Welcome to this first 2021 edition of IFA and GBI Magazine.
Since we last went to press in December, so much has changed in the world around us. Let’s start with the best news of all. The roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations has begun following regulatory approval in many countries around the world. Given the emergence of new ‘variants of concern’, it could not have been more timely that millions of people around the world are now gratefully receiving this precious gift of a shot in the arm. But there is very a long way to go. Concerns about the impact of mutations, let alone how we vaccinate the global population, impose clear restraints on any premature feelings of euphoria. It looks like we will be living with Covid-19 for some time to come, with all that means for the way we live and work.
Not that you’d have guessed that by looking at world stockmarkets of course. They continue to look past the huge global cost of the pandemic, past the massive economic and financial impacts and look forward to a more optimistic, post-Covid world. At least your clients will be happy they took your advice to remain invested last March when fear dominated and stocks plunged!
THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
As I write this, the free world has just welcomed a new leader. President Biden’s inauguration was eagerly anticipated by so many people. I must confess to feeling strangely emotional watching the inauguration ceremony – and no it wasn’t caused by Lady Gaga’s outfit (it was quite restrained – for her) – but the feeling that at last there was a sense of reason and reality making a much welcome return to the US corridors of power. The appointment of the first ever female, first ever Asian American, first ever black Vice President in Kamala Harris was another significant moment in the history of the USA. As was the news that Donald Trump will be the first US President to be impeached twice. Ouch! But what will have hurt him most will be suspension of his social media accounts – most notably Twitter. Double ouch! This action brings another debate all by itself, but that one’s for another day.
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
A deal it was! The UK and EU finally managed to reach a compromise and the Trade and Co-operation Agreement was signed on Christmas Eve allaying many fears about what a ‘no deal’ outcome might really mean. Whilst the TCA was welcomed in many ways, its repercussions will, no doubt, be felt and discussed for years to come.
A NEW NORMAL
Thankfully, the financial planning and advice profession continues to get on with the business of advising clients, despite all the restrictions of working from home. As we wonder what Mr. Sunak might have up his sleeve by way of Budget changes on 3rd March, it looks like being a very busy run up to the tax year-end. We hope that, amongst the pages of this magazine, you will discover some interesting ideas that will help shape your thinking whether it’s on technical matters or around business process.