AFTER an eventful start to 2021, which has already seen the completion of Brexit, new lockdown measures and the acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, experts from Johnston Carmichael, based in Aberdeen, have revealed their top business predictions for the remainder of the year.
Andrew Walker, chief executive officer, said: “Despite the continued uncertain economic outlook, the positive is that businesses have shown they can be highly flexible and deal with disruption in an agile way.
“As we move into 2021, the innovation that picked up pace to in response to the pandemic will continue to accelerate and create opportunity for some businesses.
“The challenge for them will be to ensure they have sufficient headroom to finance the shifts required to adapt to ever changing circumstances and enable them to capitalise on growth opportunities. It’s going to be a stop-start kind of year given the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19 coupled with Brexit.”
Graham Alexander, partner and head of oil & gas
“Companies throughout the oilfield sector are acutely aware of the urgent need to address their role in the transition to sustainable and clean energy, which has been propelled at far greater speed by the coronavirus pandemic. The barriers to change in oil and gas are lower than ever.
“Businesses now need to act quickly as the coming decade will become one during which huge change occurs in the energy mix we rely on, covering everything from transport to power and the products we use
“Mergers and acquisitions activity will play a role in the transition, providing the funds for the infrastructure and innovation needed by businesses to deliver our future energy needs.
“Creative deal making and financial structures will be required, and we are well placed to support oilfield service companies build for this future.”
Craig Hendry, Johnston Carmichael Wealth Ltd managing director
“Understandably the pandemic brought financial planning to the forefront of everyone’s minds, not just in terms of reassessing finances for the here and now, but also in terms of life priorities and the legacy they are leaving behind.
“A newfound respect for our communities and their well-being is likely to drive an increased emphasis on ethical investment opportunities – particularly those with a positive impact on the environment. This is a cultural trend we expect to continue well into the future.
“As vaccines are rolled out in 2021, we can expect to see markets rally globally. However, there will always be uncertainty in the investment markets with a new US President taking the reins, the impact of the Brexit deal, and the anticipated Spring budget in March.
“While there’s undoubtedly more uncertainty ahead, it’s important to keep one eye on the future and part of this involves keeping a cool head, weighing up the risks and in many cases keeping calm and carrying on. Our advice for financial planning in 2021 is: keep talking to your financial planner and keep asking questions.”