Much of focus in the run-up to the referendum has been on wealth managers’ taking a defensive stance in anticipation of market volatility, whether that’s in cash, gold or absolute return funds.
David Coombs, head of multi-asset at Rathbones, is one to have already made his move having significantly upped his portfolios’ cash holdings to a highest ever tactical weighting following last week’s polls which showed a lead for the Leave campaign.
The Rathbone Total Return Portfolio now runs 19% cash, while the medium-risk Strategic Growth Portfolio is up to 13% in money markets with Coombs having sold out of conventional gilts.
“If we do vote to leave, I want to have a load of cash and hopefully be buying – I think the FTSE will be hit but a lot of the overseas earners will go with it,” he explains.
“I will have a shopping list of the likes of Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Shell, WPP and Carnival to pick up. There will be a whole list I’ll be looking to buy that Friday evening assuming there is a 5% correction in the FTSE.”
"While consensus suggests that the FTSE would welcome a remain vote, but tank on Brexit, fixed income markets are much harder to predict"
However, if Britain votes to remain part of the EU Coombs is unlikely to add to equities, rather he will look for opportunities in fixed income.
“I suspect if we remain in then the stock market will rally, but I probably won’t buy into that rally. I think it will be short term as the markets start to focus on slow growth in the eurozone and the US presidential election.
“I feel comfortable having a lot of liquidity, not just in terms of cash as even my bond portfolio is pretty liquid and my equities have a large-cap bias.”