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Polling day in the UK is almost here and it is the tightest election in decades. The manifestoes have been published, the party leaders have slogged it out on national TV and are now resorting to last minute promises to woo voters who are as yet undecided. But it is anyone’s guess as to how the votes will fall on 7th May and which party, or more likely, parties, will be leading the country over the next five years. A hung parliament seems by far the likeliest result.
Investors are understandably twitchy, with markets jittery and the pound at its lowest level against the dollar since 2010. Interest rates remain low and David Cameron is boasting of economic growth figures which are the envy of other beleaguered European nations, although experts say that the economy is still fragile. This view is backed up by figures released this week which revealed that Britain’s economy slowed sharply in the first quarter of this year. The rate of growth for gross domestic product was just 0.3%, the slowest rate since the end of 2012.
The biggest question mark which is unsettling investors is Britain’s future in the Eurozone. The Conservatives have promised an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU which many business leaders view as disastrous for the economy. Just last week HSBC warned of the economic risks of Britain leaving the union. The prospect of an EU exit would rock investor confidence in UK stocks and bonds as well as the pound and would lead to a freeze in spending by some companies. Analysts from Société Générale SA warned that exiting the UK might trigger a fall of 20% in the FTSE 100 by the end of 2017.
As ever, the key for investors is diversification which protects an investor’s portfolio from losing value by spreading the risk over a number of different investments. By that token, avoiding the UK market altogether is not necessary – don’t forget that undervalued companies are the best investments if you are in it for the long haul. What is inadvisable is focusing on any individual company, country or region. Keep it balanced by diversifying your investments.
If you don’t have the knowledge and skill to select a diversified portfolio – and frankly, few of us do – why not consider a multi-asset portfolio (MAP) which leaves all the hard work to a professional fund manager who has access to constantly updated information and will be continually monitoring your investments and adjusting the investment ratio to get the best possible return.
If you are concerned about your investments, our financial advisers can talk through the possibilities with you and work out a financial strategy which will put your mind at rest.
To discuss investments, savings or any financial planning issue get in touch today.
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