It feels like I've been writing US-China trade wars and Brexit in investment commentaries since the Flood. Potential new investors have been spectating for months, waiting for resolution of these issues, particularly given 2018's annus horribilis where cash was king (if a less-than-generous one).
We ran the sentiment survey in the second and third week of January. By this point, Trump’s shock election as president of the US was beginning to sink in, but he had yet to take office. The run-up to his inauguration and cabinet/adviser appointments were front-page news.
In all, we there were 82 responses to the survey. Fund groups represented 67%, platforms 31% and distributors 2%.
The audience was mainly British with 78% of respondents defining themselves as UK-based and the rest cross-border or international.
Interestingly, there was a significant dichotomy between the positive expectations for 2017 (answers to the multiple choice questions) and the pessimistic concerns voiced in the open questions.
Overwhelmingly, the geopolitical environment and specifically Brexit, Trump and forthcoming elections in Europe were the main concern.
At the time of writing, the fixed income rotation into equity was in full swing and stock-market indices had hit all-time highs.
Following the UK’s historic vote in favour of leaving the EU which stunned the European political establishment and caused financial market turmoil around the world, concerns over the health of the UK property sector, which first arose in the run up to the referendum, have intensified.