skip to Main Content
Home » News » Economics » The Risk-Reward Ratio of Trading the UK Referendum is Horribly Skewed

The Risk-Reward Ratio of Trading the UK Referendum is Horribly Skewed

Adam Jepsen shares his thoughts on why he feels there is potential for extreme market volatility in light of the EU referendum and how traders can combat this.

Like many market events, we have been looking at how investors could trade the referendum profitably.  For short-term investors it is tempting to trade the UK referendum, the volatility is appealing. However, the volatility we could see over the next week could be of a different magnitude.

This probably makes the risk-reward ratio skewed to towards results of plain nasty, hideous or disastrous.

Problem 1: What Will the Markets Do?

The result of the referendum is far from clear. Even if you correctly predict the result you then, as usual, have to predict the market reaction.

Theoretically, a win for the Remain campaign would boost the FTSE 100 and Sterling. Of course, the theory quickly breaks down if the market has partially priced in that result. It is often said that the financial markets will move in the direction that hurts the most people. This could be another example of that.

Problem 2: Extreme Volatility

Now it gets tricky. There seem to be a lot of people and adverts saying this is a great trading opportunity but the wild swings could be too much for all but the deepest of pockets.

Even if you correctly predict the result of the referendum, and the broader market reaction, there will probably be a lot of volatility. The markets could easily spike against your trade and close your position before you can make a profit. That would be plain ugly.

Of course, extreme volatility is a distinct possibility. If a market moves against you it could gap to a completely different price level. That could leave you in the hideous scenario of wiping out all the funds in your trading account.

Worse-still is a disastrous but plausible price move that leaves you in debt.

At the moment, the markets feel like a lot of tightly coiled springs. Also, in the options markets it’s realistic to assume there are some very big positions that could be triggered and send markets spiking.

George Soros’s 1992 $10bn short of Sterling could be common place.

Potential Solution: Sit on Your Hands

A simple solution is to sit on your hands.

Forget trading the referendum, the risk-reward ratio is probably not in your favour. Just watch Euro 2016, take up a hobby, learn how to play Minecraft, take care of that errand you’ve been putting off for two months or finish the DIY you’ve been putting off for two years.

Adam Jepsen goes on to conclude that “There will be plenty of trading opportunities after the result has been announced and the markets have had a little time to calm down.”

The above is the personal view of Adam Jepsen, Founder, Financial Spreads.

About Financial Spreads

Financial Spreads is a trading name of Clear Investor Ltd. which is an appointed representative of FINSA Europe Ltd., company no: 07073413. FINSA Europe Ltd. is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, registered number 525164. Registered Address: Office 701, Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 East Smithfield, London, E1W 1AW, United Kingdom.

Like this article? Sign up for a free email subscription to our regular newsletter.

This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

The Armchair Trader's 'How to' Guides

Stocks in Focus

We think these smaller companies represent significant growth stories. Read our in-depth reports.

Thanks to our Partners

Our partners are established, regulated businesses and we are grateful for their support.

FP Markets
Back To Top