No longer, it seems. While not unprecedented in the amount of activity that has gone on, this summer will certainly go down as one of the most chaotic in recent history. In the last two months alone, we have seen a change in UK Prime Minister; slowdowns in a number of prominent economies including the UK and Germany; central bank policy (re)loosening in response to global growth concerns; escalations of US-China trade tensions; numerous criticisms of corporate governance practices; the removal of prominent CEOs; increased scrutiny of fund management practices as a result of the Woodford debacle. The list goes on…
More worrying however is that the chaos of recent months is likely only a precursor to an even more turbulent autumn. Chief among concerns is inevitably Brexit, with an escalation of rhetoric increasing the prospect of a no-deal exit or a snap election, either of which could untold and likely damaging consequences for the UK, if not further afield.
Greater volatility in markets also seems inevitable, with it appearing more and more likely that the longest bull run in history is coming to an end and markets showing substantial sensitivity to geopolitical sentiment and events. The uncertainty pervading the current environment means that it is almost impossible to accurately assess the extent to which (potential) outcomes have been priced into markets.
And all of this comes before the build-up to a 202 US presidential election, which is hardly likely to be a quiet affair.
Investors will understandably be concerned, and caution is likely to be the watchword for the foreseeable future. Education, understanding and communication will therefore be vital to ensuring customers avoid disappointment. Those asset managers and wider financial services providers that meet these requirements will be well positioned and might even do well in such a challenging environment. Those that do not will inevitably struggle.
Let the mayhem begin.