- 18th Dec 2015
2015: An annual roundup
2015 has been an interesting year for financial services, and the economy overall. While not an exhaustive list, below are a few stories from the year.
Pension freedom – perhaps the biggest impact on the UK financial landscape in 2015 was the introduction of the new ‘pension freedom’ rules. With faith placed in the hands of the retiree, pension accessibility was opened up to new levels in April. And while pre-April talk was of outlandish purchases and Lamborghinis, rationality seems to have won. While the amount of money taken out of pension schemes did – as you would expect – increase, the general impression is not one of recklessness. That could change, however, and perhaps we won’t see the full impact of any negative effects until a number of years down the line. Exhausted pension pots are, of course, the downside to the increased financial freedom being offered and are, to a degree, inevitable in some number.
Election – the close run election didn’t quite manifest itself in the way we expected, but it did do a lot to spark interest and excitement in politics throughout the country. While opinion polls had suggested a tight race, with a majority verdict seemingly impossible, exit polls predicted a much more favourable number of Conservative seats. The outcome, of course, was even more favourable for the Tories and resulted in a majority, and the accuracy of the opinion polls being put under a lot of scrutiny.
The election aftermath and the appointment of a new leader of the Labour party meant that UK politics maintained their share of column inches throughout the remainder of the year.
Black Monday – around a third of the value of the Chinese stock market was lost over the summer, culminating in heavy losses throughout the world’s markets too– most noticeable on Monday 24th August. A Chinese equity sell off and a currency devaluation against the dollar had a resounding impact around the globe. Given the size of the Chinese economy, repercussions of this magnitude weren’t overly surprising. That said, the Dow Jones had its largest ever single day drop.
Greek crisis – the finances of Greece were in the spotlight this year. The bailout drama was front page press for the first half of the year. With cash reserves running low, a 60 Euro limit was placed on ATM withdrawals at one point across the country. Eventually, MPs voted for the reforms demanded by Greece’s creditors and a bailout was agreed. The Drachma remains a currency confined to history.
Robo-advice – it seemed to be the topic of the year for a lot of people within the finance industry. And while it’s still a relatively new idea, this was a year when the concept of online financial advice began to receive noticeable traction. Going forward it’s certainly going to be a growing service and we’re delighted to be at the forefront of this industry. We’re excited to see what 2016 will bring!
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Other content you might find interesting:
- November market commentary
- The Autumn Statement and the buy-to-let conundrum
- Smart spending over Christmas
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