Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

This Investment Bank Sold All U.K. Assets Before Brexit Vote

  • Stockholm-based investor began selling as polls narrowed
  • Sold out stocks and bonds in financial, consumer industies

Carnegie Investment Bank AB, which manages $17.2 billion for clients, sold all of its U.K. holdings as opinion polls narrowed ahead of the June vote to exit from the European Union.

“We had equities and corporate bonds in Britain before the vote,” chief strategist Henrik Drusebjerg said in a telephone interview on Monday. “We started selling off our U.K. holdings to absolute zero maybe a month before the vote,” he said. He wouldn’t give the value of the assets sold.

The Stockholm-based bank is staying out of U.K. investments because uncertainty remains too large a factor regarding negotiations to leave the EU, or even if Prime Minister Theresa May will secure one, the strategist told Bloomberg Radio earlier on Monday. A separate survey of 83 money managers commissioned by NN Investment Partners revealed that Brexit and the potential breakup of the EU was deemed the biggest investment threat globally for the investors.

Brexit: Impact on Investment

  1. The pound plunges to a three-decade low, with some warning of eventual parity with the dollar.
  2. Henderson Global Investors saw net retail outflows of £1 billion after the referendum.
  3. M&G, the asset management arm of UK insurer Prudential, plans to build a new investment unit in Luxembourg.
  4. M&G's £4.5 billion property portfolio will reopen in November, having been frozen in July.
  5. Prime central London offices may lose as much as 30 percent of their value by the end of next year.

“It will definitely end with a deal that is so bad they will either get an election about this new bad deal, or they will have to have a parliamentary election before that,” Drusebjerg said in the radio interview. “It’s very possible that Britain will never reach Brexit because I think down the road it will be obvious that the deal they will get will be really, really bad for the economy.”

Brexit is shaping up to be the worst of a slew of nationalist sentiment that’s hitting the global economy, the strategist said, citing a potential Donald Trump victory in U.S. elections, a constitutional vote in Italy in December to limit the power of the Senate and parliamentary votes next year in Germany and France.

That could result in the election of more politicians who advocate trade barriers, which would be negative for investors, he said.

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