UK retail investors are unshaken by the raging Russia-Ukraine conflict

Giles Coghlan, Chief Currency Analyst at HYCM

New research conducted by HYCM found that UK retail investors have remained composed in the face of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, despite significant concerns about future implications of the crisis on the financial markets, international relations, and the environment.

What were the findings of HYCM’s study?

The trading broker commissioned an independent survey of 726 UK-based investors, all of whom have investments in excess of £10,000, excluding the value of their residential property, savings, and workplace pensions. It found that only 14% of investors monitor the conflict between Russia and Ukraine when thinking about their investment strategy.

14% said they were concerned about the risk of a wider conflict and were investing carefully as a result, while 10% have made changes to their portfolio in light of the intervention.

HYCM’s study showed that the majority are taking a moral stance on the conflict, as 67% of investors believe consumers and investors will boycott firms who trade with Russia. This figure rises to a majority (87%) amongst those with portfolios in excess of £250,000.

To guard against inflation, 37% pledged to increase their investment in ‘safe haven’ assets, while 25% stated that they will increase their investment in defence stocks and cyber security should the war develop into a protracted conflict. 44% said they will reconsider their investments that have exposure to Russia or companies that support its actions.

Looking to the future, the majority of respondents (69%) believe the conflict will bring about permanent changes to international trade and investment flows between Russia and the West. When asked about the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) in relation to the conflict, half (50%) raised concerns that the intervention will set ‘net-zero’ goals back.

A further 9% surveyed believe that stocks in the defence industry should now be considered legitimate ESG investments, with this sentiment garnering the most enthusiasm amongst those aged 18-32 (20%) and those with the largest portfolios (17%), respectively.

What were the executive’s thoughts on the research?

Giles Coghlan, Chief Currency Analyst, HYCM said: “Two months on since Russia sent troops into Ukraine, news bulletins predicting prolonged aggression with ruinous consequences for the global economy have dominated the media. One would be forgiven for thinking that investors have been rocked by the crisis. Our research shows that this is not the case.”

“Despite ever-mounting concerns over inflation, commodities, and the prospect of wider conflict, retail investors have held their nerve so far. While they clearly hold strong views about the sanctions placed on the Russia and the possible scenarios that could unfold, many are shutting out the din of current events as far as their strategies are concerned.”

“The majority appear attuned to the reality that the market reaction to these events can be surprisingly mild. When a crisis is staring us in the face, sometimes shutting out the news is the wisest option. It is impossible to predict what may happen next – however, investors remain wary about long-term changes to the economy, despite the lack of action so far.”