On Friday 24th June we awoke to the news that Brexit was a reality and the UK had delivered a somewhat unexpected shock to the western world and decided that it intends to leave the European Union. But should it have been such a shock? – was this not a ‘Black Swan’ moment that we actually could have seen coming?
For those of you not picking up on the micro detail of the results, the Chichester polling area voted for Brexit, with just over 51% voting to leave. That may have been a surprise to you, but for me personally, it was less of a shock. As a business with a diverse client base, we took a decision in the run up to the referendum not to promote any partisan views via our website or communications. We covered a few related stories but we deliberately shied away from anything too controversial.
But, as a number of you will know, I did speak to around 30 clients on a one-to-one basis before the vote, to gauge current thinking and understand the issues that were driving people’s decision making process. Whilst some were wavering and still deliberating, the majority of people I spoke to were decided and were very clearly coming down on one side. My unofficial straw poll was clear; we would vote to leave. The only difference with the national result was the majority, with my findings suggesting the gap would be far greater than the eventual outcome.
So when the decision came, as taken aback as I think we all were that it was actually happening on a national scale, I was not surprised that the people of Chichester had decided to leave.
But where do we go from here? It’s still very early days for sure, but it would appear that we are set to do all of our laundry at the same time; Brexit, new cabinet overseen by a new Prime Minister and new party leaders all round; and so perhaps any volatility will be more extreme but concentrated into a shorter period? We can expect and have already witnessed some market and economic volatility but even the FTSE has recovered rapidly, now at its highest point since February.
Despite some of the biblical warnings issued by the ‘Remain’ camp during the campaign, I felt that by the end of the 24th June, many had accepted the result and were now ready to work together to make the best/most of the decision. Whilst there are undoubtedly more, bigger hurdles to come as we untangle ourselves from the EU, I believe it is this British resolve to ‘soldier on’ that will mean any short term impact will be limited and that long term, we can retain our place as the world’s 5th largest economy.