Damian Fantato  

End the Brexit madness

Damian Fantato

Damian Fantato

As this column is being written, very little is known about Britain's political and economic future.

MPs have been doing all they can to avoid the UK leaving the EU without a deal but, as the EU itself has pointed out, the only ways of avoiding this for good are either by agreeing a deal or deciding to stay in the EU after all. Many in British politics seem unwilling to make this choice.

Meanwhile the government is pursuing its policy with all the success that has been the trademark of British diplomacy since 2016. That is to say, very little indeed.

While this goes on, the British economy teeters on the brink of a recession. We have already had one quarter of negative growth and, if last week’s Purchasing Managers’ Index data is anything to go by, a second one is in the pipeline.

From the point of view of advisers, it is hard to see what the benefit of any of this has been. The prospect of a ‘bonfire of regulations’ is becoming more and more distant: the Financial Conduct Authority has made it clear that it believes the majority of reforms passed by the EU in recent years have been good – indeed it was the regulator that drew up most of them.

Most of the other challenges facing advisers are those that have been dreamt up on our own shores: high bills for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, a hardening professional indemnity insurance market and a lack of trust in financial services.

None of these will go away after Britain leaves the EU. Indeed, you could argue they have drifted in recent months because the government and the regulator – which already have the power to address them – have been distracted by Brexit.

Advisers should wish this madness to be over sooner rather than later. A no-deal exit will prove disruptive and the ultimate victims will be their clients, whose finances stand to suffer from the ensuing volatility, which leaves the existing deal as the best option on the table.