Welcome to 2017! Even without a crystal ball we can certainly say that this year promises to be an interesting one for countries, markets, businesses and investors.
The year kicks off with a new and very different President in the United States, with a very different agenda and style if Twitter is anything to go by. Many businesses in the US and globally, including New Zealand, are dedicating some considerable resources to ensuring all President Trump’s steps are carefully monitored and businesses can respond accordingly if needed.
The UK will continue to come to grips with Brexit, the impact it’ll have on those living in Britain and outside of it. Life outside the EU may be quite different and no doubt it will bring new challenges and opportunities which will captivate global media and many of us.
Continuing on the European theme, there are elections in both France and Germany. While changes in France are more certain, given what we saw in 2016 even Germany is not immune to significant changes.
The EU continues to face huge challenges particularly when it comes to relations with Russia, but even relations with China and the Middle East where conflict and unrest continues are becoming more difficult to manage.
At home, we ourselves will be voting for the next Prime Minister and the Government. While it is looking very likely the National Party will continue to set course for the next three years, it will be a very different government to which we saw under John Key. Bill English’s focus on all New Zealanders and the economy, make him perhaps a less favourite but a very stable hand.
The outlook for investors looks more positive than negative. Political surprises and continuing concerns over global economic unrest as well as corporate bad-behavior, which is becoming more visible much quicker due to developments in technology and social media, will play a key role in how investors are feeling throughout the year.
New Zealand investors should ensure they are invested in the right funds for them, taking into account how much risk they are comfortable with and how long they have until they’ll start drawing down their savings.
All of us at Mercer wish you the very best for 2017 and hope it’s a very successful year, both for you and your family.