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The fish, the finances and the last act in the Brexit drama

The (for the time being) final curtain in the Brexit drama is rising these days, but it does not look like a good ending for the British financial and fund industry. Until recently, the biggest opportunity seemed to be “Fish for Finance“. But that is unlikely to happen. British financial firms are sitting on dry land if they do not have their own branch in the European Union by now (read the whole article as a PDF). Until the cancellation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last Friday, “Fish for Finance” – a possible trade between fishing rights for EU fishing boats in British waters on one hand and access for British financial products to the European Union on the other – looked quite promising. Haddock for funds or cod for derivatives, so to speak. Continue Reading

The Woodford case: When nervous investors sit on illiquid investments

The impending collapse of the Woodford Equity Income Fund (WEIF) in the UK may not only cost (ex-)star fund manager Neil Woodford his company. The crisis also casts a shadow over the increasingly popular illiquid investments, especially among institutional investors, and their supervision.

The case of Neil Woodford, who is currently holding British investors, the media and financial regulators in suspense, can be told from three perspectives: as a drama of the rise and fall of a former star fund manager, as evidence of the carelessness of supervisors, or as a harbinger of the difficulties of active asset managers when they juggle illiquid investments. Above all, however, it is a warning of how reluctantly the key players in the affair communicate.

So, what happened? Continue Reading

The quiet before the Brexit storm (infographic)

Unease within the British investment industry is increasing: Facing the threat of a „No Deal“-scenario there are continuous speculations about the extent of (anticipated) asset outflows due to Brexit, which companies are going to leave and how many employees they will take with them. Since the referendum the media, investment managers and national trade associations have their finger on the industry’s pulse. They predict: Small investment boutiques without any European representation will be hit particularly hard (article as PDF file) Continue Reading

Big Brexit and small businesses: How to prepare for the unpredictable?

Monkey sitting on a wooden sign with a warning that it is dangerous to feed animalsA couple of days ago I had an argument with my wife in the kitchen. It was, once again, about Brexit. The day before, Theresa May had received a serious slapping by the joint heads of the EU in Salzburg. I had been agonising for some time about what Brexit would possibly mean for us personally, but also for our business as a specialised PR consultancy (of course, I had written an outline of a few pages about it). When I asked my wife to read the outline, she said, while spooning sugar in her tea, “Well, we’ve really got no idea at all what’s going to happen”.

“This is exactly why we have to think about possible scenarios”, I responded.

“But that’s changing every day now! You’re just wasting your time and energy!”

“And that’s exactly why!”

“But what on earth are you going to prepare for!?”

And so it went on …  thank goodness, the steak knives were already in the dishwasher.

At some point we both agreed that we didn’t know any more than all the other owners of small (and big) businesses who don’t sit at the negotiation table in Salzburg, Brussels or London. Also, that it is extremely difficult to plan for a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU in the face of all these, quite frightening scenarios and questions: (How) Will future services for clients in the EU be taxed? Will it be necessary to provide additional qualifications or licences to do business with clients in the EU? What will be the legal status of EU foreigners in the United Kingdom with a company which is registered in England and Wales? Continue Reading

The last fund manager of London − a post-Brexit Sci-Fi short story

baroudeur regardant le coucher de soleilIt’s the year 2023 and Brexit negotiations have gone terribly wrong. As a consequence, the UK has dismembered itself, an exodus of firms from London to mainland Europe has taken place − and the Shetland Islands are now in third place behind Luxembourg and Ireland for the registration of new funds. A short story by Hagen Gerle, Gerle Financial Communications.

A picture from a family holiday in Cornwall, the 2020 stand-up metal award for ‘Best British Alternative Asset Manager (over 3 yrs.)’, a copy of a runners’ magazine – there weren’t many personal belongings left that Adam had to put in his cardboard box this morning. Most of the other stuff had already made its way into his small flat where the big removal boxes were piled up against the wall, or he had simply chucked them in the bin. ‘Travel light’, he told himself. ‘You’ll buy what you need in Helsinki.’ Continue Reading

PRIIPs: There’s something seriously wrong with communications if the information document contains a comprehension alert

logo-concedroThe acronym may sound quite onomatopoetic and leave the impression of speed – in reality, the upcoming introduction of “PRIIPs” for the investment and insurance industry has more than just one catch to it. The most severe critic is that the new basic information documents for Packaged Retail Investment and Insurance Products lack the qualities for which they are supposed to be launched: transparency, comparability and, most of all, comprehensibility. A joint article by Anke Limbach, Concedro, and Hagen Gerle, Gerle Financial Communications. This article is only available in German.

Smarter financial communication in a more sophisticated world

Copylab logo 400x400-orangeThe growing complexity of alternative investment products, and their regulation, calls for a new approach to communication. The customer needs ‘investment speak‘ to be demystified. And fund managers need to condense and convey their technical knowledge. To achieve these goals – especially when switching from one language into another – companies have to be able to transcreate their content, not simply translate it. Ross Hunter, founder and CEO of the British investment writing company Copylab, co-operation partner of Gerle Financial Communications, explains in the following article how that is going to work. Continue Reading