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The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 16/2019

The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 16/2019

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 16/2019–

The chaotic scenes in parliament caused by the endless wrangling over the Brexit “deal” have paused for two weeks as the elected representatives recover from the extremely stressful time they have endured, searching for some solution. Another example of their distance from the real world, where businesses locked in such vital negotiations would never dream of such a lackadaisical approach. Indeed, if only the politicians would step aside, pragmatic solutions would soon be found; it is what businesses do every day.

In to this vacuum has stepped Extinction Rebellion, a group of highly organised eco-warriors, who have blockaded major streets, and bridges in Central London, and other major cities. Their extremely peaceful, but highly disruptive, demonstrations have overwhelmed the police, who are only trained to deal with violent demonstrators, although the threat to disrupt the underground trains was thwarted when officials turned off the subterranean Wi-Fi, leaving the protestors rudderless. More traditional policing methods ensured that Heathrow continued to function.

The politicians have no idea how to respond; the Home Secretary initially said that he approved of their aims, (anti climate change), before it was pointed out to him that,( in charge of the Police), it was his job to ensure that this type of chaos did not happen. Given that there is a leadership race underway in the Tory party, (albeit unofficial), his colleagues were happy to see him sink in to a swamp of his own contradictions. Such protests usually end when the weather changes, and life becomes uncomfortable for those used to the privileges of a wealthy society, but that seems a forlorn hope. Politicians, of all persuasions, will be hoping that the protestors keep to the script rather than turning their focus to those who have wilfully ignored the problem for too long.

Just as you were hoping that we might go a whole fortnight without someone mentioning the wretched subject, the German Foreign Minister popped up on Wednesday to suggest that he was siding with the harder line favoured by the French, and that there would be no further extension to Brexit beyond October. If true, this ratchets up the Remain/Leave debate, because it cannot be postponed further. In theory.

Meanwhile, the Donald has had another good week, further extracts from the Mueller report just bouncing off him. At least some of the Democrats, (mainly the more experienced operators), have acknowledged that two and a half years have been wasted on this trivial pursuit, whilst the young hotheads continue to think it should define their politics.

Hardly a week goes by without a new contender for the ticket joining the race, some eighteen at the last count. The latest is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, a town of 100,000 people in post-industrial Indiana, where, by all accounts, he has done a reasonable job, but hardly qualification for running a country of 330mn. For the moment, he has raised plenty of money, although much of that from the “white-wine” wing of the party, thus damming him with faint praise.

How many of them will reach the primaries next spring is unknown; for the Donald, it is easy, having already raised more money than any of his presumed opponents. He can sit back and watch these political comets race across the skies until they burn out in their own inconsistencies, and the few that do survive will then be subject to intense scrutiny, whilst spending their war chest fighting each other. They lost last time by totally underestimating him, and are on course to do so again.

Not that all his ideas are successful, including the suggestion that the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris would be best extinguished by deploying a Superscooper aircraft, designed for tackling large scale forest fires. Whilst the French have six of these, they are based in the South, and were not readably available. Furthermore, no pilot has ever been trained to operate one in built up areas, not least because dropping 6,000 kgs of water, at an approach speed of 150mph, would have destroyed the whole structure. Thankfully, a more conventional approach produced the desired result.

–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.