Was Brexit bought and paid for? It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that hedge funds and financial service companies have an interest in the general mood of populations. This is especially true in the build-up to pivotal events. After all, investors tend to hedge their bets sometime ahead of major political and economic decisions.
Britain exiting the European Union, or Brexit, would be a great example to focus on. However, this week reveals an unsavory side to how some hedge funds gleaned insight into the U.K.’s largest political and economic change in decades. The entities entrusted to oversee the Brexit polling were more or less bought and paid for.
Bloomberg broke the news on Monday, June 25th, in an exclusive that reveals the shocking results of its investigation. The news entity’s Cam Simpson voiced his views on the same day. What was most surprising, according to Simpson, is that there is a relatively small group of hedge funds that paid major polling companies in UK to stream polling data throughout the course of the day.
The data is reported to have been released while the Brexit polling was taking place. This helped funds better position themselves and their trades during the build-up to the final announcement.
Simpson reported the findings are most surprising because they do not merely reflect a critical market moving non-public information. In this case, the data steamed “is criminally defined as non-public information in the the U.K.“ Bloomberg highlighted that, at least in the United Kingdom, is It is a crime to publish polling data before the polls have closed.
The problem raised is that this creates tricky ground for the pollsters and shines shines a shady spotlight on the relationship that polling entities have with sponsors and other supporting partners.
Brexit polls bought and paid for?
The Bloomberg exclusive especially raises questions, according to Simpson, about “these people who are curating a conversation around Brexit without any of us knowing that they have these relationships with hedge funds who are betting on how our opinions would swing the pound in advance and how we voted in the end.
Bloomberg highlighted the suspicious timing of some comments made on the Brexit final results by officials such as Nigel Farage and the moment official polling numbers were released. For example, breaking news came from SkyNews at exactly ten o‘clock on voting day and shared Farage praising the results.
The ten o‘clock news report shared comments from the political figure suggesting the results were greatly in favor of his party. Farage’s sentiments were announced minutes ahead of the official polling data.
“There are critical questions about what Nigel knew,“ Simpson stated. “The question really is when he knew.“
Blomberg conducted an in-depth response to this news story. For greater details and more aligned comments, click here.