James Coney  

Choose your own investment path

James Coney

James Coney

It is exceptionally hard to time the market. Fidelity routinely trots out the calculation about the damage you do to your portfolio if you missed the 10 best days in the past decade.

But that sum also really only works if you apply it to a lifetime of investing, not if you are at the end and capital protection is paramount.

These are unique times of political uncertainty – perhaps it is time to take a unique investing approach to Brexit.

Solvency II stays

One of the hopes of Brexit was that we would see the end of Solvency II – or at least a scaling back of this mammoth bit of EU-wide insurance legislation.

It costs the sector about £3bn a year. The chief executive of an insurer once explained to me about the hundreds of staff it took just to update millions of pieces of paperwork (we know how Brussels loves red tape).

This legislation was designed to keep afloat the less well capitalised European insurers, not our giant life businesses. As a result, its requirements are holding back the ability of pension providers to offer better priced products, particularly annuities.

Sadly, I think any rolling back of Solvency II is unrealistic, at least not in the short term. The UK market will want to show a strong equivalency to the EU for some time.

And the cost of unravelling this legislation is likely to be highly restrictive at a time when businesses are adjusting to the new world order.

Bring back proper politics

The great benefit of finally having a Brexit deal will be the end of the political nobodies appearing on TV and radio.

MPs who were also-rans on parliamentary committees have suddenly been thrust in to the limelight for their narrow, single-issue opinion.

It has really served to undermine the reputation of our political system. Not helped by the fact that all the biggest political brains in the Labour party are relegated to the backbenches and rarely heard.

I will toast the return of proper politics.

James Coney is money editor of the Sunday Times