Prime Minister David Cameron's London 2012

In my last column in early December, I forecast that the U.S. recovery would continue, which was confirmed later in the month. I also forecast that even though the Eurozone would enter a mild recession while the member countries continued to wrestle with the debt crisis, the United Kingdom would experience slow growth but would not join the countries on the continent in recession. Shortly after this column appeared Prime Minister David Cameron became the target of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ire when he stood alone at the December EU summit and did not vote for the new treaty. Cameron made this decision "after failing to secure safeguards for the U.K.'s financial services sector." (WSJ December 22, 2011) A survey by the Institute of Directors showed that the U.K. business community strongly supported this decision, with 77% of the business leaders surveyed agreeing with his veto. (WSJ December 22, 2011)


With the financial services sector being a key driver of the U.K. economy, his lonely stance is to be applauded, particularly in London. I sense that over time we will come to see Prime Minister Cameron's decision lead to a faster recovery for the U.K. when combined with the austerity measures he instituted upon his election victory.


In his annual New Year's message, the Prime Minister acknowledged that 2012 would be a challenging year. "I know how difficult it will be to get through this...with ordinary families worried about what 2012 might bring. There are fears about jobs and paying the bills. The search for work has become difficult, particularly for young people. And rising prices have hit household budgets. I get that. We are taking action on both fronts." (FT January 2, 2012) He did find reason for some optimism, though, with the forthcoming summer Olympics in London and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. He stated that there was an "extraordinary incentive to look outward, look onwards and to look our best. This will be the year Britain sees the world and the world sees Britain. It must be the year we go for it-the year the coalition government I lead does everything it takes to get our country up to strength." (WSJ January 2, 2012)


We at Asset International share Prime Minister Cameron's guarded optimism about the long-term growth prospects for the U.K.'s role as a financial engine, and we will continue to invest and expand our business in London in 2012. Our editorial and commercial teams have both been strengthened over the past several months. In late January and early February I will be spending time with my colleagues in our new London offices at 200 Aldersgate Street in The City.


Happy New Year!