Will Life Get Better For Investors in 2024?

With two big elections on the way, 2024 will be a year of big changes. But it's not just political. Investors have got plenty to think about too

Ollie Smith 11 December, 2023 | 9:55AM
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Ollie Smith: It's been a frenetic year with some huge stories. Throughout, the spectre of inflation, and the repeated embarrassment for central banks who just two years ago predicted it would be a "transitory affair." Today, the phrase du jour is "higher for longer|. But ahead of the pack is the US, which has dodged recession and lowered inflation faster than its European counterparts. But though a central narrative, inflation was not the only narrative in 2023.

In March, there was brief talk of a banking crisis as the shockwaves from SVB's collapse made themselves known. The big corporate story was Credit Suisse, which suffered – shall we say – a collapse of sentiment that quickly proved fatal to long-held and naive hopes of a turnaround.

It's not all finance, though. All over the world there have been supra-financial dramas. Conflict in Ukraine rumbled on, fresh fighting broke out in the Middle East, and, somewhat bizarrely, it felt at times like Taylor Swift was a more effective leader than our seasoned CEOs, presidents, and aristocrats.

But that's the macro stuff. The key question, for me at least, is this: did life get better for investors? Well, it certainly depends on whether you were invested in European – and UK – equities. But on one front at least, there has been big change.

2023 was the year of Consumer Duty in the UK, but it was also the moment St James’s Place, long attacked for its opaque charging structure, finally gave up the ghost and agreed to simplify. How that unfolds will be one of the major stories in asset management and regulation in 2024. Elsewhere, I wonder, do you feel your life as an investor is getting easier?

So to next year. There are two big elections on the way, in the UK and the US, and, I suspect, all eyes will be on China, and perhaps on Tesla, bitcoin, or perhaps the banks once more. There could even be some uncomfortable conversations about ESG. Regardless, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Have a very good festive break, and we’ll see you in the new year.

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Ollie Smith

Ollie Smith  is editor of Morningstar UK

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