The UK has voted to leave the European Union, with 52 per cent of the British public voting to leave.
While all the results have yet to be called, the leave campaign has 16,835,512 votes to the 15,692,093 votes for Remain, marking 52 per cent in favour of Leave and 48 per cent for Remaining in the EU. The vote will end the UK’s 43-year membership of the EU.
The likely outcome of the referendum has sent shockwaves through markets, with the pound falling to a 30-year low, with markets having previously priced in a Remain vote.
The pound has dropped by 10 per cent on its intraday trading, with experts saying the hit to markets could be worse than the 2008 crisis.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage told cheering supporters: “Let June 23 go down in history as independence day.”
Initial reaction from Toby Nangle, head of multi-asset allocation for EMEA at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, says markets were “clearly unprepared” for the outcome.
“As such we are now entering a period of profound economic, financial and political uncertainty,” he says. “We lack a clear vision of what future relationship the United Kingdom will have with its largest trading partner, the timescale of the exit, and the configuration of the domestic party political landscape after a brutal campaign.”
Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, says markets were “falsely complacent” ahead of the vote.
“Whichever way the final results comes in, it is clear there will be no landslide victory for either the Remain nor the Leave campaign. This enormously split vote represents an enormously split country and this will, undoubtedly, lead to continued and increased volatility in financial markets,” he says. “Should Leave vote win, we can expect a highly turbulent time in the markets created by huge uncertainty.”
Earlier this week, billionaire investor George Soros warned a vote to leave the EU would spark “black Friday” resulting in a devaluation of the pound that would leave voters worse off. He said sterling could potentially fall by more than 20 per cent.
In the long term, Irwin Mitchell Asset Management partner Richard Potts says the Leave vote will prolong market uncertainties but a clearer outcome will depend on how the process of the UK leaving the EU develops.
He says: “An orderly process with both sides co-operating could see the short-term turmoil overcome, beneficial new trade agreements put in place and economic growth accelerating. Sterling, equities and property would recover in anticipation of better times.”
Potts says a “troubled” political and economical transition will see market volatility continue.
He says: “Markets react badly to uncertainty and will remain depressed until clarity about the future emerges. An acrimonious exit between will prolong the uncertainty, and economic growth in UK and Europe is likely to slow, with the potential to adversely impact the rest of the world.”