Brexit. Please let’s ‘Keep calm and carry on.’
Having won the Scottish devolution referendum and the last general election with Project Fear, David Cameron and George Osborne tried the same tactic to win for ‘remain’.
This became so conditioned into the London business community that when the rest of the country voted ‘leave’, panic ensued.
But the world has not ended, and we should follow the advice of the Queen, who urged political leaders to calm down and feel hope and optimism about the next five years.
I started my career in 1979, shortly after the mid-70s property crash, which had been caused by rampant over-lending by the banks. Guess what - the 1990s crash was again caused by the same degree of over-lending.
By about 1993 some form of recovery was in place, and 15 years later, in 2008, the same thing happened again: the banks had lent far too much, and the Lehman crisis tipped everyone over the edge.
So in my view a property cycle takes about 15 years to play out, as it takes that much time for a new generation of bankers to emerge and for the previous generation’s experience to be lost or forgotten.
I would also suggest that there is a lull in the middle of those 15-year cycles, which we saw in the early 1980s, 2001-2002 and now 2016.
Putting aside the issue of how the world’s central banks clear up quantitative easing, the clearing banks have not over-lent, and with the lowest interest rates in an extremely long time, there are precious few forced sellers.
The market is not going to crash, and we all need to get out of the negative sentiment that has pervaded the business environment.
I have read ridiculous headlines to the effect that 100,000 jobs could be lost in the financial sector in London as people move to locations such as Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris.
But this ignores the fact that Dublin is a small city with a population of just 1,350,000, and Frankfurt has only 890,000 people, so absorbing, say, 400,000 new inhabitants (banker plus partner plus two children) is just not feasible. Furthermore, most of the bright young French would prefer to work in London rather than Paris because of France’s confiscatory tax rates and unequal labour laws.
I am greatly heartened that we now have a new prime minister, and that an acrimonious and debilitating leadership contest has been avoided.
Theresa May has created a bold cabinet, and now this team must resolve Brexit in a way that is economically beneficial to the UK. The sooner we have certainty the better.
I am also heartened by the way the cast-offs from the retail funds have been snapped up, and that the occupational market is carrying on, exemplified by Wells Fargo completing its £300m owner-occupation purchase in the City.
Although I voted ‘remain’, we are where we are, and let’s be confident that a favourable deal will be cut with Europe. When we look back in five years’ time, I expect the EU referendum will be seen as the catalyst for much-needed reform in the eurozone.
The UK economy will be thriving as our entrepreneurial spirit comes through and our population continues to increase, supported by hard-working and talented migrants from all over the world.
I am proud to have this week formally taken over as chief executive of Helical and I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Mike Slade, who has stood down after 32 years and now becomes our non-executive chairman.
When Slade first got involved with Helical Bar in 1984, it was making steel reinforcement bars and had a market capitalisation of only £250,000.
He injected a couple of property deals, sold the steel business back to management and the rest, as they say, is history.
If you were lucky enough to have been a shareholder back in 1984 and had reinvested all of your dividends, your investment would have increased over 500 times. Mike has shown true entrepreneurial spirit and has built a great team which I am now privileged to take over.
He injected a couple of property deals, sold the steel business back to management and the rest, as they say, is history. If you were lucky enough to have been a shareholder back in 1984 and had reinvested all of your dividends, your investment would have increased over 500 times. Slade has shown true entrepreneurial spirit and has built a great team, which I am privileged to take over.
In addition, Slade has also been one of the key drivers of LandAid. Although definitive figures are lost in the mists of time and the charity commission’s vaults, it is estimated that Slade has helped LandAid raise the best part of £18m over the last 29 years. He has also been hugely successful in the yachting world. Altogether a man with that rare attribute - charisma.
Gerald Kaye is the new CEO of Helical