How seven IFAs are preparing their clients for Brexit

As Britain braces for more turmoil over Brexit, seven IFAs tell us what they are doing to prepare their clients for departure from the EU

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. You may be sick of it, but there is more of it coming. 

You may be bored or fed up even, but there is no denying IFAs will play an important role in ensuring clients' money is not affected by any of the consequences of Britain's departure from the EU. 

Last week we held our annual conference and awards in the fitting location of Westminster. 

With just metres between us and the parliamentary estate, we asked seven IFAs to tell us what they thought would happen with Brexit, and how they were preparing their clients' portfolios for the end of March. 

Click on to read what they had to say. 

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. You may be sick of it, but there is more of it coming. 

You may be bored or fed up even, but there is no denying IFAs will play an important role in ensuring clients' money is not affected by any of the consequences of Britain's departure from the EU. 

Last week we held our annual conference and awards in the fitting location of Westminster. 

With just metres between us and the parliamentary estate, we asked seven IFAs to tell us what they thought would happen with Brexit, and how they were preparing their clients' portfolios for the end of March. 

Click on to read what they had to say. 

Name: Diane Weitz

Firm: Ashlea Financial Planning 

Location: Gloucestershire

As I see it...

When we get past the Article 50 deadline on 29 March, as long as there is a decision one way or the other, companies will know where they are. At the moment we just do not know. I sincerely hope we do not go for a no-deal Brexit as I think that would be disastrous.

As far as clients are concerned we have run quite diversified portfolios and we have just kept them going, because you have no control over Brexit and you cannot second guess what will happen.

UK equities, particularly mid and small cap, have suffered the most because of Brexit. I think that is a shame and it is unjustified.

If we are going to be on our own without Europe, the growth needs to come from the mid and small cap areas. For the big companies, in a way Brexit is not going to affect them because they are so international.

Name: Daniel Wackett

Firm: Altorfer Financial Management

Location: Hertfordshire

As I see it...

I would just like an outcome. I would like to know what is going on so we can advise clients.

At the moment it is impossible. From an adviser’s point of view, when I am trying to take a longer term approach with my clients, it is impossible. I wrote a newsletter last week that basically said ‘don’t panic’. It was not just about Brexit, there is also the US government shutdown, trade wars and worries over US interest rates. Brexit is one aspect everyone is talking about but not the only one if you are investing clients internationally. A weak pound could be good for some of our investments, and that is the message we are putting out to clients.

We are telling them to keep it diversified, do not be too risky, and look to preserve what you have rather than grow it too fast at the moment. I would rather we end up with a deal, and if Theresa May’s deal is the best we can get, I will take it.

Name: Darren Lloyd Thomas

Firm: Thomas and Thomas Financial Services

Location: Pembrokeshire

As I see it...

In the next few weeks there is a real danger of a vote of no confidence [in the government]. So we are hunkered down waiting for a really strong market drop. I think there is a possibility of a general election and sterling could really take a hit.

Globally we also have issues around America to worry about; it is not just domestic. So where do you go? We have positioned client portfolios to try to keep away from some of those issues as best we can. That means a little more exposure in places like Japan. Even UK property has been half decent, if you have really done your homework on UK funds and find out if they are London-centric or not.

It is an interesting time but it is likely Article 50 will be delayed. There is a bigger threat to our country than no deal, which is that we get nothing done and this gets kicked into the long grass. We could end up in a Greece-like scenario, which is going to wreck markets and wreck confidence.

Name: Ian White

Firm: Beckett Investment Management

Location: Suffolk

As I see it...

At this stage I am hoping for clarity and something we can work with, whatever that may be. We have no control over it. I do not think anyone really understands what a no deal means in reality.

It is unknown territory, so I cannot personally have strong views, but I would like to know what the outcome is going to be. From an advice perspective we are uncertain ourselves. We have no answers, and I do not think clients necessarily expect us to provide answers. I think clients really just want to chat. They just want to know we are keeping abreast of what is happening and making any appropriate moves we may have to make, but at the moment nobody knows what those are.

What strategic changes could we realistically make at this stage? It is a volatile market globally at the moment. Clients understand that and we have been warning them about it for two years, so they appreciate we are now in that period of volatility. Some are derisking, but very few. Most of our clients are in it for the long term and realise there are going to be ups and downs. They are not comfortable, but then nobody is comfortable. We are keeping an eye on their long-term savings and investments and doing the best we possibly can.

Name: Mandy Dale

Firm: Hanbury Wealth

Location: Hertfordshire

As I see it...

I had a view before this conference where I just wanted them to proceed with the deal on the table. But after hearing Tim Shipman, I think we need a second referendum to put it back to the public.

The question should be whether you want Theresa May’s existing deal or to remain, which would show movement and evolution, that we have learnt something from the past two years.

Our UK equity exposure has definitely swayed more towards large caps because of the influence of overseas earnings. Our property exposure has switched to global property rather than UK. We have also introduced more multi-asset funds into our clients’ portfolios that are able to respond quicker to the market.

Name: Steve Buttercase

Firm: Verve Investment Planning

Location: Cambridgeshire

As I see it...

Leaders will emerge, directions will appear and obstacles will be overcome, and hopefully quickly. I imagine it will be an uncertain 12 months. But I do expect a rally at some point when there is a little more certainty of where we are going, because we are an optimistic nation and once everybody knows what the problem is, they will deal with it.

Name: Dawn Adams

Firm: Landmark IFA

Location: Peterborough

As I see it...

Eventually they will sort something out but it will be close to the wire. It will be similar to Theresa May’s deal but with some amendments. I think she will lose her vote and they will go back and somewhere along the line they will come up with a compromise.

Last year we made some changes to our client portfolios. We took a few people out of UK growth funds and moved them to with-profits funds that have the smoothing effect. That is the best thing we have done because the PruFund is now making a profit.

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