As UK voters head to the polls on Thursday to say whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union, markets are tumultuous as investors balk with fears that the EU’s second-largest economy will depart the union.
“Far-right nationalists and neoliberal capitalists will survive the demise of institutions like the EU.”
—John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus
Yet a select class of über-wealthy capitalists are excitedly looking to pounce on the market no matter the outcome—using polling information they’ve bought and paid for, unavailable to the general public.
“Hedge-fund managers are sensing opportunity,” as Bloomberg observes. “After enduring the worst first-quarter returns since the start of the financial crisis, the prospect of Britain voting to leave the European Union is creating the market turmoil that can make them money.”
Taking advantage of UK election law that forbids exit polling data from being published before 10pm on the day of an election—to prevent exit polls from influencing votes—hedge funds are paying for private polling companies to perform exit polls throughout the country, so they’ll be able to bet on the outcome before the general public learns of it.
“As we have seen, when polls have been published suggesting that Leave might win, the pound has fallen on the currency markets,” explains the Independent. “Any trader with inside information on what the outcome of the referendum might be could, therefore, make a lot of money.”
One investment advisor predicts that hedge funds may be able to confidently predict the outcome of the vote—and therefore manipulate the market to their advantage—a full two hours before the rest of the public finds out the result of the referendum.
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