Challenges the financial services might face in 2015
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all had a fabulously festive break with plenty of over eating and drinking, and time spent with family and friends. I am sure most of us are gearing up for a busy and successful 2015, personally and professionally.
After the mayhem of Christmas, New Year often affords us some quiet which can be used for reflection of the recent past and planning for the future.
Looking forward in to 2015; there are many challenges facing the UK this year which could have a huge effect on the Financial Services sector and our economy.
The general election
The next general election will be held in May 2015. No one can foretell the outcome. This election is one of the most unpredictable in recent decades. Long gone are the days of two-party dominance. The conservatives and labour together account for less than 60% of support amongst the voting public, leaving this election race wide open. Could a weak coalition government prove to be a major risk for 2015 and the financial markets?
Whilst the UK economy may appear to be on the mend, all is not well in other parts of the world.
David Cameron has stated “red lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.” And these threats appear real. The Eurozone has never recovered from the financial and economic crisis of 2008. The European Central Bank is currently debating the need to take the leap to quantitative easing. China’s economic expansion has slowed down due to weaknesses in the residential property market and rapid credit expansion. Russia is experiencing turbulence due to the crisis in Ukraine and the consequent sanctions, falling oil prices and the weakening of the Rouble. The world’s largest economy – the U.S – is still growing, however interest rate rises expected this year may put a stop to that. The world economy is interconnected and interdependent. Could a new global financial crisis be on its way?
Bank of England interest rate rises
It is widely expected that the first Bank of England bank rate hike will be in the second half of 2015. The governor Mark Carney has confirmed a cautious approach with small step changes. The big question is how households will react to the rise and what impact this will have more broadly.
There is a lot riding politically and economically on the state of the UK housing market. Introduction of government initiatives, such as ‘help to buy’, has contributed to mortgage growth and house price inflation. The rampant house price growth of the recent past, amid talk of another property bubble, is slowing. Some measures even say prices are falling. Could the bubble finally pop in 2015?
This year could be a pivotal year for growth and acceleration or indeed downturn. What are your predictions for 2015? Will Britain’s economy sustain a decent pace of economic growth in 2015? What other factors could affect our economy?
I look forward to reading your comments.
Mellissa Brown is the Principal of Financial & Professional Services at Interim Partners.