Why Government Referendums Don’t Dictate Long-Term Returns


At Clarity Wealth Limited, our mission is to guide our clients towards informed and confident financial decisions. We understand that political events, such as government referendums, can create a sense of uncertainty among investors. However, it’s essential to differentiate between short-term market reactions and long-term investment returns. Historical evidence consistently demonstrates that while referendums might cause temporary volatility, they do not significantly affect the long-term performance of the stock market.

Historical Context: Markets and Political Events

Numerous studies have shown that the stock market is influenced by a myriad of factors, with political events being just one piece of the puzzle. For instance, research by Vanguard highlights that market returns are driven primarily by economic fundamentals such as corporate earnings, interest rates, and inflation, rather than political events. The temporary fluctuations caused by political uncertainty often dissipate as markets adjust and refocus on these underlying economic indicators.

Case Studies: The Brexit Referendum and Beyond

One of the most prominent recent examples is the Brexit referendum in 2016. The immediate aftermath saw significant volatility in the UK and global markets. However, within a few months, markets stabilized, and by the end of 2017, both the FTSE 100 and the S&P 500 had delivered strong positive returns. Long-term investors who remained patient and avoided knee-jerk reactions benefited from the market’s recovery and subsequent growth.

Similarly, the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum initially caused market jitters, but these effects were short-lived. In the years following the vote, the UK stock market continued to perform well, driven by robust economic conditions and corporate profitability.

The Long-Term Perspective

At Clarity Wealth Limited, we advocate for a long-term investment strategy. The principle of “time in the market” rather than “timing the market” is crucial. According to data from Fidelity Investments, missing just the ten best days in the stock market over a 30-year period can significantly reduce an investor’s overall returns. This underscores the importance of maintaining a long-term perspective and staying invested despite short-term political events.

Furthermore, the global nature of today’s markets provides diversification benefits. While a referendum in one country might cause localized volatility, global diversification can help mitigate the impact on a broader investment portfolio. The interconnectedness of global economies means that investors have the opportunity to benefit from growth across different regions and sectors.

Practical Advice for Investors

For our clients at Clarity Wealth Limited, we recommend the following strategies to navigate periods of political uncertainty:

  1. Stay Informed but Not Reactive: Keep abreast of political developments, but avoid making impulsive investment decisions based on short-term events.
  2. Diversify Your Portfolio: Diversification can help manage risk and smooth out returns over time. A well-diversified portfolio is less likely to be significantly impacted by a single event.
  3. Focus on Long-Term Goals: Align your investment strategy with your long-term financial goals. Market volatility is a normal part of the investment journey, but staying focused on your objectives can help you weather short-term storms.
  4. Consult with Professionals: Work with financial advisors who can provide personalized advice and help you maintain a disciplined approach to investing.


Government referendums are significant political events, but their impact on the stock market is often overstated. At Clarity Wealth Limited, we emphasize the importance of maintaining a long-term investment perspective. By focusing on economic fundamentals and adopting a diversified investment strategy, our clients can achieve their financial goals despite the inevitable political uncertainties. Remember, history has shown that markets are resilient and capable of delivering strong returns over the long run.

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