The Highly Placed Professional's 2013 Predictions

Crystal Ball

I wasn't the worst City pundit in 2012.

OK, Europe didn't implode as most predicted, but there were many moments of sheer terror.

Watching Europe these days is like trench warfare. Hours of boredom and irritation, punctuated by the occasional passage of dread and dismay.

Anyway, it's clear that for City folk, European success is critical if we want to keep our jobs and continue to play the game.

So just like in 2012, predictions for 2013 ultimately depend on the new status quo. It's like a default by amortisation for the likes of Greece and other periphery countries. If we hang in there, I see precious metals losing what's left of their lustre.

I also see European stock markets higher, and European Government bonds start to sell off, with core markets such as Germany and France hit worst.

So I guess I'm a bit more positive these days, as I see more risk on the table next year. It's hard not to be more bullish, though, when you remember where we were this time last year, staring into that EU abyss.

But none of this will help the City much, as today's diet of regulatory control and more stringent capital requirements means it's a lot harder to leverage up and make loads of money.

In 2013, I think we'll see more and more agency brokers and City boutiques (read 'bucket shops') continue to pop up like mushrooms under the staircase.

The exodus of seasoned market pros shows no sign of lessening, and these poor chaps and chapesses have to find something else to do with their time.

As usual, the market will continue to become ever more intermediated. I only hope I don't end up going that way myself; I don't like the whole philosophy of 'eat what you kill.' Maybe it's because I'm simply too institutionalised like some old jail-bird, although maybe it's because I'm just too lazy!

So here it is in brief: Buy stocks and  property; sell bonds and precious metals; steer clear of hedge funds, and keep the day job!

That'll be £5 please.

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