Will politics continue to surprise the markets in 2020?
WE have become used to politics providing surprises and we don't have to look too far from home in order to find some examples.
Brexit has dominated the conversation on both sides of the border here and even the border itself became a hot topic for discussion.
While things up on the hill have finally start to move into gear, and after all the exhausting media and political debate, Brexit looks like it will come at the end January, whether Big Ben chimes or not.
The devil is often in the detail and that process is only just beginning.
Attention is most likely going to turn stateside for the next big political topic.
The 2020 US election is likely to dominate global political attention and already (it's still 11 months away), both sides are laying claim to the inevitability of their own victory.
Whoever and whatever policies emerge have all the potential to surprise.
As an investor, how do you plan for these big political events and how can you be prepared for whatever surprises lie ahead, in order to keep your investment strategy on track?
Pundits who correctly called the last election are likely to re-hash the same arguments, but we have seen that predictions can more often than not be misleading.
In this era of fake news, we have hopefully become more attuned to the possibility that all isn't necessarily as it may seem.
The investment industry makes quite the song and dance of its predictive powers and it structures investment strategies off the back of this. Investors need to remember that when investing for long term growth, a diversified strategy of assets spread across geographies, sectors and investment styles has proved more reliable than a one trick pony.
One thing we do know ahead of the US presidential election this November, is that irrespective of the individual leader, politicians have to operate within the realities of the global and national economy.
For investors in global markets, it is the US economy that continues to dominate, not its president.
Market spikes in response to political events like an election tend to even out again very quickly and unless the outcome is utterly radical, the long term economic outlook is usually nothing more than a storm in a teacup.
Jonathan Sloan is director at Barclays Wealth & Investments NI