Dude – where are my shares? Brexit across-the-board ISA fail

An ermine wakes to a new world and it appears I was on the losing side. The good thing is that at least the outcome of the Brexit referendum is clear; a four point lead isn’t handsome but it’s not a knife-edge. So I thought I’d open a bleary eye and perhaps buy some shares with my increasingly worthless pounds. At least I am not afraid of redundancy in the shitstorm to come, and it’s an ill wind and all that. So I whip out my TD ISA, and consider buying, to discover that my six-figure ISA has been looted – evaporated into thin air, pffft – just like that. The robbers only left a little smattering of cash, I ought to be able to buy a bag of peanuts with it on the world markets in a couple of months πŸ˜‰


Bummer. So I yomp over to my Hargeaves Lansdown SIPP, and observe some shocking spreads, see if I can buy. I don’t actually want to buy in a crystallised SIPP cos of tax, but hey, any port in a storm?

HL - computer says NO
HL – computer says NO. I’m not actually sure I wanted to buy VMID at that price but it was the first code I could remember and I’ve never bought in HL before.

We’ll see later on in the day, eh? Update at 10am – TD have given me my shares back. I am amazed at the fightback – I have lost a whopping 3% which is neither here nor there for the market mayhem promised. I mean, for God’s sake, does nobody remember January? The VUKE I bought then is still 5% up, FFS. This could, of course, be because the pound is going down the toilet so fast that the weight of the foreign assets I hold are lifting the numerical picture. This is then an optical illusion – my fellow countrymen have probably made me 25% poorer in real terms. Thanks guys.

Now that I can trade I bought some VWRL. There’s a race going on here – the little matter of Brexit seems to have frightened the global horses more than I had expected, which makes it cheaper. As you can see it in USD

VWRL in the USD I haven't got
VWRL in the USD I haven’t got

So I bought some in the GBP I have

VWRL in the GBP I have got
VWRL in the GBP I have got

where you can see the pound falling faster than the assets. But to be honest I can’t actually see Brexit being such a huge deal for the rest of the world in the grand scheme of things, and if it’s good enough for Lars Kroijer it’s good enough for me. Yes, I paid more than I would have done yesterday, but then I thought Remain would win. Though I hold a lot of gold just in case πŸ˜‰

About the other passengers on the Brexit bus, there’s more of them that I thought…

UKIP poster for leave says something to me, and I am not sure I like it
UKIP poster for leave says something to me, and I am not sure it’s a good sign…

The worst thing about the result is the thought of cocks like Farage and Boris running the country. Still, the will of the people has spoken, a primal scream against globalisation and austerity as well as a FU to the EU. Let’s hope the good people of the British hinterland who voted leave feel a bit more chipper about their jobs and public finances in a year’s time, eh. There were many good arguments to be made on both sides. One of the greatest wins of Leave would be the proletariat not having to support the landed gentry through farming subsides any more, but sadly that was promised away. It seems a curious own goal – the CAP is about 40% of EU spend and ceasing this redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich would seem an obvious win πŸ˜‰

I didn’t like the people on the Leave bus, and it turns out the represent the slight majority of my fellow countrymen. I will investigate if I can get German citizenship by jus sanguinis – sadly it is through the maternal line so although it will help me I am not automatically entitled as it would be had my Dad been German. I was able to easily pass the citizenship test from my general knowledge of the principles of a democracy and a decent guessing of the German character, but my German is not good enough at the moment. I am in no hurry to cease being British, but I would like to see if I can get dual nationality and become a citizen of the EU. Some of the ugliness of the Leave side, in particular the potent racism and xenophobia, makes me a little bit scared about the Britain I will grow old in. I would like to have the option of somewhere to run to[ref]It’s always good to have options, I’m not giving a view on what will happen. [/ref] should some of the heart of darkness I have seen recently begin to rise – neither of my parents was British by birth. When my mother came to Britain in the late 1950s, she had some trepidation, because of course only a decade before Britain and Germany had been at all-out war. She found 1950s Britain was a kind and tolerant country, and while there was the odd piece of hostility it was far outweighed by the gracious and kind welcome she encountered. I hope this is still part of our national character, because it was not overly apparent in the referendum campaign on either side. In general while there have been remarkable increases in tolerance and acceptance of differing lifestyles in the 60 years since she came, tribalism and incivility seem on the rise in a lot of areas.

But perhaps I am seeing through a glass darkly; I didn’t get what I voted for. Britain is still a rich country with stupendous natural beauty and I believe a basically decent people. Perhaps they showed more wisdom – after all, I viewed this referendum as running against the tide of history, I would be surprised if in 20 years the EU were the monolithic mass it is now. I would be very surprised if the Euro were still used by as many countries as it is now, indeed if it still existed at all. I am not omniscient – there is heart of darkness enough in Europe, perhaps I will grow to be fond of the English Channel again from the vantage point of Das Inselreich.




42 thoughts on “Dude – where are my shares? Brexit across-the-board ISA fail”

  1. On a positive note, after 21 years of wasting my time traipsing down to polling stations in safe constituencies, my vote finally counted for something yesterday.

    The establishment threw everything they had against the Leave side but the British people thought for themselves and made up their own minds. The sky hasn’t fallen in yet and there is still food on supermarket shelves.

    I don’t think my decision was based on racism or stupidity, but my friends in the “liberal political elite” of Cambridge are already taking to Twitter to suggest otherwise. The irony is that this is just the patronising carry on that has distanced them from Farage’s real, ordinary, decent people who voted Out and tipped the balance.


    1. @David – I hope I’m not one of your Cambridge set πŸ˜‰

      Perhaps they showed more wisdom – after all

      But I would go as far as to say Farage is racist, and I will be deeply thankful if the first past the post system keeps him in his box. Farage as PM will make me learn German very qickly… That doesn’t mean everyone for Brexit is – Boris for instance has many faults but I wouldn’t really say racism was one of them


    2. @David, I can’t complain at the rest of your post even though I don’t agree, but to say that Farage’s typical voter is real, ordinary and decent seems a major stretch to me. Farage is the man who has started all this xenophobic, foreigner hating, disgusting behaviour that is pervading the country now, as the haters now feel they have a mandate, and it is his supporters doing it.


  2. @ Ermine,

    Any Irish blood to get a passport there? A lot of Anglo’s have long pretended to be some Celt in tricky situations overseas at times when UK foreign policy erred on the side of unpopular, savage neoliberal wars. Scotland might well take back their country too….. it’d be hard for anyone to criticise that quip now hey? πŸ™‚

    The sweet, sweet air of FI, not needing a job or any benefits from anyone/entity, gives you immunity from the consequences of the wisdom of the baying mob waving their pitchforks & burning stakes, whipped up by the xenophobic dogwhistling of the ruling-elite-newly-attired-in-sheepskin……

    The UK is retreating like a tortoise into its shell, forgoing all the cosmopolitan/renaissance gains of the last quarter century. That is of course the right of the majority in a democracy, but in an era where the countries that made up the old ‘West’ were anyway rapidly losing ground to the Asian revival, it can only accelerate the decline. History taught us what happened to Ancient China & Japan after they sealed themselves off from interaction with the world ….the rest just gained competitive advantages & then ultimately turned them into vassal states. Good luck to Little Britain.


    1. Yes, I guess Scotland will be off at some point. And I feel a whiff of Spenglerian decline in the air – to wit

      There wakes at last a deep yearning for all old and worthy tradition that still lingers alive. Men are tired to disgust of money-economy. They hope for salvation from somewhere or other, for some true ideal of honour and chivalry, of inward nobility, of unselfishness and duty. And now dawns the time when the form-filled powers of the blood, which the rationalism of the Megalopolis has suppressed, reawaken in the depths.

      As Leave said, it’s not just the economy – it’s hopes and dreams…

      FI is good, however, to have some sanguinity, though I expect some powerful inflation in the short term. And of course my networth i nterms of cash has just dropped notably even if the numbers on the screen don’t change


  3. Hi Ermine,

    I am glad it wasnt just me who suffered this morning – it took me about 30 minutes to place an order through my TD ISA – I got there in the end though! The question is, will it actually make any difference? My total portfolio change in GBP? -1% today. And slowly climbing back up to where it started, so a good advert for a diversified portfolio.

    I am glad that we have shaken up the political elite, so hopefully that will make them wake up, although personally I expect to be far worse off out than had we remained, but thats what the majority voted for, and with what, a 75% turn out? Thats about double the usual general election!

    Its a good thing to keep an eye on potentially emigrating, but as always the question would be where…. I am in London so I dont see anything much changing really for me, even the (foreign owned) company I work for have said “its business as usual”, so I wait with interest!


    1. I’m also surprised at the so far modest hit on my ISA. But we must remember that it is denominated in units that have fallen in value relative to the goods and services from the rest of the world. Though not as badly as headlines say when you compare it to the basket of IMF SDRs

      I don’t have any desire to emigrate as such, I think Britain is a wonderful country. It was wonderful last night and still is today, just differently; let’s hope leave can deliver and make it even better. Now I have more money (even after last night) I want to go and see more of it. However, I do think it will be poorer, and I think people will be angry in the decades to come. They will also be angry in Europe, and the cause of the anger is probably not much to do with the UK and EU, just the slow bump bump bump of falling living standards year on year.

      Absolutely agree that the shake-up is/was needed, and also that it’s a clear result with a good turnout. The answer is clearly what the British people want.


      1. “The answer is clearly what the British people want.”

        You really think that? I think people just voted that way to kick the London centric establishment in the bollocks. When the people who voted for Brexit see what it means for them day to day, I can see them feeling very differently


      2. It’s clearly what they want as far as the question asked. A significant proportion of them may come to rue the day, but that’s for the future to show. Brexit may well be a gun that fires on both ends.


  4. Never mind brexit, I can just imagine the heart-in-mouth feeling I’d get if I logged onto my ISA and saw most of my holdings had vanished! I’m glad it got rectified quickly…


    1. I did kind of wonder if Bernie Madoff was moonlighting there, but in all fairness TD had sent out a few email APBs in the last few days to the effect that they anticipated would struggle to keep up today. There were some incredible spreads at the opening too!


  5. My siblings who recently emigrated to Oz for economic and cultural reasons are laughing now because I needled them so much about the Tony Abbot years and them ending up on a tiny island with a tiny economy and what had to be commensurate potential. How times change, we could now easily have BJ leading us on a genuine spec on the map; oh the irony.

    I’m all the more grateful then that my private pension funds are relatively safe in a solid, blue-chip fund based on a basket of currencies dominated by the US $, while I never expected to see a state equivalent anyway.

    Also, UK property should still be good unless you’re forced into a firesale in the short-term, because the chronic undersupply hasn’t gone away and immigration from non-EU countries will continue unabated, adding to demand. One door closes, another opens. ( plus ca change πŸ™‚ )


    1. Surely that’s a huge continent with a tiny economy πŸ˜‰ Still, being led by BJ has its own horror. Let’s look on the bright side – better than headed up by ‘mine’s a pint’ Nige though.


    2. “chronic undersupply hasn’t gone away and immigration from non-EU countries will continue unabated, adding to demand”

      Really? “Chronic undersupply” requires a lot of demand to buy property. Do you see foreign investors rushing to invest in Britain and Britiish investors rushing to take on new debts in the short term? Equally if you were a foreigner why would you rush to go live in an overtly xenophobic country with an uncertain future?


      1. I see your point, I wasn’t clear. I meant London mostly, (other places like Oxford still have cachet too) because the dis-UK has long been a tax haven and now unfettered by EU regulation can become even more wild, wild west for global dirty money.

        So while middle-class savers chasing a good investment return from Singapore say, wouldn’t want to actually live here, (subjected to prejudices, petty or otherwise) they could still speculatively buy apartments in the sky in the same way you would gold bars. There’s also all that pent up demand from ‘indigenous’ fist-time buyers for example, trapped at parental homes or sharing rabbit hutches with strangers on souless, identikit, new-build estates.

        The line up of potential new elite ‘leaders’ look firmly within the banker/stockbroker clique, so I’m sure that they’ll quickly rid us of all the ‘red tape holding the economy back’ to enable this to happen if it isn’t yet possible. That’s a lot easier than resurrecting a real economy from the ashes of the slash and burn economics deployed for the last 3 decades.


    3. Ah the US$. It makes me uncomfortable about that VWRL because of one thing. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s got no hair to speak of. It’s in Scotland at the mo. And it’s made of some of the same stuff as Brexit – not all, for sure, but the populism part is. And it’s rumbling into town in November. OMG….


  6. Well that was an extra kick in the bollocks. All in, the pound and the markets have knocked 25% off my net worth in the last 12 months. Being unemployed for that period has burned another 40%. Misery.


    1. Commiserations – though Mark Dampier of HL has a word for investors which has some resonance –

      Where we go from here is uncertain – further falls are certainly possible in the coming weeks. However, markets also have a tendency to overcorrect – wherever the bottom may be, we are likely to see a swift bounce from that level.

      I expect the dust to settle fairly quickly. There will be a dawning realisation that everything has changed and nothing has changed.


      1. Thanks, I am hopeful. Things are rarely as apocalyptic as they first appear. I’m sure the situation will look different a month from now. And apologies for venting – my situation is very unusual and ultimately of my own making, regardless of intention. C’est la vie.


  7. Well maybe this will be a good thing for those of us in the Commonwealth countries who get totally dissed when we visit the UK – placed in the customs/immigration queue with the Third World while the EU citizens breeze through on their way to the Tube.
    Just kidding. My heart went out to Mrs. Cameron today who was the epitome of class and British inner strength standing next to her husband during his resignation speech.


    1. I have to admire him for drinking the hemlock. Politicians are less likely to resign when they screwed up, but this one was done well!


  8. Brexit : not what I’d hoped for, but it is what it is…
    Germany is also #1 on my list of potential countries to move to, for a reason you might not expect : low taxation !
    Unlike CH, DE has no wealth tax and no tax on imputed rental value.
    My CH-pension can be taken in a lump sum, taxed very moderately in CH, and serve as the base from which to live in DE. Basic state pension would be taxed as income, but will not be that high anyhow.
    I am not German, but was born there and lived there for a considerable time.
    i do not doubt that I could fit in. Having an EU nationality besides my Swiss one will allow me to do so if I choose to.
    Freedom of movement in the EU is a definite plus, whatever the Brexiters ( and too many Swiss ) may say of it.


    1. Until yesterday I could have pointed to another EU country with no wealth tax and none on imputed rent πŸ˜‰ I am surprised you aren’t German, if you were born there but I guess this was before 1975 when they changed to jus soli?

      > Freedom of movement in the EU is a definite plus, whatever the Brexiters ( and too many Swiss ) may say of it.

      I guess the argument of yesterday, which isn’t totally without validity, is that it’s good for you or me. But it’s not good for everyone – Deborah Orr summed up how it looks to many quite well with “Free movement is a big political problem” –

      The essential problem is that the footsoldiers of this grand, multi-generational experiment – hard-up migrants – are often expected to pitch up and compete for scarce resources against hard-up non-migrants. It’s tricky to explain to people that they have to share what little they have so that people thousands of miles away in some unspecified future can one day be as lucky as they are.

      I think basically that’s what lost it here..


  9. Now let me guess what that other country would have been….. Scotland actually would be on my list, so that might still become possible in the future !
    I am just a couple of months younger than you, but that is not the reason I am not german, has to do with Nato troops in DE.


  10. Nice to see that the 2nd most googled term in the UK yesterday was “What is the EU?”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brexit-what-is-the-eu-google_us_576d2dfee4b0dbb1bbba3911

    Nice to know those voting were up to speed on such a large issue.

    The South West of France has always appealed to me. Or Canada perhaps. πŸ™‚

    We were told at work that contingency plans were in place should the Leave vote happen. Judging by the panic in senior management yesterday I can’t help but think no one actually saw it coming…


    1. Being charitable… perhaps all those searching “What is the EU?” were below voting age and either working on a school project or trying to fathom why their parents were wearing such long faces.

      Personally, my plan to move to Portugal or Spain may now have been holed below the waterline, as I possess no non-UK citizenship (nor any of the attributes required to obtain one). I’m looking further afield now. Somewhere in SE Asia perhaps. I’ve visited a number of times and like the region.


      1. SE Asia would be nice.

        At least our football team had the sense to bow out of the Euro’s in a silent vow of defiance.


    1. I wonder if the error message was exactly what it said – no offer to purchase could be matched on the market, in which case they aren’t to fault? I struggled later on with VWRL, and where they did cock up is not accepting a limit order instead.


  11. “I would like to have the option of somewhere to run to…” Being a member of the EU and the freedom of movement of people was a critical pillar in my FIRE plans. Some work over the past few days suggests a way forward with Brexit even with what is in place today. There may be ways forward for others also with, for example, special EU residence schemes for non-EU citizens.

    I also wonder if during the negotiations some EU countries will create schemes for ex-EU members or something similar. After all I can’t see them wanting to turn those away that will add to their GDP while being no burden on their public sector.


    1. I wish you were right, but I fear the ignorance of the masses, how easily they’re manipulated and you can never underestimate the craven ability of the politicos in stirring it up, then pandering to it for their own gain.

      The irony is all those who voted to end their pain and try to get back hope of a better future will bear the brunt of the neoliberal austerity-on-steroids that will hit them now.

      That’s not even shadenfreude on my part, nobody will win out of this mess.


    2. Did wonder how it would affect your plans, RIT. I recall as a child there were plenty of retired Brits in France even before 1973, so while freedom of movement reduces the paperwork I guess it certainly didn’t preclude (wealthy) Europeans living in other countries. And after all my mother immigrated to the UK long before it was in the EEC, pretty much with the contents of her suitcase and that was it. So I am sure it will be possible – after all I have worked with enough US citizens living here.

      The wealthy and the financially independent will be okay and will probably have free movement in some other way, though I guess health insurance will be an extra expense. Arguably the Brexit vote has been a vote against the free movement of the poor if we boil it down to the essentials. I appreciate for some Leave voters it’s a lot more than that but I figure this is probably what swung it. In the last referendum in 1975 Britain was on its knees economically, whereas now that damned Euro project is hurting a lot of people in the Eurozone.

      Wishing you all the best for finding a way to work it out!


    3. @FIW
      “I wish you were right, but I fear the ignorance of the masses, how easily they’re manipulated and you can never underestimate the craven ability of the politicos in stirring it up, then pandering to it for their own gain.” Even if there are no changes from what EU countries have today, except the removal of the free movement for UK passport holders, there still look to be options to get in.

      “…though I guess health insurance will be an extra expense.” I see two elephants in the room, including for those already living in Europe (especially for retirees dependent on the state pension) and it’s not residency:
      – The pensions triple lock is only relevant for those living in the EEA and a few other countries. What if they remove that during the negotiation. Even though you won’t have to leave or if you have enough to move to Spain now that is going to hurt over time.
      – As you said healthcare. If the S1 is retracted you have options but they will get more expensive as you age and in some cases you might run out of options at a certain age. Again a problem that will grow with time.


  12. @RIT just one more year syndrome must be pretty overpowering given events of last 24 hours? You think you can resist?

    Problem is you won’t have anything to plan against for years to come.

    What a ball-ache for you. The timing is unbelievable.


    1. @The Rhino
      An initial cursory glance over the past few days suggests it’s still on for the RIT family. I’ve duly pulled a post together to lay out my initial thoughts.

      Will of course watch what transpires with interest and while I’ll be FI in 6 months or so I don’t expect to be taking early retirement and moving for nearly 12 months. So I’ll be watching with interest.

      I’ve avoided many obstacles to get this far and I’ll back myself to avoid the last few. As ermine says “…there were plenty of retired Brits in France even before 1973.” I’m sure one of my Med countries on the shortlist will want me to help with GDP by buying a home and spending into their economy while having no recourse to public funds. At least I hope so…


  13. @ Ermine- To try and allay your xenophobia and racist fears- the majority of the 18-24s voted to Remain- it was the majority of old farts that voted to leave. It gives me hope.


  14. Having both friends and siblings in that 18-24 gap I wouldnt place much value or hope on those views. It speaks volumes that socialism is so big in universities amongst people who have never had to earn a penny to support themselves, then dies out as they enter the real world.

    The other point I heard someone make recently was that perhaps the ‘old farts’ have just had to wait this long before their voice could be heard? Thus making them ‘old farts’ as a result..


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