It's been quite the year politically. Brexit, Trump's election, the triggering of Article 50, a new French President and now another General Election.
But what do advisers make of it all? Well, from our own research it seems that the majority are unmoved by the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Broadly speaking, the business world doesn't like imposed changes or major events. You only have to see how sharply markets reacted to the recent crisis in North Korea and the first round of the French presidential election to know that calm waters are always preferred.
Despite all the uncertainty, however, a survey conducted at our Mortgage Vision events found that advisers were generally unconcerned about their prospects post Brexit. Out of more than 700 UK mortgage advisers, over 80% thought Brexit would be positive or have no impact on them at all, with fewer than 2% being 'very negative' about the upcoming changes.
And although there were differences around the country, there was no obvious regional discrepancy. At least half of the respondents from Winchester, Wales and Birmingham based firms, said that Brexit would have no impact. In Newcastle 42% thought the effect would be positive or very positive, compared with just 18% in Leeds, whilst about a quarter of advisers in South West London (26%) and a slightly higher number in Manchester (28%) believed Brexit would have a negative or very negative effect on their business.
It’s pretty clear then that the resilience of advisers in the face of all the current uncertainty was impressive.
You could hardly blame advisers if they were concerned for the future given that no one quite knows what the final outcome of Brexit will be. From the survey, however, it would appear that for the majority it is business as usual.
I put this down to a number of factors. Firstly advisers have seen and dealt with monumental change since regulation was introduced in 2004 and are thriving. And whatever Brexit, or indeed a new government, decides to do, it's just one more thing to contend with.
Secondly, the negotiations are at such an early stage it's impossible to say what the end result will be. Although there has been much talk that some of the big players in the financial sector might up sticks and move to mainland Europe, people in the UK will still buy houses and need mortgages, and therefore still need mortgage advisers.
Thirdly, let's remember that the economy is moving in the right direction at the moment – which is not what can be said for the EU. Rates are low, with no immediate pressure to raise them: inflation, although rising, is also still low, and there is money about.
I suspect there is also a certain amount of 'well there's not much we can do about it anyway, so let's just carry on doing what we do best’, which is to professionally provide new and existing clients with an essential advice service.
As Brexit gets closer, and the final deal begins to come into focus, I suspect that views might sharpen up, but for time being at least most advisers are just getting on with it.
Although I think an event free time after June 8th would be welcomed by everyone.
*Mark Lofthouse is Chief Executive Officer of Mortgage Brain, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.