Brexit gains momentum

By Clive Hale, director, FundCalibre

Added 11th May 2016

Central banks continue down the path of crazy monetary policy: the Fed has a lot on its mind, but doesn’t feel inclined to share its thoughts in case they trigger a melt down, whilst in Blighty the Bank of England have said they are testing the efficacy of an interest rate cut if Brexit occurs.

Brexit gains momentum

I'm not sure that cut from a very small number to an even smaller one is going to do much to help though, is it?

Since Obama and Abe weighed in on the debate and told us to toe the line, a 'leave' vote is beginning to look like a serious option.  If Cameron hoped their intervention would help swing things in his favour, he was seriously mistaken – Brits simply don't like being told what to do!

In a similar vein, telling the City that Brexit is the best option usually falls on deaf ears but fund managers are beginning to look at defensive positioning in case they wake up on 24th June and find that we are “out”. As the referendum looms we are likely to see a plethora of stories along these lines. We're a little over a month away from the vote and the mainstream media are still failing to address a number of issues:

1) A one-size-fits-all currency and interest rate regime is a disaster waiting to happen in a mature, diverse and inflexible economy - ask Greece and Cyprus. Political union, which might address this issue, won’t happen with the current euro membership in tact - if ever! It is, however, their over-riding political goal. As the UK is firmly against such a union, just how much clout do you think we have by remaining inside when we don’t want to play ball? 2) Successful countries, just like companies, adapt and adjust as situations dictate. There are 28 separate voices around the EU table and stalemate is the inevitable outcome; unless everyone agrees with Germany. In reality much negotiating is done in 'secret' (TTIP). Regulations are of course publicly available (ex TTIP, although Greenpeace have done us all a favour)…if you know where to look…and have a lawyer handy to interpret them. 3) The leaders of the EU have failed to remedy any of the causes of the global financial crisis of 2008. Economic policy is not only failing, it is compounding the problems it is meant to solve. Productivity is declining, which means more economic stagnation for longer - ask Japan how it works. The banking system is the EU’s Achilles heel and Draghi may have to do more than “whatever it takes” when, not if, the next banking crisis arrives.

Last month I mentioned a few absolute return funds to help us through these 'interesting times'. If they don't appeal, defensive multi-asset is another option. Elite Rated Artemis Strategic Assets, F&C MM Navigator Distribution, Jupiter Merlin Balanced and Rathbone Strategic Growth Portfolio are worth a look.

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. Clive's views are his own and do not constitute financial advice.

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