Hedge funds paid big money for private polls on Brexit, and then made hundreds of millions as markets went haywire

  • Hedge funds bought polling data on the day of the Brexit vote allowing them to profit from the event, a Bloomberg investigation has shown.
  • One hedge fund involved, Rokos Capital Management, made over a $US100 million. YouGov sold a private exit poll to one fund for $US1 million.
  • Bloomberg said that while some of the practices fell into a legal “grey area,” it is illegal for polling companies to give early release data to the public, and the hedge funds paid for their information privately.

Hedge funds aiming to win big money from the Brexit vote in 2016 hired major polling companies and bought voting data before public release in order to profit from the event, according to aBloomberg investigation.

The information that the pollsters sold gave some hedge funds an indication of the leave vote ahead of time, putting them in the perfect position to profit from market turmoil and a falling pound, according to the report.

Polling companies that sold data included YouGov, Survation, ICM, BMG and ComRes, with at least a dozen hedge funds buying the exclusive or syndicated polling data, Bloomberg reported.

Hedge funds involved included Rokos Capital Management, which made over $US100 million, or 3% of its entire value, in a single day. Also included was Brevan Howard, which made $US160 million in the hours after the vote closed, as well as Capstone Investment Advisors and Odey Asset Management.

Bloomberg said that while some practices fell into a legal “grey area,” it is certainly illegal for polling companies to give early release data to the public, and the hedge funds paid for the information privately.

Pollsters also profited from the day with YouGov, for example, selling a private exit poll to one hedge fund for $US1 million, a source told Bloomberg.

Read the Bloomberg story here.

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