We woke up this morning to the news that the UK public has voted to leave the European Union. Until last night the general expectation was that the Remain vote would win, albeit by a narrow margin, but the outcome went the other way leaving many people, the financial markets and spectators across the globe, in a state of shock. The falls in share prices and Sterling today are a knee-jerk reaction and we can only hope that there will be fewer emotional responses in the coming days, weeks and months.
Markets, meaning both stock market and currency markets, do not like uncertainty, or surprises, and this outcome ticks both of those boxes, hence today’s significant falls in values. As the initial reaction in financial markets has shown, for investors and companies, this is by some margin, the worst of the two possible outcomes of the referendum – for the short term at least.
The UK will not leave the EU overnight and this is far from a UK only issue. There will be no immediate change in the UK’s status as negotiations will now begin to plan the next steps. These negotiations could result in the establishment of a different kind of trading partnership.
The ripple effect is being felt globally and there will be repercussions in all markets and sectors but I still think that the UK will remain a fundamentally sound place from an economic perspective. There is already talk of a second Scottish referendum but we can only hope that there will be time for reflection before any further big changes.
My message to everyone is a simple “don’t panic”. Equity markets, whether through the purchase of shares, or as for many people, investment via mutual funds in pensions, savings plans and offshore bonds, are not for the short term. And making rash decisions now will be wrong. Instead we have to take a watching brief for the time being and see what happens as so much is currently unknown.
My clients are all invested in ways that suit their personal risk profiles, their timeframes and personal circumstances. We will all be seeing a fall in the value of our investments but unless you pull out of markets these are paper losses. There is no need to make a physical loss so hang on in there.
If you are investing on a monthly basis you are theoretically in a good position as you are buying more units in your funds than before and will benefit from markets moving upwards. If you have previously invested a lump sum, then the right asset allocation will minimize losses and you will be in the right place when markets start to rise again, which they will in time. This is potentially a time to consider investing, at least when the dust has started to settle in a few days, or weeks, time.
Given the current market turmoil I will postpone all investment reviews for a short while as I want to see what happens before making further recommendations and also because valuations for the next few days will not be representative of the true positions of investments.
If you want to take advantage of the weakness of Sterling to transfer your Dirhams, Dollars or any other currency I can introduce you to a UK regulated exchange company that offers highly competitive rates, especially for large amounts.
For more information on managing investments as well as expert advice on any other financial planning issue please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org