Political uncertainty poses the biggest threat to global sharemarket investors, according to two speakers at the Shareholders Association annual meeting.

Events such as Brexit and the rise of American president hopeful Donald Trump presented more risk to investors than economic factors and politics was a big backdrop to the environment investors operate in, said economist Shamubeel Eaqub.

"High valuations make it difficult to find a good business at a reasonable price to buy," he said.

The Brexit vote came as a huge surprise to many but a breakdown of those who voted for it - the elderly, the uneducated, and those living in the provinces, reflected anger from those left behind by the economic reforms of the past 30 years, Eaqub said.

Advertisement

What Brexit and Donald Trump told investors is that the people that may have been considered "losers" in society are now the majority globally and that trend will impact in New Zealand, he said.

It had significant implications for globalisation and Eaqub said the world was heading toward "a much darker age" that was more insular and protectionist, which will affect a number of Kiwi businesses.

Milford Funds Management director Brian Gaynor said if Trump was elected in the US presidential election in two months, which current polling indicated was unlikely, the financial markets would become very nervous.

"We can see from the Brexit vote in the UK and the rise of Donald Trump in the US there is huge disillusionment with traditional politicians and major concerns about immigration," he said.