Brexit has triggered calls from thousands of expat and international investors wondering if to shift their assets out of the UK, says the boss of a leading global financial advice firm.
Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group says one in five of his company’s 80,000 clients spanning 100 countries is worried about how Brexit could damage their wealth.
And the inquiries are still flooding in even though Prime Minister Theresa May has signalled she wants to finalise the Brexit deal within a week.
“The pace of this trend picked up over the first three months of this year as the Brexit chaos fell into a national crisis for the UK,” said Green.
“The monumental level of uncertainty caused by Brexit has prompted many clients to seek established, legitimate overseas opportunities in other highly regulated jurisdictions in order to grow, build – and importantly – safeguard their wealth.
Uncertainty is a problem
“For many, it is the sheer depth of the uncertainty that astonishingly remains, that is alarming.
Green explained that uncertainty was the major concern for his clients, who don’t know whether to quit the UK or wait to see what happens.
“They tell us that despite it seemingly likely that Britain is moving in the direction of a soft Brexit, many uncertainties hang heavy over the spiralling situation,” he said.
“There is uncertainty on all levels. For instance, it is unlikely that the government will agree to Labour’s alternative plan and Labour MPs will not vote for a deal without a public vote, meaning it will not get through the House of Commons. So what happens then?
“Will there be another extension? Parliament has asserted itself that the UK must not leave with no withdrawal agreement in place, which is something the EU is also keen to avoid.
“Also, it’s unlikely that there will be a general election as Conservatives will not vote for one.
Will May stay or will she go?
“It is still unclear when Prime Minister Theresa May is going to leave office and, crucially, who will succeed her. Will it be a Brexiter like Boris Johnson who would then shift towards a harder Brexit?
“The influential 1922 committee of Tory Backbenchers are the only figures who could realistically force her to go. They’ve recently rejected a rule change that would allow her to be challenged for her leadership again. However, if the Conservatives do badly at the local elections on Thursday, this ruling could also perhaps be revisited.”
“UK and international investors in UK assets are responding to the uncertainties posed by Brexit by considering removing their wealth from the UK.
“It could be argued that many UK investors should be doing this anyway. There is a strong home bias approach which tends to distort investors’ asset allocation, and that leads to a lack of geographical diversification. The Brexit chaos may be a good excuse to start that much-needed rebalancing in favour of global equities, bonds and perhaps property.”