Tolerating uncertainty

Harley Kagan – Managing Director

The last issue of Update was published very soon after the result of the EU referendum had been announced and at that point we knew very little about what would happen next. Theresa May had only just been appointed as Prime Minister and we were all realising just how little planning there had been for a ‘leave’ vote win. Financial Journalist, David Prosser, our guest writer in that issue, summed up the knowns and the unknowns of Brexit and even now, more than four months later, we really don’t know an awful lot more than we did then. In terms of politics, the current rhetoric is whether we will move towards a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit, whatever that really means.

[color_quote]We are however, starting to see some of the economic consequences of the result. Since the 23rd of June the value of the Pound has fallen by more than 18% against the US Dollar and inflation has risen faster than expected to 1%, the highest rate in more than 2 years.[/color_quote] Rising inflation may have implications for the Base Rate and with the trade deficit widening and retail sales flat in September there are fears that conditions could indicate a spending slowdown. In this issue we asked David Budworth, the former Deputy Finance Editor of The Times, to examine the implications of a weakened Sterling and it makes for interesting reading. I would also urge you, if you haven’t already, to read David Prosser’s article here.

We have been led to believe that Article 50 is most likely going to be triggered around the second quarter of 2017, but other than that, there’s a huge amount of uncertainty about what the next few years will mean for us. American physicist, Brian Greene, once said; “Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty”. Many UK business owners and individuals will feel that this particular unknown has been thrust upon them, but nevertheless, we will all have to tolerate uncertainty for the next few years and embrace some inevitable changes if we are going to keep pushing our businesses forward. We have to remind ourselves that we have 65 million people in the UK and we have a pool of vibrant, talented and entrepreneurial businesses.

We have our own home grown uncertainty, but there are also events further afield over which the majority of us here in the UK have no control whatsoever. One of these is the US Presidential election, one of the most controversial contests ever seen for tenure of the Oval Office. By the time you read this the victor may be known. Our UTB broker poll carried out immediately
prior to the EU referendum was an extremely accurate indicator of the result, so you may be interested to know that when we asked brokers who they expected to win the Presidential election, Hilary Clinton polled 74% compared to Donald Trump’s 23%. Let’s hope our brokers are just as accurate on this vote too.

Despite the distraction of the Brexit poll, we’ve had another successful year at UTB and we have the support of our broker partners and the dedication of our excellent staff to thank for that. We have increased our lending volumes, launched several new products and the launch of our Mortgage Division has been a great success; not just commercially, but by the way our entry into the sector has been welcomed by brokers and intermediaries. We were also delighted to be named Specialist Bank of the Year.

[pull_quote]What next year has in store for us is uncertain, but we can tolerate that. In fact, we’ll go a step further, we relish the challenge.[/pull_quote]

Article from Update, Autumn 2016.