From Brexit to Trump, 2016 was full of political shocks. But were they really so surprising? For over thirty years there have been vast changes in international trade, accelerated further by the rise of a digital economy. Such globalisation has created immense wealth and helped whole populations overcome poverty, but it has also increased inequalities.
Cross border commercial and economic integration has increased the mobility of labour and capital. Unfortunately, there is still not a full enough understanding of these profound changes and the advantages of integration in Europe. Geographical areas most affected by these transformations have not necessarily been given enough support. Against this backdrop, it should be no surprise that populist messages are increasingly met with a positive response.
With this in mind, 2017 will be a crucial year with several major elections in Europe. France and Germany, as the two engines of the European Union, will be particularly significant. On top of this, the UK is preparing to leave the EU and the Trump administration is now facing the challenges of the world stage. Although it would be an understatement to say that the coming political year does not offer much visibility, the macro economic signals are appearing to be quite favourable.
Looking closer to home, this year we are jointly celebrating half a century of SGPB Hambros, and a little over half a century of Kleinwort Benson, in the Channel Islands. We are delighted to be able to give a snap shot of our increased ability to create bespoke solutions for our clients, utilising both SGPB Hambros and Kleinwort Benson teams. And lastly, we are going to be launching the new combined product offering for Kleinwort Hambros over the next few months. In preparation for this, we have asked our CIO, Mouhammed Choukeir, to give you an overview.