markets/article6827001.ece

Legislation on bonuses could destroy the City

John Waples, Business Editor: Agenda

The unpalatable truth about big City bonuses is that they are unstoppable. The model has become one of the principal pillars of the global financial system and mimics what has happened in the world of football. It puts a big premium on talent, particularly on its transfer value.

And in the world of banking — where a top trader at the peak of his career can generate £500m of profit for his employer and up to £50m for himself without tying up any capital — it comes at a huge price.

The British public finds the scale of bonus payouts unacceptable. It blames the excessive risk-taking by bankers for bringing down the financial system. It is no surprise then that Alistair Darling, the chancellor, has responded to that concern. He said this weekend he is prepared to legislate if necessary to curb excessive bonuses — but he will find it very hard to do.

However, banks around the world would be foolish to ignore the threat. What they must do is demonstrate self-restraint over mega bonuses and offer a level of transparency that hitherto has not been forthcoming. If they don’t they will face damaging legislation from governments pandering to public anger.

This would lead to knee-jerk policymaking. In all likelihood those implementing it would end up looking like fools and, at worst, it would kill the City — one of Britain’s few assets that can compete in a global economy.

If London is forced to outlaw bonuses the talent will migrate. Technology and screen-based trading means a trader’s skills are eminently portable.

Darling just has to look at the nameplates on the doors of London’s banks. Hundreds are offshoots of foreign institutions, most of them full of international bankers not domiciled in the UK. Their primary motive is making money and, at the moment, London is the best place to do that.

Everybody accepts that in the last cycle the rules were too lax. Bankers did collect huge bonuses, but a vast proportion did so in shares that could not be vested for a number of years. As a result, thousands of bankers at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Citigroup lost millions when the value of their shares fell.

The only banks the government could impose change on are the ones where it has large stakes — and their competitors would be laughing all the way to the bank if it did. The other option is to impose a windfall tax, but that would only hit the wrong targets.

If bonuses are to be policed effectively, and for banks to adopt a policy of self-restraint, the government and the British public have to have more faith in the Financial Services Authority.

Given the track record of the FSA, that is a tall order. But if we are to believe that in this new, more sober world — where bonuses will only be paid to City bankers who deserve them — the regulator will have to be the judge.

Hector Sants, the FSA’s chief executive, made it clear last week that it is not his job to cap bonuses. It is to ensure that bonuses are not paid simply because a bank takes on too much risk. Those that underestimate Sants do so at their peril. He will insist banks hold the requisite amount of capital, and that is the only way that bonuses can be tackled.

The FSA must not kill success, it must kill abuse. Legislation would only drive banks offshore. I suspect Darling will huff and puff over bonuses until the next election and the Conservatives will also try to tackle the issue. Both parties know that to defend the bonus culture is a vote loser. The key question is not about bonuses, though, but a system that allows banks to ratchet up such huge profits. Every other industry has seen pricing pressure, but top-end banking seems to operate under its own rules.

A desert dream

It’s been the story of the week, but I’d be amazed if an Abu Dhabi-led consortium launches a £10 billion bid for British Land. To succeed it would have to pay so much of tomorrow’s value today it would hardly be worth it. The consortium would spend the next five years waiting for the direct market to play catch-up with the premium paid. And as a large part of its takeover would have to be financed by equity, that could be a painful wait.

If Abu Dhabi wants distressed property assets, it already has Dubai on its doorstep. And if it was interested over here, it would do better targeting the state-owned banks which are long on property and short on financial partners.

British Land will produce quarterly results this week showing that its net asset value per share has declined by a further 5%-10% to around 370p. Unless a thumping premium is paid, investors would send a bidder packing — and if a buyer were prepared to pay that much, why would it want to confine itself just to British Land?

There are others out there with assets they are desperate to sell, and they wouldn’t be half as demanding about an acceptable take-out price. That said, the fact that this story is doing the rounds will in the short term serve to change sentiment on a sector that has been totally out of favour.

First lender

Lord Mandelson’s brave new world of industrial interventionism had its brightest dawn yet last week, when the first secretary of state announced a £340m loan to Airbus to help it develop its A350 mid-sized jet. The UK has helped Airbus with loans for planes for decades, and so far it hasn’t turned out to be a bad investment.

Some of the launch aid might never be paid back — I think we will be waiting a while to see a return on our £500m contribution to the A380 superjumbo — but the money laid out on other programmes, such as the A320 and A330 planes, has generated a handsome return for the taxpayer.

Unfortunately for Airbus, its system of funding new planes is under threat. Early next month the World Trade Organisation is expected to rule in the long-running dispute between Europe and America over support to the civil aircraft industry. Many think the WTO will say refundable launch aid, like the £340m given to the A350, must stop.

Mandelson, a former EU trade commissioner, knows as much about this dispute as anyone. For him publicly to back the system last week must mean that Britain, and Europe, will not take the ruling lying down. It probably also means that they think that the long process of appeals and countersuits means changes to the status quo are a long way off.

In the car industry, Mandelson has shown a much less certain touch.

He promised the government would guarantee a ¤340m (£294m) loan from the European Investment Bank to Jaguar Land Rover as part of a £2.3 billion assistance package for the industry. It didn’t, and in the end Tata got so frustrated with the conditions put on the guarantee — and the endless talks — that it decided to look elsewhere.

There is an argument to be made for not helping Tata — but not for treating one of the UK’s largest inward investors (combine Corus, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Consulting and a few others and you get to 47,000 employees) in such a cavalier fashion.

Tata has managed to find commercial sources of finance to tide the group over what it hopes will be the nadir in its sales. Traditionally, it has left its acquisitions to run themselves, but I suspect that from now on it will want to keep Jaguar on a much tighter leash. (John Waples, The Sunday Times) http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/columnists/article6797803.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

Repossessions fall 10% after pressure on banks

Dominic Walsh

Home repossessions fell in the second quarter of the year and cases of arrears levelled off as lenders responded to government pressure to show more forbearance to homeowners in difficulty.

Today’s figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) show that there were 11,400 cases of repossessions — equivalent to one mortgage in 1,000 — between April and June, 10 per cent fewer than the 12,700 in the first three months of the year.

However, on a year-on-year basis, the number of repossessions rose by 14 per cent, compared with the 10,000 cases in the second quarter of 2008.

The figures show a modest deterioration in arrears during the second quarter. At the end of the first half, the number of loans in arrears by 2.5 per cent or more of the outstanding mortgage balance totalled 205,600 — 1.85 per cent of all loans. That compared with 203,900 at the end of the first quarter, and 139,700 at the end of the second quarter of 2008.

Today’s figures mean that total repossessions in the first half of 2009 stand at 24,100. The CML is expecting repossessions for the whole year to reach 65,000.

The CML recently scaled back its prediction for repossessions during the year from 75,000 to 65,000 because of a range of government initiatives to help struggling homeowners, as well as increased tolerance on the part of lenders.

The Government’s initiatives include the Mortgage Rescue Scheme, under which people can sell some or all of their interest in their home to a social landlord and rent the property back, as well as the Homeowner Mortgage Support scheme, which enables people to defer paying interest on up to 70 per cent of their mortgage for up to two years.

A pre-action protocol was also introduced in November last year, under which the courts can grant a repossession order only if all alternative measures to keep people in their homes have failed.

Jackie Bennett, the CML’s head of policy, said that with unemployment rising and the economy still weak, the outlook would “remain challenging for the rest of this year and into 2010”.

But she added: “Today’s data shows that lenders are committed to helping borrowers manage their way through temporary payment problems and get their mortgage back on track over time, avoiding possession where possible.”

She said that low interest rates were also helping borrowers to resolve their arrears, but a commitment to resolving the situation by “paying what they can, when they can” and good communication with the lender were crucial.

“Lenders can only show forbearance if borrowers show a continuing determination to address their problems and discuss them with the lender at the earliest opportunity.”

Other data from the CML shows further signs of stabilisation in the mortgage market, but transactions are still weak on an historic basis. Lending for house purchase and remortgaging both increased in June, albeit from very low levels.

On Tuesday, the CML also published figures on house purchases in June. It said that there were 45,000 house purchase loans, worth £5.9 billion, up 23 per cent on the figure for May.

However, this was less than half the average number of loans in June over the past seven years.

A total of 116,700 house purchase loans were advanced in the second quarter, a 50 per cent increase from the preceding three months but down 22 per cent from the second quarter of 2008.

Separate CML figures on the buy-to-let market showed the first signs of stabilising in the second quarter as arrears improved significantly and the decline in new lending began to slow.

Some 21,600 new buy-to-let loans were made in the second quarter, a 4 per cent decline from 22,400 in the preceding three months.

The buy-to-let market, which is heavily reliant on wholesale funding, has suffered a sharp contraction during the credit crunch. Seven consecutive quarters of decline have left buy-to-let gross lending at very low levels.

Loans totalling £1.9 billion were made in the second quarter – 5.6 per cent of total mortgage lending – compared with £8.9 billion in the second quarter of 2008. Buy-to-let now accounts for 11.5 per cent of the total value of mortgages outstanding in the UK.

There were 29,400 mortgages in arrears of three months or more, down 17 per cent on the previous quarter. The number of mortgages in arrears of more than 1.5 per of the balance outstanding fell by 20 per cent to 22,900. (Dominic Walsh, The Times) http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/construction_and_property/article6795948.ece

Two years of pain and mega bonuses are back

Amazing how quickly the financial services industry has bounced back from the brink to compete for vast profits and top staff.  The stock market looks to have passed its inversion point and confidence is back.

Dominic O’Connell

Today is the second anniversary of the start of the credit crunch. Adam Applegarth, the disgarced former chief executive of Northern Rock, memorably said August 9, 2007, was the day “when the world changed”.

We all know what happened in the ensuing months, from Northern Rock to Bradford & Bingley, and onwards and downwards to Lehman Brothers, HBOS, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds.

Next year we might look back on last week as the credit crunch’s unofficial end. All the big UK banks reported promising results — promising in the sense that all, even the worst afflicted, could see light at the end of the tunnel.

Lloyds chief executive Eric Daniels confidently predicted his bank had passed the nadir of losses from HBOS’s bad loans, while Stephen Hester, his opposite number at RBS, set out a credible five-year plan to restore its credit rating, profitability and morale.

All the bank chiefs warned that consumer debt would continue to pile up as unemployment rises, but their caution did little to sour the market’s ebullience at the figures. The share prices of all the institutions shot up during the week.

The interesting common feature among the banks was how their investment-banking arms — roundly abused in the past for having helped to trigger the credit crisis through irresponsible trading and lending — have become goldmines. Barclays, HSBC and RBS all reported stellar profits from their investment-banking operations. Lloyds, which does not do this kind of business, was the exception.

There has rarely been a better time to be in this line of work. Companies are desperate to raise funds from rights issues (big fees for the banks), bond issues (big fees for the banks) or from restructuring of their existing loans (big fees for the banks). In bond and foreign-exchange trading, margins are at historically high levels thanks to a combination of unsettled markets and the withdrawal of competitors, such as Lehman Brothers. We are back into a mini-boom, with banks competing furiously to recruit the best people.

Guaranteed multi-year bonuses, which have been attacked as the worst kind of banking excess, are back. As one bank chief executive told me this week, you have little choice but to compete for the talent.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. Regulators were meant to change the rules to make sure that such bonuses would never be paid again. We had the Walker report on executive pay, and Barack Obama’s strictures on remuneration in America. Funnily enough, they do not seem to have curbed banks’ behaviour one bit.

There is, of course, another side to the argument. As taxpayers, we are the biggest shareholders in Lloyds and RBS. We should want them to make as much money as possible so we get the most out of our shares. It’s probably too late for Alistair Darling, the chancellor, to direct Lloyds to set up an investment-banking division, but maybe he should tell Hester to go out and find the best people he can — and damn the rules on bonuses.

Confidence abounds

GOOD TIMES for investment bankers might help to explain our surging markets. It’s as good an explanation as any for the sharp rise in equity and commodity markets over the past fortnight, a rise we look at more closely on the opposite page.

In equities, there are some rational explanations as to why the FTSE 100, in particular, has had such a good run.

First, the volumes of shares being traded is down on last year, so it requires fewer big trades to swing the market up or down. Second, because the FTSE 100 index is now so weighted towards financial institutions and commodity stocks such as oil and miners, good news in those sectors has a disproportionate effect.

It’s the same in commodities. The rational explanations are all there. In sugar, droughts in India have sent demand for exports spiralling. In iron ore (where prices went through $100 a tonne on Friday, up a quarter in the past month) it’s because Chinese steel mills have used up the stockpiles built during the recent trough in the steel market. Zinc, lead, oil, orange juice — all the commodities have their own little stories as to why prices should now be rising.

There is another, intangible, reason for the rises, which is the return of confidence, a feeling among investors that the few green shoots that are out there are not far off flowering. The question remains, however, whether confidence is in danger of turning into that other, more dangerous, driver of the markets described so well by Alan Greenspan, the former US Federal Reserve chairman — irrational exuberance.

Motor manoeuvres

THE 5,000 workers at Vauxhall face an anxious few weeks. General Motors — the new, vigorous, slimmed-down GM that recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in America — is about to choose the new owner of its European operations. These include Opel in Germany and Vauxhall here.

GM clearly favours RHJ, a Belgian industrial holding group with close ties to Ripplewood, an American private-equity firm. It’s not only GM’s decision, however. The German government has a strong say, given that it is being relied on to put up about €4 billion (£3.4 billion) of loans that the European operations need to keep trading.

It appears that the German government favours a bid from Magna, the Canadian car-parts maker, and a consortium of Russian interests led by Sberbank. The Magna offer holds out the prospect of more German jobs being preserved, an obvious priority for German politicians.

The British government will probably contribute some money to the rescue. As far as we are concerned, both bidders are making the right noises about keeping the UK plants — though their long-term future still looks shaky in the context of a contracting European car industry.

It is an interesting tussle. I suspect GM’s long-term game plan is to reassemble its global empire by buying back the European plants further down the track — hence its favouring of RJH ahead of Magna, which has grand plans to take GM technology and use it to expand in Russia.

The selection process looks likely to drag on — and might even prove too difficult an issue to tackle before the German elections next month. (Dominic O’Connell, The Sunday Times) http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/columnists/article6788547.ece

First net inflows in UK pooled property funds in a year

By Nick Duxbury

UK pooled property funds have seen the first net inflows in a year in the second quarter of 2009 according to the Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF).

In its Investment Quarterly for the second quarter of the year it revealed a net inflow of £52.4m from £320.4m of new money that entered pooled property funds compared to £268m of redemptions.

This was the first net inflow since the second quarter of 2008 when funds saw inflows of £39.2m.

The report, which examines trends in 67 UK unlisted pooled property funds representing a net asset value of £21.1bn, found that redemptions in the second quarter were significantly lower than previous quarters.

It also found that the secondary market traded £116m, up 114% from the previous quarter.

The weighted average yield was 5.7% in the second quarter – down on the previous quarter’s ten year high of 6.1% but still higher than the second quarter of last year’s weighted yield of 4.1%.

Pooled property fund total returns fell by 5.2% quarter-on-quarter in Q2 2009, compared to the previous quarter’s drop of 11.1%.

Over 12 months, returns were down 36.1% while real estate equities dropped by 43.4%.

Rachel McIsaac, AREF chief executive, said: ‘Not only were net sales positive for the first time in a year, but actual redemptions have also started to see a significant slowdown over the past couple of quarters.

‘This could be an indication that the direct property market cycle might be in the process of stabilising.

‘It is also worth noting that authorised property funds accounted for 63% of new money raised in Q2, signalling investor confidence is slowly returning.

‘This is in line with the Investment Management Association’s latest statistics which show authorised property funds first net retail inflow since Q3 2007.’ (Nick Duxbury, Property Week) http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=297&storycode=3146412&c=1