U.K. Exporters Are the Big Bet for This $7.4 Billion Danish Fund

Updated on

The U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union and the plunge in the pound is opening opportunities for Denmark’s largest independent asset manager.

As the turmoil slowly settles from the June 23 shock vote, the 50 billion-krone ($7.4 billion) Formuepleje fund is looking to unwind exposure in longer maturity Danish mortgage bonds and to snap up shares in U.K. exporters.

“It is a setback on the political side, a major, important one, and there will be an impact on the economy especially in the U.K.,” said Soeren Astrup, a director at Aarhus, Denmark-based Formuepleje. “But will this change investors’ beliefs and thinking about risk? No. It’s just another contribution to volatility in a market that has been quite volatile. In such a market there are also opportunities.”

Formuepleje braced itself for the fallout of the U.K. vote in part of buying up longer term, callable Danish mortgage bonds, a move that has paid off. Now, it’s reconsidering amid its expectations that markets and economies will improve, Brexit notwithstanding.

“We have seen interest rates that kept falling so that was quite a good buffer,” Astrup said. “We’re contemplating hedging some of that duration away because we think it may be time that the market will at least normalize a little bit.”

It’s also now scouring markets for assets that’ll benefit from the pound’s beating. The currency last week hit a 31-year low as a number of property funds closed, echoing the real-estate tremors at the start of the financial crisis in 2007.

“We see opportunities in English companies with a large share of exports, 75 percent or more,” he said. “The depreciation of the pound will be a great contributor to competitiveness and to earnings as well. So there are different sorts of opportunities on the back of this.”

Investors have yet to agree on what to make of Brexit as Europe’s second-biggest economy moves into uncharted territory, leaderless until Conservatives announce Sept. 9 a successor to David Cameron. U.S. stocks on Friday erased Brexit losses to come within a record, even as bond yields likewise fell close to lows. Denmark’s 10-year government bond fell below zero last week, a record.

“It’s not the end of the world,” said Astrup. “The dust will settle in the market in the fall, when we see the chaos on the political side” subside, he said.