As we get closer to the end of March 2019, I am sure that we all expected things to be clearer about who will be the winners and losers over Brexit. At present, any statement by any of the major political players has to be taken with a large pinch of salt as they all have vested interests, red lines and a power base to keep sweet. There is no arbiter of truth, so the statements of all factions involved must be taken as suspect, without further investigation.
Our commerce is dominated by capitalism, so we can assume that where there is a profit, people will trade, even when there are barriers in the way. The United Kingdom is a significant player on the world’s stage, so there will be interested parties for trade after Brexit, although we must all expect uncertainty in supply, cost and availability.
In the longer term, we expect everything to find a new equilibrium; capitalism will push all economic parties to find the best compromise for themselves. After a period of turbulence, we will return to some form of new relationship, which may be better or worse than we are now.
Some commentators have tried to assess what is likely to happen in practical terms, The Sun recently carried an item suggesting you check your passport validity, your travel insurance and your medical cover in the event of “No Deal” impacting your annual holiday. Martin Lewis has an article on his website that he updates as things change that reflects his guess about the likely impact. Other commentators have suggested other touch points that may have an impact with Brexit and beyond.
Some areas of the economy are likely to be impacted more than others; vehicle manufacturing has already been singled out as its “Just In Time” inventory systems will suffer with customs restrictions and variable tariff rates. As the UK is a net importer of food, restrictions and greater customs checks will have an impact around the country. It is hard to imagine supermarket shelves empty of food, but it is likely that there may be less choice until a new equilibrium is found.
For financial services, the interactions with Europe are many fold, but in the short to medium term changes to retail financial advice will be limited as the regulatory framework will remain. Companies with permissions in several countries will need to make provisions, but changes will not happen overnight.
For our investors, we do not expect to make any drastic changes at this point. All of our investment portfolios are designed for the long term and to manage overall volatility and many of them have an exposure to worldwide investments, so have some shield against UK/EU difficulties.
If your circumstances are changing or you are uncomfortable about any particular aspect of your portfolio, speak to your independent financial adviser or arrange a meeting with us to discuss your concerns.
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The information contained is for guidance only and does not constitute financial advice. It is based on our understanding of UK legislation, whether proposed or in force, and market practice at the time of writing. Levels, bases and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change. Accordingly, no responsibility can be assumed by Martin-Redman Partners its officers or employees, for any loss in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.