Standard Life Investments has suspended trading in its UK property fund blaming “exceptional market circumstances” following the EU referendum result.

The fund manager said the number of investors asking to withdraw their money had increased following the vote.

The last time it stopped investors taking their money out of the fund was eight years ago in the heat of the financial crisis.

“The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors in the fund,” said Standard Life in a statement on Monday evening.

The £2.9bn fund invests in a mixture of commercial real estate in the UK, including offices, industrial units, leisure, shopping centres.

The move comes after Standard Life Investments, the insurer’s fund management arm, wrote down the value of the fund by 5% last week, saying the Brexit vote had “negatively impacted” valuations for UK commercial property.

Decision reviewed every 28 days

It said the suspension would end “as soon as practicable” and it would review the decision every 28 days.

Following the EU referendum vote, a number of other big property funds cut the estimated value of their holdings.

Henderson Global Investors and Aberdeen Asset Management reduced the value of their UK property funds by 4% and 5% respectively.

Several fund managers have also decided to price their property funds weekly, rather than monthly, to try to safeguard themselves against market volatility.

In the run up to the EU vote investors sold off UK and property funds in favour of bonds. Private investors withdrew a net £342m from UK funds in May, compared to a £1.1bn investment in the same month last year, according to figures from fund manager trade body the Investment Association.

Last week, one of Singapore’s largest lenders, UOB, suspended its loan programme for London properties. The bank said the decision was in response to the uncertainty caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.​