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The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 24/2019

The Financial Ironmonger Blog No 24/2019

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 race to be the next leader of the Conservative Party is well under way; at the first vote, three of the contenders fell, whilst another has subsequently decided that he does not have what it takes, i.e. votes. So overwhelming was the vote for Boris Johnson that he automatically gets carried in to the final round, providing that his supporters do not desert him in the meantime, which is entirely possible, in this most duplicitous of votes.

One idea is that some of them should lend their support to Jeremy Hunt, in order that he should reach the final round; given that he has been dubbed continuity May, they calculate that he will be the easiest to beat. Michael Gove posed a real threat until there were reminders of his betrayal last time round, and subsequent revelations about drug use. Whilst youthful dalliance with cannabis can be overlooked, more adult, repeated, consumption of cocaine is beyond the pale, apparently.

Thus, Boris it is, according to the bookies. Just a few months ago, this was not the case, and despite his vote haul this time, genuine support for him is not easily found. What has changed in the meantime is that the public have become totally disillusioned with the two main parties, now polling just over a third of the votes between them, and turned their allegiance to the Liberal Democrats, and the more recently formed Brexit party.

The calculation of the Conservative MPs supporting Boris is that only he can see off this new threat, amongst the candidates put before them, albeit that there is a passing interest in the more honest type of politics advanced by Rory Stewart, not that it would ever get past a vote of the wider membership, thought to be 87% in favour of a hard Brexit.

I guess it could work; his time as mayor of London was deemed successful due to a brilliant team in the background, and a very focussed PR strategy, both of which largely belied his actual achievements. And yet, I have a nagging doubt. There is a very good reason why, at the Circus, they never allow one of the clowns to be promoted to ringmaster.

There are plenty of trip points, the most obvious, and immediate, is Brexit. Lurking in the middle ground is the decision by the BBC to withdraw free TV licence fees from people aged over 75, a benefit worth £154 a year, affecting 3 million, although the poorest 600/- will be allowed to keep it. This raises the prospect of the legal system being jammed up as pensioners are dragged through the courts for non-payment, in an age category most likely to vote. Or it could go the other way, with their grandchildren teaching them the benefits of streaming. Either way, the BBC, and by extrapolation the government, are going to look stupid.

Pictures of oil tankers ablaze in the gulf would normally provoke a sharp rise in price, not least because this appears to be a deliberate attack by a foreign power, but traders are more concentrated on the basics of supply and demand, which are not in favour of producers. Supply is increasing as we head in to the summer months, whilst alternatives continue to make ground. The real trouble will start when nobody wants the stuff at all, a point which could be reached sooner than we think.


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.