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US, Brexit and climate change: 2021 could be 'transformational'

US, Brexit and climate change: 2021 could be 'transformational'

Many of the uncertainties that "dogged" investors in 2020 will fade this year as the world "emerges blinking into the light", Brewin Dolphin has predicted.

Rob Burgeman, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said 2021 was likely to be a "transformational year" with many reasons to look forward despite a "long shadow" cast by the events of the past 12 months.

Going green

Mr Burgeman predicted climate change was to remain high on the political agenda. 

He said: "The decarbonisation of the global economy is likely to continue to dominate and, whatever one’s opinion on the issue, will see trillions of dollars globally invested. 

"This will create investment opportunities, both positive and negative. 

"If the newfound collegiate approach can be harnessed, then we might see the kind of breakthroughs we need to make faster progress in this area."

ESG investing has boomed in popularity in recent years as fears over climate change have led investors to consider the impact of their money and as a growing number of millennials have begun investing.

Recent data from the Investment Association shows inflows into ESG funds have quadrupled in 2020 so far, with £7.1bn invested in such funds over the first three quarters of this year compared with £1.9bn last year.

Brexit

The transition period for Britain’s exit from the European Union came to a close at the turn of the year, with the self-imposed deadline for a deal extended at the eleventh hour in a bid for both sides to reach an agreement. 

Mr Burgeman said: "To a large extent, the nature of the deal is not relevant. What is important is that you have a new set of 'certainties' that will allow businesses to plan properly and to make the kind of investment decisions that can only be made when the longer-term position is clearer."

US political stage 

Mr Burgeman said the uncertainty surrounding the US election would retreat in the rear-view mirror with the dawn of a new year.

"Contested, partisan and unsavoury as the whole process was, a new resident at the White House will move in, marking a change in tone from the last four years. 

"Challenges exist, but a new president and vice president will see a new focus in US policy, particularly domestically and particularly on the green agenda," Mr Burgeman said. 

But he warned the ongoing economic spat between the United States and China was not going to "disappear overnight with a new president".

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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