Speeding Toward Brexit, Some Off-Ramps Emerge: A Dialogue with Lord Kerr

The Brexit clock is ticking as the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU) is set to take place in March 2019. But is the UK ready to leave? And is there still a chance it won’t? In our latest “Talking Markets” podcast, we hear from Sandy Nairn, Templeton Global Equity Group chairman and Edinburgh Partners CEO, and Lord Kerr, former diplomat and current chairman of Scottish Power and crossbench member of the House of Lords. Kerr also happens to be an author of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which outlines steps a country must take to leave the bloc. They discuss the implications of Brexit from a political and market standpoint.

Here are some highlights of the views of speakers represented in the podcast:

  • Sandy Nairn: There doesn’t seem to be a clear political majority that suggests Brexit is what the UK wants. It seems to be the product of elements of factionalism within each party and the obvious frictions between the two parties, where the UK could exit without a satisfactory set of arrangements.
  • Lord Kerr: Public opinion on Brexit still sharply divided, and the opinion polls show now that if the referendum happened today, those who didn’t want to leave would win. The argument for a second referendum is that the kind of deal which is emerging is not what the country was told in 2016—shouldn’t the country be consulted again?
  • Sandy Nairn: When you look at Brexit and if you look at why the US would say Brexit is a good thing, to an extent, Brexit weakens our competitive trading bloc. But all economic theory, all history tells you that the more free trade you can have, the more you can grow the global economy, and the better it is for everybody.
  • Lord Kerr: I think it is quite likely that the 27 continental countries in the EU will be saying to us in October-November, ‘don’t you guys need more time?’ It might be just time to negotiate, or it might be time for an election.

The full transcript of the podcast follows.

Host/Richard Banks: Hello and welcome to Talking Markets with Franklin Templeton Investments: exclusive and unique insights from Franklin Templeton.

I’m your host, Richard Banks.

Ahead on this episode, potential implications on financial markets from the ongoing Brexit debate. Lord Kerr, a former diplomat who drafted legislation that he never imagined would be used by his own country, takes us through five different scenarios, including the chances of the UK not leaving at all. Plus, Sandy Nairn, Chairman of Templeton Global Equity Group and Edinburgh Partners chief executive, looks at how Brexit fits into a number of global factors for investors right now.