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The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 25/2017

The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 25/2017

Every week our guest blogger, David Oakes of Mosaic Money Management (aka The Financial Ironmonger), shares with us his take on some of the major UK and overseas macro and political events that shaped the previous week.

Please be reminded the value of investments, and the income from them, may fall or rise. The views expressed in this article are those of the author at the date of publication and not necessarily those of Chelverton Asset Management Limited or Mosaic Money Management. The contents of this article are not intended as investment or tax advice and will not be updated after publication unless otherwise stated.

–THE FINANCIAL IRONMONGER BLOG NO 25/2017–

On Wednesday, the Queen was forced to curtail her plans for visiting the Royal Ascot races in order to deliver her speech to parliament, an annual event. Having dispensed with as much of the traditional ceremony as possible, she arrived seven minutes before the start, gave the address in nine minutes, and was out of the building before anyone noticed. And she got to Ascot for the first race.

Desperate times call for a futile gesture, at which the British are quite good, but after her many years on the throne, the Queen can spot one a mile off. Even the Prince of Wales, (surely the world’s longest serving intern), could barely disguise his contempt. For the Queen’ Speech is anything but. Whilst it would be much fun to speculate what she would actually write, the thing is put together by the Government, setting out the plans for the following year.

In this case, it covers the next two years, sparing her further embarrassment, designed to get us to the other side of Brexit. This seems to be a highly unlikely outcome, hence the obvious futility. In the past, the party would have moved to have Theresa ousted by now, but all the contenders to replace her can see that the Brexit negotiations are going to be fraught, and involve considerable compromise, so best to keep the status quo whilst seeing how the thing pans out.

She is adrift in a canoe without a paddle, buffeted by the tides and winds that inevitably hit any incumbent, and yet unable to react, let alone lead. John Godfrey, her policy chief, left No. 10 on Wednesday, and whilst it is not clear if this was on a voluntary basis, the position has become a non job. She remains in office for as long as her colleagues tolerate her, whilst they venture forth to give their own views on Brexit, and whatever else, really.

Two weeks on from that fateful night, there is still no conclusion to the talks with the DUP, a northern Irish party, which will deliver the votes needed for a notional majority. It took six days of negotiation to form the government in 2010, which lasted the full five years. It seems to have escaped notice that the DUP would no more vote for Corbyn than fly to the moon, so their vote was not needed in a formal arrangement, but judgement seems to be lacking, where it is most needed, at the moment.

Whilst you can see why the Conservatives want her to remain in office, her position is one of total humiliation, from which there is no avenue to redemption, which must be mentally exhausting. An elegant solution needs finding, quickly.

Across the Channel, Emmanuel Macron, who was elected President of France last month, saw his party win 308 seats , (out of 577), in the National Assembly elections. He split the right, and crushed the left, and this for a party he formed just 14 months ago. Anything is possible! But no, since you ask. His message was one of hope, restructuring, and a reformed economy benefiting all, which sounds all too familiar. Whether he can reform the labour laws before the unions get their act together is doubtful, and the idea that the Germans and French are now joint heads of a revitalised Europe is pure fantasy, as he will learn, to his cost.

Back in what used to count for the real world, Barclays, and four of its former directors, face charges in relation to the fund raising operation in October 2008, when investors from Qatar and Abu Dhabi pumped £7.3bn in to the bank, thus avoiding partial nationalisation by the UK taxpayer. Remarkably, these are the first charges brought against anyone in relation to the disastrous events of 2008; it would be ironic if they are prosecuted for organising a private bailout rather than collapsing in to the arms of the taxpayer, as so many others did.

–MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER, DAVID OAKES–

David joined Manchester stockbroker Henry Cooke, Lumsden in 1977 and after becoming a member of the London Stock Exchange in 1984 held a number of senior positions within the firm including Managing Director of the in-house fund management company and member of the Executive Committee.

After senior appointments at Cazenove Fund Management and latterly Mercater Capital Management, David joined Mosaic Money Management in 2013. He has successfully managed private client and fund portfolios for over thirty years and has particular expertise in providing a multi manager service to his loyal client base.

The Financial Ironmonger is a hat-tip to Ironmonger Lane, the location of Chelverton’s London office.