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The UK referendum on EU membership is the big ‘known unknown’ for UK assets. If we’re right, it could be called for as early as June or as late as October 2016, with disincentives to carry it over to 2017.
Our base case remains Brexit is avoided, given the unlikelihood of wanting to risk weaker trade ties, FDI forgone, & a diluted relationship with the US. But, the uncertainty could soon build.
Should it go ahead, the mark-down in assets would be greatest on a ‘hard exit’ than the more probable (if there is Brexit) ‘softer version’ akin to Norway/Switzerland’s associate membership.
As a small open economy, removal of trade barriers & labour migration have probably benefi tted the UK. Critically, Brexit risks obfuscating regulation negotiations, & the UK’s strong FDI-appeal.
Despite saving the annual £8-10bn net EU transfer, other factors would eat into it, & QE reactivated. The only real precedent is Greenland whose exit took three years. A risk with the UK - larger & after 43 years more entwined - is it would need longer than this...
Neil WilliamsGroup Chief EconomistNeil joined Hermes in August 2009 and is responsible for Hermes’ economic research. He has a forward-looking approach to generate investment strategy ideas. Neil adopts top-down methods – macro and market analysis to identify interest rate and credit value, and sovereign default risk. Neil began his career in 1987 at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), becoming its youngest ever Head of Economic Policy. He went on to hold a number of senior positions in investment banks - including Director of Bond Research at UBS, Head of Research at Sumitomo International, Global Head of Emerging Markets Research at PaineWebber International, and, before coming to Hermes, Head of Sovereign Research and Strategy at Mizuho International. Neil has 30 years’ industry experience and earned an MA in Economics in 1986 from Manchester University, having the previous year completed his BSc (Hons), also in Economics, from University College Swansea. Read all articles by Neil Williams