Ready, set, go: Pension scheme investors need to be ready to react quickly in run up to EU referendum

Hayley Kirton
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On the blocks
Have fun: 2016 is likely to be a bumpy ride, warned LCP (Source: Getty)

Pension scheme trustees should pour their coffee is extra strong over the next few weeks, as research out today has found they'll need to be quick to react in the run up to the EU referendum.

Investment consultants LCP warned that, thanks to the level of uncertainty caused by the upcoming vote, pension trustees will have to be prepared to react quickly to shield their scheme from risks or take advantage of opportunities.

The consultants also point out that this held true regardless of which way the vote goes.

"A clear vote to remain would likely rekindle the currently weakened UK economy in the short term," said Ian Mills, partner at LCP. "Sterling is likely to appreciate as investors unwind their defensive positions and international investors welcome the certainty provided by the result."

Read more: EU vote registration deadline extended to midnight on 9 June

Meanwhile, the consultants mused that a Leave vote would like cause a shock to the markets as well and make an interest rate rise even more unlikely in the short-term, with Mills adding: "Sterling would likely fall further in value, credit spreads may well widen and companies that rely heavily on UK and EU revenues could suffer in equity markets, at least in the short term.

"But while a fall in sterling might sound like bad news, pension schemes with significant unhedged overseas investments could actually see their asset values increase – at least in sterling terms."

However, LCP also urges people not to get too distracted by the 23 June vote, pointing out that there are plenty of other factors that could upset the markets even more, such as the debt build-up in China and the US president election.

Read more: Euroscepticism in Europe is on the rise

"The only thing we can say with certainty is that 2016 will continue to be a bumpy one for investors," said Mills. "Clearly schemes cannot second-guess the outcomes of all these events – and others currently unknown – but they can ensure they remain diversified and ready to take action.

"We recommend trustees stay very close to their advisers over the coming weeks and months."