2021 – Cause for Optimism
I hope, despite the unusual circumstances caused by the pandemic, that you managed to enjoy the Christmas break, and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy new year.
So, here we are in Lockdown number 3. On reflection, the first lockdown did not seem to be as bad, probably because it was Spring, and the weather was good and there was an element of uniqueness to the situation. I am sure, like me you are all finding the current position tough and challenging – this does affect us all and I am reminded daily how mentally difficult this is by watching my own sons’ experiences in education, a new career, and the lack of social interaction. I hope you are all finding ways to stay positive and keep mentally stimulated.
As I stand back and look beyond the current situation to the year ahead, there are reasons for optimism.
The development of multiple vaccines means there is now, hopefully, an end in sight to the disruptions we have all experienced over the past ten months. We do not know exactly when the full benefits will be felt and we can return to a more normal life, but I am confident it means the second half of 2021 will be markedly – and positively – different to the first. In Somerset, the feedback I am getting from our clients and my family is the vaccination roll out has gathered pace, with 80-year-olds now having received 2 doses and 70-year-olds now receiving their first injection. Well done to everyone delivering the vaccines!
There are other causes for optimism in the longer term too.
Looking around the world, there are changes taking place which the markets see as opportunities. For example, a new administration in Washington, a new basis for the UK’s relationship with Europe, and greater international commitment to the sustainability of our planet.
2020 was of course a remarkable year. The pandemic is a unique experience that has affected all our lives in different ways and to different extents, and for which there has been no roadmap. Our role has been to be by your side throughout; to guide you through the short-term market fluctuations; and to maintain an eye on the longer-term horizon. I do not underestimate the impact that those fluctuations had on your finances, but I hope you can take assurance from the fact that events bore out our confidence that markets would in due course recover.
I trust you already know this, but we continue to be here for you.