Four lessons to be learned from Brexit
by Charles Cheng, CFA – Clarity Investment Partners
鄭又銓, CFA -可承資本
When British voters voted to leave the European Union in the referendum on June 23rd, the reaction of financial markets was sharp and showed that market participants had been caught off guard. The FTSE 100 UK equities index fell as much at -8.5% intraday. Markets of other countries were staggered as well. The US S&P 500 fell as much as 5% in two days, the Hong Kong Hang Seng index as much as 6.1%. The pound sterling fell around 8% against the US dollar and other currencies also lost ground. News outlets reported on the uncertainties and negative economic consequences resulting from the decision while panicked investors began to pull their money from mutual funds.
當英國選民在6月23日公投贊成離開歐盟後，金融市場反應很激烈，也顯示出投資者對於這個結果的猝不及防。FTSE 英國100指數在盤中下跌8.5%。其他國家的股票市場也受其拖累有所下跌。美國標普500下挫5%,香港恆生指數下跌6.1%。 英鎊兌美元下跌8%，其他一些貨幣也有不同程度的下跌。新聞媒體對脫歐所帶來的不確定性及經濟的負面報導，引起恐慌的投資人開始回贖共同基金。
What happened next showed that these actions may have been too hasty. By the end of the week equity markets had rebounded and indeed continued to hit new highs. Many investors may have sold out at a loss, as over $17 billion dollars was withdrawn from funds during the week as reported by data provider EPFR, and more in direct share sales.
Here are some potential lessons to be learned from this event from an investment point of view.
1) When markets are complacent, prepare for the unexpected
Before the vote, the Pound was trading at year to date highs. Equity market volatility was at depressed levels. It was clear that markets were complacent about the possibility of the UK leaving the EU. In this situation the upside is limited in a positive scenario and the downside may be steep in a negative scenario. When the result was not as expected both equities and currencies sold off harshly.
2) Anticipate not only the consequences of events but also the reactions to those events
Market movements following major market events are not only influenced by the event itself but by the response of policymakers. Part of the reason that markets rebounded so quickly was that central banks around the world moved swiftly to prevent a panic in the financial system. The ECB, Bank of England, and Federal Reserve all announced that they would supply liquidity to the markets in the form of loans to banks and currency swap lines with each other. Several central banks hinted that the turmoil following the vote would impact their future rate hiking decisions, providing more fuel for the Bulls.
事件發生後市場的一些大波動不僅是由事件本身導致的，決策者的反應也影響市場的走向。這次市場反彈如此迅速的部分原因是各國央行行動十分迅速以防止金融系統恐慌。歐洲央行、英國央行和美聯儲均宣布他們將為銀行提供流動性 — 以貸款及設立貨幣互換額度為之。多國央行曾暗示公投後的市場混亂將影響其升息的決定，這也為牛市提供了更多燃料。
3) Don’t overreact to news
When news happens, it’s usually too late to trade on it. When most investors sold out of their equity positions, many would have gotten out at around the lowest point. In the trading immediately following the vote, the FTSE 100 Index opened at its lowest point on the day and rose from there. By the end of the month, the index had risen around 13% meaning that investors who panicked ended up far worse than investors who decided to stay the course.
4) Timing the market is very hard
Even had one correctly predicted the outcome of the vote they would have also had to correctly buy back in within the first two days in order to profit from their foresight.
While the vote will likely have a real economic impact as well as result in some political risks, the impact to the global economy in the short term is uncertain and is likely balanced by the actions of central banks. The IMF trimmed its growth forecast for global GDP by 0.1 percent and said that the impact to economies outside of the euro area would be very limited. For a long term investor, this would be just a minor consideration for making investment decisions.
Mr. Cheng is a managing partner at Clarity Investment Partners, a Hong Kong based independent private investment office that directly manages personal accounts for families and institutions. www.clarityinvestment.com