We’ve had quite a few clients call us over recent weeks asking ‘what do we do given that Brexit is coming?’
It’s an understandable concern given that change is coming – and yet we don’t know what that change is going to look like.
As with any significant upcoming uncertainty our advice is to ‘sit tight’. After all, we’ve designed our portfolios to be adhered to in all weathers. More importantly we can’t be certain on what’s going to happen with market volatility, interest rates, or exchange rates in the event of Brexit.
After the vote in 2016 we saw significant exchange rate movements, and market volatility – and yet our portfolios are considerably higher than they were just two years ago, partly as a result of this.
There’s also the thought out there that the Bank of England may have increased interest rates to give scope to cut following Brexit if needs be.
So does ‘sitting tight’ mean doing nothing? Well, in a word, no.
One thing we’d always stress is the need for liquidity. Whilst we do feel that portfolios are designed to be adhered to we also know that a good cash reserve can provide a ‘cushion’ and mean that you can be more confident about letting the markets ‘do what they do best’.
When we get calls then what we’re asking our clients is ‘how is your cash looking?’, and perhaps more importantly ‘is there any significant expense coming in the next year or two?’
If the answer is ‘a bit low’ to the former or ‘yes’ to the latter then it’s not unreasonable to top up cash now – both to provide peace of mind, and to ensure that withdrawals aren’t ‘forced’ if markets are down.
It’s also worthwhile thinking about what you would do ‘if’ markets did take a downturn – especially if you’re dependent upon regular withdrawals. Would these reduce? Pause? Would cash be used to supplement income for a period? Or would they be maintained and a higher rate of drawdown accepted for a period?
Here at Eldon we think that all of these things should be considered, and whilst the advice is to ‘sit tight’ we always welcome calls from clients to discuss their options, and their concerns. It is, after all, why we are here.