Emma Ann Hughes  

May leaves UK’s Brexit far from strong and stable

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

What a rollercoaster ride you and your clients' finances have been on in the last 12 months courtesy of Conservative Prime Ministers who wrongly bet on what the nation wanted.

Hot on the heels of her chancellor Philip Hammond’s embarrassing U-turn on taxing the self-employed, Prime Minister Theresa May had her own change of heart and called an early general election.

Mrs May expected this general election to clarify to the European Union her hold on power and tighten her grip on her own political party.

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She promised a strong and stable government that would deliver a Hard Brexit.

Yet, as the general election results came in early this morning (9 June), her position had been so dramatically weakened that rumours of a leadership challenge began to swirl.

Love her or loathe her, the reality you and your clients face today is we now have a caretaker prime minister who clearly doesn’t have the nation’s confidence and has plummeted this country into more instability and uncertainty. 

She isn’t the first Conservative Prime Minister in recent times to do this.

In 2012, in Uno pizza restaurant at Chicago O’Hare airport, her predecessor David Cameron made the decision to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union expecting the nation to vote for the status quo. 

The reverberations of him being wrong in that belief and the nation’s decision to back Brexit from the European Union will continue to be felt for decades to come. 

Last night’s election was meant to provide a clear mandate for Mrs May to negotiate Brexit but instead has now – yet again - thrown everything in the air. 

A hung parliament in the UK has now reportedly led to a minority Conservative government backed by the Democratic Unionist Party.

We now have a prime minister who lacks credibility – hardly ideal when you are trying to achieve top trade deals and exit the European Union.

The impact of all this on markets will be to provide volatility and uncertainty in the short term. 

However, the lack of mandate for the Conservatives increases the chance of a softer Brexit (staying in the single market) and this will provide some comfort to many and may steady both the currency, bond and equity markets. 

So what do you advise your clients to in these uncertain times?

The next few days will obviously see headlines in the UK continue to be dominated by politics and your clients’ stomachs churned yet again.

Anthony Willis, investment manager in the BMO Global Asset Management multi-manager team, pointed out markets have had a strong year so far and therefore a period of consolidation is to be expected at some point.

 Mr Willis said: “There is a lot of good news priced into equities whilst bond markets continue to price in a somewhat bleaker outlook, though government bonds clearly remain supported by central bank policies.