Belfast Telegraph

Value of sterling is set to keep falling, says banker

By John Mulgrew

The value of sterling and UK markets will continue to tumble amid uncertainty in the run-up to the EU referendum, according to one senior investment banker.

And Alan Werlau - Davy Private Clients' UK investment strategist - said Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is stronger changing the EU from within.

He was speaking at the Davy conference at Belfast's Europa Hotel, which featured a keynote speech from Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair.

"The fact that you are voting for it, means it is a risk and has to be taken seriously," Mr Werlau said.

"Although polls indicate it will be a remain, the vast majority of businesses are voting to remain, Labour is voting to remain. To the large groups, the benefit of membership is clear.

"A lot of people are not happy with the terms of the EU. That won't go away, it's been there since 1973.

"I think the level of Euroscepticism has always been there, and has come to a peak again.

"Let's face it, the UK is going to have to live with the EU... with the UK, inside or out, we will always trade heavily with the EU."

The former UBS investment banker said Norway, which is not a member of the EU, still has to abide by the rules of the single market and stick to the majority of the regulations a member state would also face.

"The UK is a lot better and stronger from the inside. The point is, the status quo doesn't get people with banners out on the street," he said.

"If you are outside, what are you gaining?"

And he said markets and currency will continue to weaken in the run-up to the vote.

"From here until June 23, if the vote stays close, we are going to see sterling weaker and the FTSE weaker," he said.

"Long, prolonged periods of uncertainty - and markets do not like uncertainty."

The panel discussion yesterday included contributions from Davy's Brian O'Reilly, head of global investment strategy and Andrew Fisher, former chief executive of Coutts & Co, and Towry Holdings.

Stephen Felle, of Davy Private Clients, said: "We have undergone a period of unprecedented growth in Northern Ireland, including the acquisitions of Belfast firms PFC and Graham Corry Cheevers inside the last 12 months.

"Davy Private Clients is now Northern Ireland's largest wealth management firm, managing over £1.25bn of assets entrusted to us by clients in the region."

Belfast Telegraph