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Institutional Investors’ Brexit Outlook Not So Gloomy: State Street

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Now that Prime Minister Theresa May has laid out Britain’s plan to exit the EU, a new study released by State Street finds that professional investors are unlikely to unload their U.K. assets in the short term.

Sixty-three percent of institutional and alternatives investors surveyed expected their own firm to maintain their holdings of U.K. assets in the coming six months. Sixteen percent believed assets would decrease, while 13% said they would increase.

State Street and PollRight, a market research agency, conducted a poll in December and early January of 111 institutional and alternatives investors, including hedge funds, real estate and private equity. This followed from an initial study conducted earlier in the fourth quarter among 161 professional investors.

Michael Metcalfe, head of global macro strategy at State Street Global Advisors, said in a statement that markets seemed to have “mostly moved on” since the Brexit referendum result.

“The extremely gloomy pre-Brexit predictions for the U.K. economy and asset markets look well off the mark,” Metcalfe said.

However, the new poll found that 48% of investors expected foreign investment levels into the U.K. to drop in the coming quarter and the country to continue to suffer as a result of Brexit.

Forty-three percent had a neutral outlook on medium-term global economic growth, down from 47% in the fourth quarter. Thirty-three percent expressed a positive view, up a percentage point from the third quarter, and 19% a negative outlook, up three points from the third quarter.

More than three-quarters of investors polled said Brexit would have some effect on their business operating model, up four points from the fourth quarter.

“Many appear well-prepared for Brexit and are proactively putting strategies in place to mitigate any ensuing impact,” Jeff Conway, chief executive of EMEA at State Street, said in the statement.

Investors said regulatory reporting was the area their firms would need most help with following Brexit, with 32% citing this factor, way up from 21% last quarter.

Fifteen percent cited performance and risk analytics, up from 12%, and 12% said fund restructuring, up from 10%.

The number of respondents now expecting an increase in the level of investment risk over the next three to five years held steady from last quarter at 26%, while those anticipating a decrease rose to 31% in January from 26% in October.

— Check out 5 Key Considerations for Investors in 2017: Janus on ThinkAdvisor.