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The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 21/2019

The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 21/2019

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.


Sometime next Monday, we will get the full results of the election for MEP’s to the European Parliament, usually a low turnout, non-event. I defy anyone to name their present representative or identify him or her in a photo-call. By all accounts, it is a well remunerated number, with the politics so diverse that not much ever happens,  the real decisions been taken by an unelected cabal.

This time round, it might be different, with unconventional parties making great strides in many countries, largely in protest at domestic issues. I doubt that the European construct will suffer more than a glancing blow, when the dust settles.

Here in the UK, the polls are predicting a massive upset for the established parties. The incumbent Conservative government are registering just 7%, their worst number ever, with 70% of their voters opting for other offerings. The new Brexit party are on 35%, which would translate in to the largest party in the new parliament. It is worth remembering that these elections would never have been called, had the UK left the EU at the end of March, as promised.

Curiously, in the nine years of austerity that have preceded this point, voter have remained largely indifferent; the Conservatives have governed seven of the nine as a minority administration. The main opposition party is unlikely to escape unscathed from this trend, either.

Whilst certain sectors are clearly in trouble, retail, airlines etc, it tends to be companies within those areas which are suffering, with others continuing to do well. The exception is steelmaking, where higher costs have been in an unequal battle with a fall in price of the end product of 20%, not helped by the fact that half of the product is exported, and no European companies will buy the stuff for fear of tariffs.

Despite this, the economy motors on. Previous mention has been made of Q1 GDP figures, (+0.5%), but these numbers are subject to revision and are wholly inaccurate. More telling are 840,000 job vacancies, more people employed than ever before, and tax receipts up 5%. These are real numbers.

Books will no doubt be written about the most extraordinary time people can remember in politics, and there will be plenty trying to learn the lessons for the Presidential campaign in 2020. Perhaps it is Europe that is catching up with the Trump tactics of 2016; Steve Bannon, the mastermind behind that, is advising the French and Italian insurgent parties.

The usual rough and tumble of an election campaign has produced some memorable moments; politicians claiming to have read the text of a document which had yet to be published. All on live TV, simply glorious! Most will remember pictures of Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party, having a milkshake thrown over him, which made the front pages of all the newspapers the next day. Publicity you couldn’t buy; only a cynic could suggest that it was a set up.

What interested me most, however, was that it had cost £5.25, which even for a banana and yoghurt flavoured version, seems like a lot. In real money, that is five guineas, for those that remember. Now they are only used in the purchase and sale of racehorses, but maybe they have found a new use. But if people can afford to throw this stuff around, there cannot be too much wrong with the economy.


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.