Post-Brexit: How Can Investors Best Plan for Known Unknowns?
On Thursday, June 23, 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The initial impact of Brexit on world markets was dramatic to say the least; the FTSE fell by eight percent as trading opened the following day, investors quickly bailed out of sterling, and London banking stocks were hit hard, falling as much as 21 percent. The repercussions of Brexit were felt throughout world markets.
So one month on, how are the markets performing and how can investors best plan for “known unknowns”?
Benjamin Franklin once said “out of adversity comes opportunity.” Many investors used the post Brexit market conditions as an opportunity to go bargain hunting and the result was that many markets recovered quickly. “FTSE 100 regains all its losses since shock Brexit vote” read a Guardian headline just a week after the referendum and currently the USA S&P 500 is experiencing record highs. Sterling is still weak, however, and there is still uncertainty in the air because no one really knows how the UK will look moving forward. It could take two years or more until the UK’s new relationship with the EU is clear and while this is the case, there will be opportunities for investors to capitalise on.
The post-Brexit environment has not only led to changes in the way investors look at the markets, but also to the ways that financial companies are shaping the products they offer to their customers. This signifies, perhaps, a wider trend in investment strategies and while it is still a good idea for investors to look to diversify their portfolios with options such as stocks and shares or using a platform such as IG Investments, it may well be that they need to freshen their approach to the way they look at each component within it and new opportunities.
For example, foreign exchange investors may be looking for sterling to hit what they consider to be a “natural floor” and at that juncture invest long in sterling in anticipation of a recovery. This data led approach could be just the strategy required to help investors wade through the waves of market speculation being reported in the media. Financial data could be key to medium term investment success and keeping a close eye on factors such as inflation and foreign investment may yield dividends. Alongside this, investors need to hone their skills when it comes to technical chart analysis, options traders, for example, will need to pinpoint new resistance levels on instruments such as the DAX, where post Brexit market adjustments are still burgeoning.
In the short term investors can best plan for known unknowns by re-evaluating their investment and risk strategy. Attempting to work out what is unknown would, in all probability, not be a productive use of investors time and energy, whereas analysing fresh data as it is available and applying that data to see the affect it has on various markets could prove to be the best way ahead and the key to unlocking new opportunities arising in the wake of Brexit.
Ben Barlow is a freelance finance writer specialising in stocks and shares, forex and ISAs. After studying business at Lancaster University, Ben worked at a number of financial institutions in London and New York and is now following his passion for writing.