For the UK, Financial Services has a critical part to play, in terms of GDP, our balance of payments and employment. Within the Financial Services industry though, increasingly Fintech is starting to come to the fore. New challengers such as Starling, Monzo, Revolut and Wise have disrupted the incumbents and as a result, the industry has permanently changed. For any American moving to the UK, their appreciation for the way in which technology automates payments in the UK, is testament to that, with everything from contactless payments in the tube, to the integration of chip and pin.

The question is though, what next? In practice, whilst the UK has been adapting to a post EU framework, Banks have had to scale up risk & compliance hiring, in order to manage a dual regulatory framework, equally as that surge comes to an end, and banks start to normalize, recruitment there is starting to drop off. Similarly, post Brexit, the London Stock Exchange no longer is the leading stock market for the EU. Now companies on the FTSE are trading at an earnings deficit compared to NYSE (average 11x earnings compared to 20x) where increasingly that is becoming a question for businesses as to whether in order to maximise shareholder value they need to relist.

Meanwhile Fintech is growing up, and is growing in share in terms of total jobs across Financial Services. Ten years ago, one in twenty vacancies across Financial Services in London were in Fintech, now that is down to one in six. The convergence is real. Equally net vacancies are down, and the total amount of people employed across Financial Services is less than it was. The jobs being lost in Banking and Insurance are not being created within Fintech on a one-to-one ratio. And the additional point is, the jobs being lost are well paid ones. Which has real implications in terms of the middle class being thinned out.

Looking ahead, this has ramifications for other industries too. The Labour Government has announced plans for significant investment into the Energy industry, where this is likely to be centred around Cleantech, given the policy to phase out Oil & Gas. The big question therefore is what that then means in terms of jobs and employment. For the Scots, it will prove to be a boon as Great British Energy is to be headquartered in Scotland, equally the total amount of jobs being proposed to being created are a fraction of the numbers currently employed in Oil & Gas. Similarly, the rise of AI means that in every industry, automation is streamlining processes, where businesses are under pressure to increase shareholder returns.

Against this backdrop, the global 1% own more of a share of the worlds wealth than at any point in the last decade, meanwhile the middle class in the western world are facing the harsh truth, that the next generation is likely to trade down in terms of living standards. Meanwhile extreme parties are rising in the polls globally, be it in the UK (Farage) France (Le Pen) or Germany, whilst no one knows what will happen in the USA either.

For the UK, it is likely to be a safe place, given that the electoral system means only centrist parties are electable. And Brexit was the UK culture war that was fought, and arguably the nation is reconciled, albeit not always happily. Hence already what we are seeing is GBP strengthening against other currencies, be that EURO or USD, which will act to help tame inflation, by reducing the cost of imports. That is likely to give Starmer a window of a few years to create a roadmap to bring prosperity to the UK middle classes. Fail in that though, and who knows what the next election looks like. Farage as the next Prime Minister after Starmer? The stakes could not be higher.