Investors 'sought safety after Brexit'

Briefcase and cash Image copyright Thinkstock

Personal investors took a safety-first approach with their portfolios after the UK's vote to leave the EU, new figures show.

Investors withdrew £1bn from investment funds in July, with some moving their money into fixed-income products, the Investment Association said.

This withdrawal was not as dramatic as the amounts taken out in June, when the vote was taken.

It did mark a significant shift from the £3.7bn inflow in July last year.

"UK retail investors remained cautious as they sold out of equity and property funds, favouring fixed income, mixed-asset and absolute return strategies," said Guy Sears, interim chief executive of the Investment Association.

"Although global equity markets initially fell following the EU referendum announcement, they recovered through July to produce positive returns."


Analysts said that there had been a strong rebound, but there were still reasons to be cautious.

"Concerns around the scale of China's credit bubble have not gone away, markets want greater clarity on the direction of US monetary policy and US elections will increasingly coming into focus when the televised debates begin in late September," said Jason Hollands, managing director of Tilney Bestinvest.

"But above all, asset prices look pretty expensive at a time when the outlook for global growth is far from bullish."

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "There was extremely negative sentiment towards markets in the immediate wake of the referendum, though the continued strong performance of stocks, combined with the Bank of England's stimulus package, is likely to result in a bit more positivity in August.

"While large sums have clearly been withdrawn from equity funds, the yields on offer from bonds and cash are pretty crummy right now, and for long-term investors, the stock market at least gives them a fighting chance of beating inflation."

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