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Swiss investors eyeing London property as potential ‘safe haven’

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19/01/2015
Following the Swiss central bank's decision to unshackle its currency the franc from the euro, Swiss fund and asset managers are already exploring central London property for its investment potential.

The euro suffered its largest one-day fall against the Swiss franc in history last week as the SNB suddenly abandoned its long-held pledge to keep the franc above 1.20 per euro. The move sent the currency markets into a tailspin, catching investors totally unawares.

Asset managers London Central Portfolio reported 15 enquiries for one of its funds this morning from Swiss based wealth managers and potential investors looking to move their money into central London real estate.

Frenzied trading of the currency since the announcement has seen the Swiss franc soar as much as 30 per cent against a basket of currencies, giving potential property investors a massive liquidity boost.

LCP said Swiss investors are taking the opportunity to capitalise on this windfall and hedge against increasing global uncertainty in the equity and bond markets attracted by blue-chip tangible assets. Since the SNB’s move, gold prices have already rallied, jumping roughly $35 to $1261 today.

The fund manager said: “Prime Central London (PCL) real estate is another asset class which benefits from global uncertainty. It remains one of the most globally robust asset classes and with more instability on the economic landscape, together with plummeting oil prices, it remains the ultimate safe haven. Like gold, it benefits in times of uncertainty, but unlike gold, it continues to appreciate when markets recover.”

Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP suggested Swiss investors, which have not traditionally been attracted to the London property markets could substantially change the international investment dynamic.

Specialist London mortgage broker, Tim Kemp, CEO of Kemp Private Finance, has seen a similar influx: “Overnight, Central London has become a much more attractive investment for my Swiss clients. I have already received numerous calls this morning from investors wanting to agree finance quickly to move their money out of Switzerland.”

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