We are cursed to live in interesting times, while IFAs seek to make things as strong and stable for their clients as possible. Yet what does it all mean?
Your reviewer must confess himself somewhat bemused by various press releases which wound their way to his in-box on Friday suggesting what the election might hold in store for tax, pensions, savings, financial planning and more.
This is a running political story which is almost as exhausting for the electorate as for the elected. It remains difficult to know quite a lot of important details probably up to and including who will be Prime Minister in the short and medium term and how long this Government will last.
Given that we are living in such atypical times, this review divides atypically into three parts. The first will look, as ever, mostly at the trades but primarily their political and financial coverage and what it means for IFAs. The second section looks at the debate primarily about Brexit as it all seems so up in the air.
Finally, if you can face reading more, we give four unusual points of view from around the web about our changed political landscape.
First, as we say, IFAs and their clients are no doubt craving that much talked about but as yet undelivered stability.
Financial Planning magazine brings a mixed bag of IFA views. Some believe that the Conservative/DUP deal with deliver the stability required while there is much discussion about investing being for the long term. Thank goodness that is true at least.
Interesting that EQ Investor’s John Spiers, a rather clear sighted entreprenurial chap, believes that soft Brexit may still be impossible to deliver.
In Professional Adviser, M&G’s Steven Andrew suggests equities remain good value while gilts do not at least until interest rates rise.
Axa IM's Chris Iggo considers the impact on the bond market but deems the UK politically schizophrenic.
The state pension age hike is in doubt after the election reports Financial Adviser. This is according to lots of trade bodies and indeed Royal London’s Steve Webb – the former pension minister. The question now surely is whether the Cridland recommendations and thus state pension rises are dead in the water?
Another former pension minister Ros Altmann says the appalling Tory campaign took older voters for granted. Few would disagree. Tisa’s Adrian Boulding believes tax relief will be left as it is for now amid the political turmoil.
News just in - the very capable Conservative minister David Gauke becomes Secretary of State for Work and Pensions as the East Anglian Daily Press reports (making its debut in this review)
One very important point not made is that the ‘supplier of political confidence’, the DUP is against these rises in the state pension age with parts of Northern Ireland having some of the lowest life expectancy levels in the UK.
They are also against the triple lock change and the ending of the winter fuel benefits. And yes it does get rather cold and wet in Belfast during the winter.
In Money Marketing, pundits are suggesting everything from soft to hard Brexit and no deal Brexit too. Goldman Sachs, for example, sees a chance of softer Brexit but can’t see how we get there, which clears that up.
In the Sunday Telegraph, the headline says ‘economists urge Theresa May to accelerate the Brexit talks’ – well that is one way to put it. In the story itself, the CBI wants swift agreement on EU and UK nationals and transition arrangements before hopefully moving things on to trade. Others hope PM May can get a Queen’s Speech through and worry about the economy.
Anyway. The following stories largely about Brexit are interesting and current at time of typing/linking.
The pro EU Conservative Damian Green has been made First Secretary of State and head of the Cabinet Office. Some say he is now effectively deputy Prime Minister. What will they make of that in Pro-Leave and Tory-voting Mansfield?
Labour won’t try and keep the UK in the single market says Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his left hand man John McDonnell says the same - in order to avoid EU state aid rules stymieing Labour’s industrial strategy. They will maximise access. How will that go down in Labour-voting Canterbury and Kensington?
On the same topic, advisers may wish to mull what Brexit Secretary David Davis means by saying the Conservatives losing their overall majority means they have lost a mandate to leave the single market. Will the Tory shires be up in arms or accept this as a middle way? They haven't been in the mood for that recently - well if the Daily Mail really speaks for them.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson signals her opposition to hard Brexit. Indeed she has the luxury of knowing that the good folk of Dumfries and Galloway no doubt agree.
Intriguingly on first sight, this fits with the DUP position (on this issue).
The Financial Times suggest that the DUP wants a soft Brexit. But they may also want Nigel Farage enobled and involved in the UK negotiating team. This is in the Sunday Times and from a source familiar with the Tory DUP negotiations. Twickenham Lib Dem-voting remainers – please send your views on postcard.
Anyone Irish will know that this story is a little bit strange even in these strange times. The main ‘Republican’ party in the Irish Republic Fianna Fail says that Sinn Fein is abdicating its responsibility to the people of Northern Ireland by not taking its seats in Westminster. If it did, of course, the Commons would be ‘rehung’ and another election probably inevitable. Note from your Northern Irish reviewer – Sinn Fein won’t take their seats in Westminster anytime in the next hundred years.
Finally Boris Johnson is biding his time or fully supporting the Prime Minister with a lot of the discussion happening on Whatapp? (where else?) according to Buzzfeed (Another title making its debut in this review).
Finally a few other points of view from around the web that are non financial services, but might give IFAs a spread of opinion outside your usual reading - whatever it may be.
Ellie Mae-O'Hagen in Prospect magazine says there is no reason Labour can’t win from the left. (one for advisers to mull in terms of their higher rate tax paying clients).
Conservative Margot James MP says that the Tories need to make the case for wealth creation to young people on Conservative Home. Obviously they can't all be right.
It’s going to be a long hot summer!