Almost $2 billion has flowed out of U.K. equity funds in the last two months amid heightened uncertainty over what a yes vote for Scottish independence will mean for the stock market.
Funds that invest purely in U.K. equities experienced 27 days of gross outflows from July 1 to Sept. 8, equivalent to $1.97 billion, versus 23 days of inflows, according to data from EPFR Global, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company that tracks fund flows.
“Sentiment for U.K. stocks has dropped,” said Manish Kabra, a European equity and quant strategist at Bank of America Corp. in London. “Over the last five months we have seen outflows from U.K. stocks, but what has surely happened over the last two months is those outflows have picked up.”
Investors are withdrawing funds ahead of next week’s referendum that will determine whether Scotland will break away from the U.K., creating Europe’s newest sovereign state. The stakes were raised after a YouGov Plc poll at the weekend put the Yes campaign ahead with 51 percent support.
Kabra said investors were selling U.K. assets and looking to the U.S. and Japan for opportunities. A report from BofA last month showed global fund managers owned the least U.K. equities since February 2013. The survey showed more of the respondents, who together oversee about $529 billion in assets, were underweight than overweight, meaning they own proportionately less U.K. stocks than are represented in benchmarks.
Alain Bokobza, head of global asset allocation at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a report yesterday that the acceleration in outflows was due to fears that an independent Scotland could lead to the U.K. breaking way from the European Union.
© Copyright 2024 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.