We have all been in the situation on a night out where the people you are with want to leave, and after you have left they don’t know where to go to enjoy a better experience. You cannot return to the original venue, because they won’t let you back in without charging you more. It is your own fault, you left without a sensible back-up plan, and now you end up line-dancing when you wanted to tango, eating a kebab when you wanted steak!
If Mrs May’s Brexit negotiations are a success it leaves me wondering what would count as a failure? I admire her tenacity and how she fights on against what appears to be universal condemnation of her plans by most other MPs of all persuasions. Unfortunately this may be a case of pig-headiness rather than a considered reasoned conclusion. At the moment her plan appears to be like a corpse waiting for an autopsy. We have however been treated to the spectacle of EU democracy in action. Twenty-seven wolves and one lamb debating what to eat for dinner.
It is about time that it was explained to our politicians and media commentators that communicating poorly and acting smug is no substitute for intelligence. Instead of giving them the keys to the city it might be better to change the locks!
During the last two years, whilst the Brexit shenanigans have been taking place, it would appear that UK stocks and funds have become uninvestible. There was the golden opportunity, immediately after the referendum in 2016 when Sterling fell in value, to make considerable gains from those technology funds which were priced in dollars. It was a double whammy, tech funds going up and a 12% currency gain in addition. Even our relatively cautious Ocean Liner portfolio (which at the time was holding 30% in cash) experienced a dramatic uplift. Since then however, it has been one-way traffic downhill and billions and billions of dollars must have been withdrawn from UK stocks and funds. After all, as an international investment manager why would you gamble forward and take the risk of a no-deal Brexit, or a Corbyn government with the accompanying higher taxes and capital controls.
We as UK private investors can take a more simple approach and wait and see what actually transpires. We might get a repeat of 2016, and sterling collapses again. This would benefit funds holding assets overseas which would experience a currency gain along with any capital gains.
If Brexit turns out to be better than forecasted, then the UK businesses and funds under-priced for so long, should leap ahead. Having been immersed in UK manufacturing and exporting for more than thirty years, I am supremely confident in the ability of this country’s people and management to succeed under most circumstances. We just need to encourage more and more SMEs whilst reducing the dominance of finance and the interference of inexperienced and misguided politicians.
Best wishes and good investing,