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‘Keep calm and carry on’ says OMGI’s Buxton as Brexit campaign hots up

Written by: Adam Lewis
Old Mutual Global Investors’ (OMGI) head of UK equities Richard Buxton says putting any investments on hold in the run to the upcoming EU referendum risks fuelling a lack of confidence in the UK market.

Buxton, who also manages the £2.3bn Old Mutual UK Alpha fund, says that any jitters in the UK stock market ahead of the referendum vote on 23 June are “at complete loggerheads with what UK company bosses are telling us”.

“Consumer sluggishness aside, the key to propelling UK growth forward is corporate sector confidence – reflected through investment and innovation,” says Buxton, who made the high profile move to OMGI from Schroders in 2013.

“As a country, our ability to innovate pervades the pharmaceutical, digital engineering, electronics and automotive industries. Whilst the labour market is tighter but the cost of finance pretty low, there is a highly favourable environment for British industry to invest and enhance productivity.”

Indeed Buxton says the benefits of cheap financing have manifested themselves in the rush of companies that have come to the market in recent times. He notes that since the start of 2013, 150 companies have listed, “with a pipeline of promising companies seeking a listing once the uncertainty of June’s vote is out of the way”.

“So while the Brexit campaign hots up, and both sides release increasing numbers of hurried statistics to support their case, let’s keep our focus on life beyond the referendum,” he argues. “Businesses up and down the country need to ‘keep calm and carry on’. Putting investment on hold, due to uncertainty, risks fuelling a lack of confidence.”

And if anyone is in any doubt about which way the British public will vote on 23 June, Buxton says to take a look at the bookies odds, not the polls. With this in mind, he says despite all the campaigning, the odds to remain in the EU have barely changed: 2-1 on we stay in Europe.

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