Investors have pulled £65bn out of the UK in March and April as market uncertainty around the upcoming Brexit vote rises, Bank of England figures show.
The BoE says the high sum was either taken out of the country or converted into other currencies in the the two months to April, the Telegraph reports. The rate of outflows was the greatest seen since early 2009.
In March alone £59bn was pulled from UK assets and currency and a total of £77bn was withdrawn in the half year to April, according to the BoE numbers.
A number of fund managers have already started to Brexit-proof their portfolios since the start of the year, repositioning away from sterling assets and transferring part of their investments away from the UK.
At the end of March, Apollo multi-asset manager Ryan Hughes told Fund Strategy he has invested in global equities fund Polar Cap Global Insurance in US dollars as part of what he calls a sterling weakness position, rather than an explicit Brexit position.
Architas’ Nathan Sweeney also says the firm is seeking managers taking a defensive position and only investing in core Europe.
Earlier this week, sterling volatility hit crisis levels surging 22 per cent after an online YouGov poll showed almost half of 3,500 Britons polled would opt for a leave vote.
Roberto Azevedo, head of the World Trade Organisation recently said trading terms after a possible Brexit could be “worse” than expected.
He said: “While trade would continue, it could be on worse terms. Most likely, it would cost more for the UK to trade with the same markets – therefore damaging the competitiveness of UK companies.”
He said possible renegotiations with countries in the WTO could take decades if the UK decides to leave the union.
He added: “The implication is that UK exporters would risk having to pay up to £5.6bn each year in duty on their exports.”
The EU referendum will be held in less than three weeks, on 23rd June.