The size of the Conservative victory suprised many commentators but surveys over the last few months have been consistently pointing towards a sizeable Conservative win. The exit poll was virtually spot on.
The big question is what the result will mean for financial services more generally and Financial Planning in particular.
The main challenge coming up for planners will, finally, be Brexit. Whether you are in favour or against leaving the EU the likelihood is that the election was probably won on Mr Johnson’s slogan of ‘Getting Brexit Done.’ This seems to have gone down particularly well in ‘Vote Leave’ sets in Wales and the North.
Labour’s miscalculation of this factor was a terrible blunder in hindsight.
So Brexit will probably happen although I would take a small wager on the EU having second thoughts about its so-far hardline attitude and potentially offering some carrots to keep the UK in a looser alliance. I did stress ‘small wager.’
The work around Brexit and preparing and planning for clients to cope with it will be significant for planners and it will be a good opportunity for planners to meet with clients to talk through any concerns. There will be some nervousness inevitably.
Many clients may have planned to retire or live in Europe or will have substantial investments in the EU and inevitably UK financial regulation will no longer be so closely aligned with the EU so will change sooner or later. Clients will need advice on these issues.
However, the same fundamental issues that face clients, and always have, still remain. Planning for a successful retirement and the rainy day, mitigating tax, proteting loved ones and thinking further ahead than next Christmas. These things don’t change and an election will make little difference.
Financial regulation will be one to watch. A Budget is on the way and likely the Pensions Bill will return. Both of these will keep planners busy well into the new year.
The new government has a mandate for change and will seize it but Brexit alone will not be enough to get it elected at the next election. How it deals with essential issues around pensions, savings and improving people’s lives will be how it is judged.
There is a great opportunity now for the Conservatives to reform pensions and financial services. Stopping the nonsense that encourages senior doctors not to work to avoid harming their pensions is a golden chance to show that they mean what they say. It’s just one financial reform of many on the nation’s shopping list.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with 30 years experience. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks.