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Brexit - the wider picture...

Ahead of the curve

Home / Perspectives / Ahead of the curve Brexit – the wider picture…

Neil Williams, Group Chief Economist
05 May 2016
Ahead of the CurveEconomicsPerspectives

AC-0516-2

  • With it still the ‘known unknown’ for UK assets, we broaden the implications of a Brexit-risk for the economy & financial services. This risk could extend beyond the June vote, & also beyond the UK.
  • Brexit can still be avoided. But, should it occur, getting to the next stage would be a long, drawn-out ‘can of worms’. Even a ‘soft exit’ would require several years just to end up close to ‘square one’. Spillover means little sympathy in securing a ‘no strings’ deal.
  • The pound would fall. Yet, with growth slowing, loose monetary policy would have to be extended - potentially intensifying the pressure from ‘lower for longer’ yields on pensions schemes.
  • The impact on financial services would be critical, with Brexit offering macro, ‘passporting’ & regulation risks. Financial services has been the heartbeat of the UK’s recovery, providing disproportionate trade benefits, employment, & tax revenue.
  • The sector has, thus, more than most to lose from a Brexit. Given The City’s strong starting point & comparative advantage, Brexit may not short-term be a ‘disaster’. But, is it all worth risking?...

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Neil Williams Group Chief Economist Neil joined Hermes in August 2009 and is responsible for Hermes’ economic research. He has a forward-looking approach to generate investment strategy ideas. Neil adopts top-down methods – macro and market analysis to identify interest rate and credit value, and sovereign default risk. Neil began his career in 1987 at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), becoming its youngest ever Head of Economic Policy. He went on to hold a number of senior positions in investment banks - including Director of Bond Research at UBS, Head of Research at Sumitomo International, Global Head of Emerging Markets Research at PaineWebber International, and, before coming to Hermes, Head of Sovereign Research and Strategy at Mizuho International. Neil has 29 years’ industry experience and earned an MA in Economics in 1986 from Manchester University, having the previous year completed his BSc (Hons), also in Economics, from University College Swansea.
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