Are you wondering how to invest in 2021, a year that is starting with concerning negatives but also hopeful positives? Although predicting how this year will wind up is difficult, the investor can take steps to make the most of what is guaranteed to be another wild year of ups and downs, including capitalising on inflation surges, capturing cyclical upswings, looking to emerging markets for credit opportunities and harnessing volatility.
With just a week left before the December 31, 2020, transition-period deadline, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) finally agreed to new post-Brexit trading arrangements and, in doing so, avoided a potentially disastrous no-deal scenario. But conspicuously absent from the trade deal are rules governing the financial-services sector.
The UK will complete the Brexit journey that it began four years ago on December 31, the final day of the transition period. Its future trade relationship with the EU is not definite, and the British are wisely preparing for a hard landing. This time of transition should be regarded as an opportunity to build a united country, one that is in a mutually beneficial trade partnership with the world.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has a long history of investing in emerging markets, and its contributions are most constructive during crises. With the global economy reeling from COVID-19, the EBRD ramped up its efforts to be a partner to key players in the markets in which it invests, providing emergency financing and policy direction with a focus on fostering a green economy characterized by inclusion and digitalization.
The Bank of England (BoE) announced on Thursday, September 17, that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had voted unanimously to leave its benchmark bank rate at 0.1 percent whilst also maintaining the target for the total stock of asset purchases under its quantitative-easing (QE) programme at £745 billion.
According to figures released on Friday, September 11, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.6 percent during July, as lockdown measures in the country continued to ease and the economy showed clearer signs of recovery.
The pandemic has prompted financial institutions to adapt fast, but the UK’s financial sector was already embroiled in a Brexit-induced metamorphosis. Although crises spawn revolutionary transformations, the sector’s need to transform digitally and accommodate regulations was in place beforehand. COVID-19 shifts the goalposts while offering opportunities for Britain’s fintechs to use their new-found freedom to innovate their way into a more prosperous future in which clients’ evolving needs are met.
For those of us in the world of contracting, there really is only one big story at the moment – other than Brexit of course – and that it is the potential roll out of the intermediaries legislation to the private sector. To date, contractors have made up a significant portion of the workforce at larger financial services organisations. According to Contractor Calculator, they estimate there are approximately 300,000 PSCs operating in the UK.
2019 was a turbulent year for businesses, with hiring across many industries suffering at the hands of Brexit. Despite all the political and economic turbulence, some professions – Tax, Public Practice, Risk, Investment Management and Legal – remained largely resilient, with vacancy numbers and salaries relatively similar to previous years.
Some companies define their space, and for decades, this was true of Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm. Longevity was not enough to save it, as it succumbed to mounting debt and pressure from new, agile industry players as well as consumers who became adept at developing their own travel itineraries. Thomas Cook may go down in history books as a sad example of unsuccessful adaptation to changing times.