When looking at what 2019 holds for us, it’s hard to give a definitive answer, because there is a lot of uncertainty ahead of Brexit on March 29th. However, before considering that, it’s worth highlighting the influence that the current year’s events will have on us next year.
With MiFID and GDPR, there’s been a lot of regulatory change this year, and the impact of these changes will increase again in 2019.
Regulation will step up a gear in the year to come. One impact that will be felt is the way that businesses communicate with their clients – for example, having to disclose their underlying costs in very specific and detailed ways. Estimated costs will have given for each new investment, and then at year-end, the actual figures will now be presented to all clients. We should be sanguine about this. Clients understand there is a cost to receiving good advice and achieving their investment goals. They will know the rate of the fee they have been paying. For some, however, seeing the quantum set out in print may prove a challenge!
The good news is that everyone will have to do this from here on in, and this presents fantastic opportunities. Businesses that treat their clients well have nothing to fear. In fact, this will highlight just how good a service their customers are getting. It’s the businesses that don’t conduct themselves well that should be worried.
2019 will begin as a year of uncertainty. That much we know. Here in the UK, it’s impossible to predict what will happen, at least in the first quarter, due to Brexit. Will we still be in the EU? Nothing is clear at this stage. The political world is mired in uncertainty, which could trigger a General Election. Deal or no deal, March 29th will send us on one of several paths, and until Brexit happens (or doesn’t) it’s impossible to know which one we’re heading down.
Further afield, much depends on the Trade War between the US and China – again the first quarter may see the progress that allows global growth to remain intact a while longer. Trying to predict or indeed pre-empt Donald Trump is a mug’s game.
So, we enter the year keeping our minds very much open to a range of possibilities and our client’s investments sufficiently diverse to ride out the uncertainty. We remain nimble, but mindful also that investment is a long-term game and uncertainty, whilst uncomfortable, inevitably throws up opportunities.