Nordea Life & Pension in Denmark says the investments behind its main pension product have been positioned for a long time to cope well with either outcome from Thursday’s UK referendum on EU membership, and that a “leave” vote could well be a buying opportunity.
Anders Schelde, CIO at the Nordic banking group’s pensions arm in Denmark, said: “Our base case, in case of a Brexit, is that it could very well be a buying opportunity, so we will watch markets carefully on Friday and see what happens.”
The DKK55bn (€7.4bn) portfolio of Nordea Life & Pension’s flagship Vækstpension (growth pension) product, which is now bought by 90% of new clients, has long been prepared for either outcome of Thurday’s vote in the UK, he said.
“Earlier on, we have had investments in London properties, in sterling and in equities,” he said.
The London properties had been sold off more than a year ago because Nordea Life & Pension felt the real estate market in the UK capital had become a bit overheated, he said.
“We have had the British pound hedged for a long time, so we are not at risk from swinging currency levels,” Schelde said.
Two weeks ago, the investment team decided to reduce the risk in its equities portfolio somewhat in the light of, inter alia, the upcoming EU referendum, he said.
“Vækspension is therefore ready for the British referendum – however it turns out,” he said.
Schelde said turbulent markets could also create new opportunities.
“If there is a ‘no’ to the EU, and the market reacts by selling pounds, then the price of the currency will fall, in which case we could, for example, consider getting rid of our hedging of the currency and thus exploit the lower rates,” he said.
He added that, since it is impossible impossible to know what will happen in advance, the team is following the situation very closely.