EU Referendum

EU referendum: Words of wisdom from people in the know

EU referendum decision-day is nearly upon us. But what do we need to know before and after the vote? An election official, a bookie and an investor offer their words of wisdom.

When will we know the result? (Breakfast time Friday)

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Chief Counting Officer Jenny Watson is in charge of announcing the UK-wide result in Manchester.

There will be 382 local results from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. The local counting officers will declare results as they come in and Ms Watson will make public the final figure at breakfast time on Friday morning.

She told the BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Right at the end of all of it [counting process] when the 11 regional counting officers have declared, plus Northern Ireland, then I will be able to say how the UK has voted and I will be doing that from Manchester around breakfast time - but just as was the case with the Scottish independence referendum we can't say what time breakfast time is yet."

Could there be a re-count? (It's unlikely)

Ms Watson said recounts take place at a local level, not at a UK-wide level. She explained that a recount would not be because the outcome was close, it would take place because "something had happened at the count that shouldn't have done, something had gone wrong" during the process of counting.

She added: "I must stress that no one is expecting that the happen, particularly in Scotland which is the place that knows about referendums, you've had more of them than most of us - you know how that works and the electoral community there are very well prepared."

The counting officer decides if there is to be a recount but the campaigners who scrutinise what is happening on the floor of the count would be consulted.

Are the bookies sure of the outcome? (Well, it's all a matter of interpretation)

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Graham Sharpe from William Hill bookmakers told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that it had been a "particularly long race", explaining that his company took its first bet on an EU referendum on 20 January, 2013.

He said three years ago the betting pattern was "very close". On today's odds the bookmaker is offering 2/9 for Remain (meaning it would cost you £9 to make a profit of £2, representing an 81% chance of success). For Leave the odds are 3/1 against (meaning £1 to make a profit of £3, representing a 25% chance of success).

Mr Sharpe added that "interestingly" since starting to take bets on the outcome of the EU referendum, 66% of the money staked was for Remain, however, 69% of all individual bets have been for Leave.

He concluded that the outcome was dependent on how you interpreted the betting patterns. Mr Sharpe said: "Very few referenda come along, so there is no real way of checking how they are likely to turn out."

What will happen to the shares market? (They will react, whatever the result)

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Market reaction to the campaign has been heavily linked to the polls, Justin Urquhart Stewart of Seven Investment told the BBC.

He explained to Laura Maciver of BBC Scotland's business unit: "Over the weekend we had a view that it was Remain, so we suddenly saw sterling moving strongly and we saw the FTSE 100 [share index] moving strongly.

"However, the FTSE 100 has got very little to do with the Scottish economy, it's got very little to do with the British economy - it is an international index.

"Nonetheless it was one of the few measures we have got to look at.

"It had showed a level of confidence - the money was going back in but the volumes are very low - don't trust these markets at the moment. Most of the money is on the sidelines."

What should investors do? (Sit tight)

Mr Urquhart Stewart said that although a global shares index, the FTSE 100 would still be impacted by "sentiment". In theory, the FTSE 100 shouldn't be affected, but he believes it will be.

His advise to investors was: "Be careful at the moment. If you are a long-term investor, ignore all of this. Actually, go and stick your head in the sand for a couple of weeks and then come back again.

"If you actually want to take a punt on it, good luck to you."

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