A private exit poll could trigger a run on Sterling and impact the outcome of the referendum
Hedge funds and investment banks have commissioned private exit polls in an attempt to make profits from the result of the UK’s referendum on EU membership next month.
By finding out the voting patterns early on June 23 and predicting the result, entrepreneurial traders can lay big bets on the result, hoping to be the first to benefit financially from a government-induced swing in sterling since George Soros bet against the pound when it crashed out of the then European exchange rate mechanism in 1992.
Early indications of the likely result in the referendum will be indirectly visible from foreign exchange and sterling derivative markets before the polls close, if big money is bet on the result.
The hedge funds are exploiting Electoral Commission rules that permit exit polls on the day of the referendum so long as they are not published until polls close at 10pm.
Polling companies are finding demand high for their private services on referendum day. “Hedge funds have asked for exit polls and for hourly polls on the day. Banks are certainly commissioning polls for their own consumption that are never released,” said one pollster.
Another pollster said his firm was getting lots of calls from asset managers asking when their next research was coming out: “We are also being asked if we will do polls on the day. People in the City are wanting a head start.”