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Wealthy Investors to Reduce UK Exposure Following Brexit Vote

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A majority of high-net-worth individuals want to rebalance and diversify their investment portfolios in order to reduce their exposure to U.K.-based assets in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to a recent global poll by deVere Group.

deVere Group surveyed 770 clients with investable assets of $1.3 million or more, and asked them “Do you intend to decrease your investment exposure to the U.K. during the remainder of 2016 following Britain’s decision to leave the EU?” 

Of those surveyed, 69% said “yes.” Meanwhile, 18% responded “no” and 13% said they did not yet know.

According to Nigel Green, deVere Group’s founder and CEO, the poll’s results show that HNW investors are overwhelmingly considering rebalancing and diversifying their portfolios following the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union.

“These HNW investors are seeking to reduce their exposure to U.K.-based assets in the wake of the impending Brexit,” he said in a statement. “It would appear that they believe Brexit negotiations will be complex, and are likely to cause a flatter U.K. economy, and that other countries will achieve higher levels of growth in this period and, therefore, will produce higher returns.”

According to Green, Brexit may be a catalyst for many HNW investors to widen the scope of diversification within their portfolios. 

“Indeed, irrespective of the Brexit vote, it is always recommended that for investors to ‘think global’ in regards to their portfolio,” Green said in a statement. “Three of the fundamentals of a properly diversified portfolio are investing across geographical regions, industrial sector and asset class.” 

Green says it’s a myth that international investing presents a higher risk.

“The more diversified the investment portfolio, encompassing a global focus, the greater the reduction of risk,” he stated. “Furthermore, investors must ‘think global’ when it comes to considering other geopolitical risks. These include China’s economic growth; the threat of a Brexit contagion effect as other member states potentially seek to exit the European Union, and the U.S. election in November.

While the trend is clear for people to consider a shift away from U.K.-based assets, U.K. property appears to remain immune from this, according to deVere.

The mortgages division of deVere Group has reported a surge in inquiries since Brexit.

Mortgage enquiries from overseas buyers have risen 50% since the Brexit result, according to deVere Mortgages. DeVere Mortgages, which specialises in U.K. mortgages for expats and overseas buyers, predominantly from the Middle East, Europe and Far East, confirmed the uptick is a direct outcome of the result.

Mike Coady, managing director of deVere Mortgages, says the surge is partly due to the fact that many potential purchasers were putting off inquiring about mortgages and waiting for the referendum result to see how the land lies.

“Now we have the outcome, a high proportion of these have swung into action,” he said in a statement.

Another factor that’s driven the surge in U.K. mortgages is the drop in the pound’s value.

“The pound has plummeted since the Brexit vote’s decision was announced. It is down approximately 11.5% against the dollar and 10.5% against the euro,” Coady said in a statement. “As such, those buying in the U.K. with their local foreign currency are finding more value than before.”

deVere Group, which is one of the largest independent advisors of specialist global financial solutions, has a network of more than 70 offices across the world with more than 80,000 clients and $10 billion under advisement.

For this poll, deVere Group surveyed 770 people with investable assets of $1.3 million or more from countries including the U.S., the U.K., Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong, South Africa and Switzerland in July 2016.

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