A slew of geopolitical events over the last 12 months has meant the environment for investing has deteriorated notably since last year, a prominent name in U.K. finance told CNBC Monday.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Martin Gilbert, the co-CEO of British investment company Standard Life Aberdeen, gave the U.S.-China trade conflict and the Brexit impasse as two examples of how market sentiment has been impacted.
Since the last event in Davos, the U.S. has put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods with Beijing responding with tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods — targeting politically important industries such as agriculture. Stock markets saw hefty falls at the end of 2018, accentuated by fears over the conflict and how it could affect global growth. Indeed, many indexes saw sharp corrections with some even entering official bear market territory.
Meanwhile, Brexit talks are reaching an end game with the U.K. closing in on its official departure date of March 29. But U.K. leader Theresa May's proposals have been overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers, and the country is facing the prospect of leaving the EU without a formal agreement — something that business leaders and industry experts have been warning about since the negotiations began.
Gilbert warned that the global economy could face even more headwinds this year which could lead further fluctuations in the markets.