James Coney  

Choose your own investment path

James Coney

James Coney

So, there we are: a Brexit delay.

To paraphrase Michael Corleone in The Godfather, just when we thought we were out, they pull us back in again. Are we about to enter the dreaded Hotel California Brexit, where you can check out of the EU, but never really leave? Who the heck knows!

Brexit is like religion. You cannot prove the existence of God.

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Likewise you cannot prove what will happen when we leave the EU. In both cases though, there are those with faith who will swear blind that they know what is what. No one does.

Remainers often claim that Leavers were lied to. But that conveniently forgets Remainers were lied to also by George Osborne’s dossier of doom.

Nobody actually told fibs, of course. It is just that economic predictions are no more accurate than guessing the Premier League scores.

And all this is why the time for cash may have come. If you are at the point of decumulation you simply cannot trust these self-interested, often idiotic, frequently childish politicians with your retirement income.

The risk that they will do something stupid over Brexit and wallop your nest egg is just too great.

There have been too many U-turns, too many votes missed, resolutions failed, decisions blocked, that they can no longer be trusted.

My personal moment of revelation came when Brexit minister Stephen Barclay offered an amendment, fought for it, then voted against it. It is time to put the future in your own hands.

You may miss an upturn, but you will not be hammered if this bull run ends.

I have long stood by the motto: “Invest for the economics, not the politics” – but perhaps that philosophy has found its limits.

If I were 60, I would be pulling all my money out of the market now and waiting to see what happens.

Ironically the greatest risk is probably from a deal being struck.

The FTSE 100 is up about 25 per cent since the referendum, all down to the collapse in the pound which boosted the earnings of those 60 per cent of stocks that are more influenced by the price of the dollar.

I have been trying for months to make head or tail of investor sentiment. I have given up.

There have been net outflows from UK equities for 21 months in a row. But also outflows from European funds for nine.

There are lots of other things to consider, such as rising interest rates, the unravelling of quantitative easing, and the threat of a Sino-US trade war.

The latter peril has receded for now, but such is the precarious state of global politics that it could return at any moment.