As 2016 draws to a close, I always take the opportunity to review what has happened in both my business and personal life, but also to consider what has happened in the wider world around me. In this latter category, 2016 has been eventful to say the least.
The year started typically enough, we had an oil price scare and fears over growth in China, however none of that is unexpected across the course of a typical year ‘in the markets’.
What came as more of a surprise, was the Brexit vote in June. I don’t think I will ever forget that morning, turning on the TV to see that what no one thought could happen, had happened. That day was also memorable for me on the basis that I was stuck in London that night searching for a hotel at short notice because of issues with the trains (another item that has made headlines far too often in 2016).
What I found even more surprising however, was how the markets reacted with relative calm to the events unfolding. Yes, there was a few days of volatility (which is only to be expected after any major event like Brexit, especially when no one really expected it), however the markets soon recovered and went on to set record highs in many places.
As if Brexit wasn’t enough, we then had the unexpected election of Donald Trump. Again, the markets seemed to react positively and many market have continued to set new highs in December.
The million dollar question is ‘what happens next?’. I think if 2016 has shown us anything, it is that no one really knows. ‘The markets’ had predicted doom and gloom of epic proportions if Brexit OR Trump happened, let alone both of them, yet 2016 has been one of the more positive years for some time now.
My other often cited bug bear of 2016 has been the increasing intensity of panic inducing headlines in the media for increasingly small events. ‘Billions wiped off the UK stock market’ was a recent news headline, on a day when the FTSE 100 fell by less than 0.5%!
While 0.5% of the FTSE does happen to total billions of pounds, a rise or fall of 0.5% each day is so commonplace on the FTSE 100, that this is not really news at all. As such, my advice remains to take what you read, watch and listen to with at least a small pinch of salt.
As 2016 draws to a close, I also reflect on how lucky I am to do the work I love each and every day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients, contacts, professional connections and suppliers for working with us in 2016 and beyond. I would like to wish you all seasons greetings and a happy and prosperous 2017, whatever the year has to offer us!