by Jake Moeller.
We have just passed the two-year anniversary of the “Brexit” vote, and we are now heading into another crucial week. British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with her cabinet on Friday to finesse further details of the U.K.’s imminent departure from the European Union.
From a mutual-funds perspective there certainly are potential material impacts on how the U.K.’s current fund passporting arrangements will be accommodated (or otherwise) in the new relationship with the EU. Fund houses are undoubtedly hoping for some clarity on this soon.
Despite the uncertainty around Brexit for U.K. firms, the two-year period since the initial vote has coincided with strong performance of funds in Thomson Reuters Lipper classifications popular with U.K. investors, particularly equities:
|Lipper Global Classification||% Growth 24/06/2016 to 19/06/2018 (in GBP)|
|Lipper Global Bond GBP Corporates||7.5|
|Lipper Global Bond GBP Government||3.0|
|Lipper Global Bond GBP High Yield||8.1|
|Lipper Global Equity Europe ex UK||34.8|
|Lipper Global Equity UK||30.7|
|Lipper Global Equity US||42.2|
Fund volatility (as measured by the daily rolling ten-day standard deviation) of Lipper fund classifications popular with U.K. investors has declined markedly from the date of the Brexit vote, never returning to the original spike of late June 2016 (see chart below).
Exhibit 1. Daily rolling 10-day volatility of Lipper Fund Classifications
The inflation-led correction in U.S. markets from February 2018 can be clearly seen, but by comparison has caused less disruption–especially in bond fund volatility–than has the Brexit vote. This may be a signal that Brexit has now fizzled from a global news item into a particularly local event.
|Lipper Global Classification||% change in rolling 10-day volatility (1/7/2016 to 19/06/2018)|
|Bond GBP Corporates||-62%|
|Bond GBP Government||-69%|
|Equity Europe ex UK||-25%|
It’s difficult to interpret fund flows in the context of a single geopolitical event such as Brexit because of the myriad factors that determine investor preferences. From the end of June 2016 to the end of May 2018 estimated net flows into U.K.-domiciled funds are £55.4 billion. This can be considered a reasonable figure and is proportionally commensurate with pan-European flows.
Global equity funds have certainly been winners, likely supported by strong performance. Interestingly, however, there have been net outflows from U.K. equity funds and U.K. equity income funds, despite robust performance (some of which is undoubtedly attributable to the fall in Sterling since the vote). Global equity income funds too have suffered outflows perhaps as many popular “bond proxy” stocks become more expensive and investors buy into the global growth story.
The ten top Lipper global classifications ranked by estimated net flows (£m) are:
|Money Market GBP||£10,066|
|Equity Global ex UK||£6,448|
|Mixed Asset GBP Aggressive||£4,237|
|Absolute Return GBP High||£3,562|
|Bond Global High Yield||£3,083|
|Bond GBP Government||£2,653|
|Mixed Asset GBP Balanced||£2,551|
|Mixed Asset GBP Conservative||£2,288|
The ten bottom Lipper global classifications ranked by estimated net flows (£m) are:
|Equity UK Income||-£11,793|
|Equity Global Income||-£5,443|
|Absolute Return GBP Medium||-£2,419|
|Equity Sector Real Est Other||-£1,460|
|Equity UK Sm&Mid Cap||-£1,404|
|Bond EUR Corporates||-£856|
|Real Estate UK||-£821|
|Bond GBP High Yield||-£634|
|Alternative Equity Market Neutral||-£472|
For many fund managers the aforementioned uncertainty surrounding passporting has caused them to consider solutions to ensure they will be able to sell their product suites throughout Europe.
In the two years since the Brexit vote there have been 309 U.K.-domiciled funds launched and 307 Dublin-domiciled funds registered for sale (RFS) in the U.K. launched (primary funds only). Interestingly, the latter figure actually represents a 25% decrease from the number of Dublin-based RFS U.K. funds launched in the two years before the Brexit vote.
Anecdotally, I would have expected the number of Dublin launches of funds registered for sale into the U.K. to be proportionally higher, but as with all things Brexit, interpreting numbers can be as difficult as reading tea leaves.
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This material is provided for as market commentary and for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or advice. Thomson Reuters cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. Please consult with a qualified professional for financial advice.