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Election Fever

Election fever hit India and Australia in May. The former, the largest democratic election in the world, resulted in a comfortable win for the incumbent – Narendra Modi and his Hindu

Nationalist Party (Bharatiya Janata Party). Mr Modi comes from a humble background and this appears to have resonated with millions of voters aspiring to a similar uplift in fortunes. Amongst other things he has promised

free medical insurance, 100 new airports and the installation of 100 million toilets – something that matters in a country deficient in basic sanitation.

India – an opportunity not to be squandered

We have long admired the economic potential offered by India but, like many, been frustrated at sclerotic government and administration, mountains of red tape and the struggle to adequately educate the approximate 47% of the population that is under the age of 24 (a mere 650 million people). This is the start of Mr Modi’s sixth year in office – we hope that he, and India, don’t squander this latest opportunity.

Australia’s election result could provide some much-needed stability

Australia sprang an election surprise. All the pre-election polls had the Labor opposition taking power from the centre-right Liberal National Party (LNP). However, within a few hours from the start of vote counting it became apparent that Scott Morrison (the Prime Minister) and his coalition would not only win but achieve an absolute majority in Parliament – thus avoiding the complication of relying on minor parties or independents to govern.

Known for its merry-go-round of Prime Ministers (six in the last nine years) there is now a chance of at least three years of stability as that is the theoretical duration of the Australian election cycle. The public is weary of political machinations and flip-flops. Mr Morrison has now earned himself a level of authority not enjoyed by any recent holders of the top job. We hope it is used wisely.

The European Union goes to the polls

May also saw elections in the European Union, where all 28-member states elect representatives to the European Parliament. The Brexit Party (a single-issue Party just a few months old) headed by Nigel Farage, stormed across the line in the UK with 32% of the vote, whilst the Conservatives limped home in 5th place with just 9% of the vote. The Labour Party secured 14%, the Liberal Democrats 19% and the Greens 11%. The poor showing by the Conservatives and Labour reflects disillusionment about the way the Brexit process has been handled. Farage taps into populist sentiments and is an accomplished media performer – something that matters a lot in modern day politics. The next general election in the UK is scheduled for 2022 and the performance by Farage and his team is a significant shot across the bows of both major parties.

‘The cosy and predictable political landscape in Europe has been shattered. Pro-EU parties still hold sway throughout Europe but in France, Poland, Italy and Britain the opposite is now true. Quite where it all heads next is impossible to forecast.’

Elsewhere in the EU the results are fragmented but the winners appear to be the Greens and Liberals whilst the losers are the mainstream centre-right and centre-left parties that have dominated for decades. The cosy and predictable political landscape in Europe has been shattered. Pro-EU parties still hold sway throughout Europe but in France, Poland, Italy and Britain the opposite is now true.

Quite where it all heads next is impossible to forecast.


Vanguard names new chief exec

Vanguard chief executive Bill McNabb is stepping down as chief executive of the fund management giant after nine years at the helm. He will step down on 1 January next year, but will remain as chairman of the board. McNabb is being succeeded by chief investment officer Tim Buckley. In turn, global head of fixed […]


Calls for Govt to scrap buy-to-let tax relief changes

Most landlords want the Government to reverse the changes to tax relief on buy-to-let mortgage interest, according to Paragon Mortgages. The lender’s latest PRS Trends Report asked landlords what single Government action would help their business, and reversing the income tax changes topped the list. The second ranked answer was for no more Government interference […]

IFAs hit out at FCA fee increase but back Pension Wise cuts

Advisers have hit out at the FCA’s increase in advisers’ regulatory bills, but have welcomed a move to reduce the amount they pay towards public guidance services. While yesterday the FCA did increase its own fees for the A.13 fee block, which includes advisers, by 4.7 per cent this week, it did cut what advisers […]

What is the impact of charges on your clients’ investments?

By Iain McGowan, Head of Fund Proposition, Scottish Widows This year has seen investment management charges come under the spotlight. In this article, you’ll read about how regulatory changes are driving more transparency in investment cost reporting, and what this means for you and your clients. Transparency has been a key focus for regulators who have […]


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