Speaking on 'The EU, Finance and the City' to more than 700 people for the final keynote of the UK's biggest Financial Planning event, the two day PFS Festival of Financial Planning, Sir Vince said that the first impact of Brexit had already been seen with currency devaluation and the exchange rate was likely to be first hit if negotiations went badly in future.
Sir Vince said that he believed there was a 30% chance of no Brexit deal, a 50% chance of some deal which could cost £53bn and a 20% chance of a second referendum or 'public vote.' A vote by delegates at the end of the session showed approximately a 60/40 split in favour of a second referndum.
Sir Vince said that whatever scenario occurred, Financial Planners needed to brace themselves for turbulent times over the next 18 months and there was a high probability of political instability although he believed the Conservatives would try very hard to avoid another election.
He said: "18 months before it is going to happen we've already seen the impact on the currency. The first big strain is on the exchange rate. The second is that companies are stalling on investment and this is in turn affecting productivity and dragging down wages. The third impact is on net migration. This is having a significant effect on agriculture, high tech sectors and others and even my local hospital is seeing East European nurses going back.
"There is the potential for serious disruption. I have met some of the key European people and they don't want disruption but they have one underlying principle which is that Britain should not be better off leaving the club than staying in it. It's going to be an expensive divorce."
Sir Vince said the political impact should not be underestimated too. Politicians were focusing on Brexit which made getting any other legislation through Parliament difficult and this could impact on financial services.
He said: "It is very difficult to get senior ministers to focus on any other issue. The whole thing is very volatile. There is a very short term time perspective and legislation is going to prove very difficult to get through.
"We're all waiting for the Great Repeal Bill. The consequence is that big, long term issues such as pensions reform, long term personal care, funding of the universities, all these things require long term cross party planning and these things are not happening."
He warned planners to be wary of 'black swans' as asset prices had been pumped up by QE and a correction and even a recession was not out of the question although he added he was not predicting a recession.
Nearly 3,300 people in total attended the event which ended today, with 2,545 attending on the first day. Most delegates were Financial Planners, Paraplanners, Wealth Managers and IFAs. There were visiting delegates from several countries including more than 100 from Greece. More than 70 sessions and seminars were planned and nearly 100 exhibitors were taking part.
The free-to-attend festival, believed to be the biggest Financial Planning event ever to take place in the UK, was held at the NEC near Birmingham.
There is more information about the event here: www.pfsfestival.org