One of Britain’s most important investors has told Sky News that “Brexit won’t be as bad” as predicted, but says the global economic system “needs to change” because people are losing faith in capitalism.
Martin Gilbert is co-chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, Europe’s second largest fund manager.
The firm manages around £600bn of assets around the globe – equivalent to about £80 for every person in the world.
He told me that he considered world growth to be “very strong” and said the United States economy was “booming”.
But he also stated he was confident that the UK economy would cope with Brexit better than many had expected.
“I think Brexit won’t be as bad as we thought it might be because we all tend to overshoot on the down side when we make predictions,” he said.
Video: Business leaders: EU customs union vital
“The borrowing figures suggest the UK economy is doing okay. Job figures are good. I think it is going to be better than people imagine.
“Companies in the UK are also doing OK. You have to remember to disregard what economists are saying and look at corporate results.
“Some British companies, especially domestic companies, seem to be doing quite well. Certainly we’re not yet seeing the recession that was predicted.”
Gilbert said the financial services sector in the UK was still troubled by the uncertainty over Brexit negotiations, and added: “The issue that the Government didn’t get is that we in the financial services industry would have to press the contingency button so quickly.
“We can’t just press it the day before the two years is up. So all the banks are preparing their contingency to set up another office in Europe – normally Dublin. Dublin’s doing quite well out of this.”
But Gilbert, like some other major business leaders, believes there is another issue looming for global companies, and that is growing disquiet about the effects of global capitalism.
He told me: “If you speak to the younger generation they have fallen out of love with capitalism, so it does need to change and become more user friendly going forward.
“There is no faith in the system from younger people than myself.
More from Brexit
“In the case of asset management, we have to become more transparent and appeal to youngsters.
“They want to know how much they’re paying – how much they’re paying in fees, what we’re investing in and why we’re investing in them. They don’t want to invest in companies that aren’t doing the right thing.”