As of May 17th, the UK has officially started its entry into a post-lockdown world. However, with the new variant making its way around the country, the status of lockdown is in limbo. The public is anticipating impromptu announcements from the Prime Minister covering the UK’s lockdown position over the coming days and weeks due to the fragility of the pandemic and its variants.
Speaking of the Prime Minister, the UK government has had the unenviable job of balancing both the safety and health of the people, plus, along with the Bank of England, the big banks and the fintech community, the government have done what they can to manage future economic prospects.
Whether we like it or not, the economy’s success impacts and factors into people’s livelihoods and mental health. So ensuring that people can still work, get paid, and remain optimistic about their future prospects whether it’s buying a house, ensuring their savings are gaining competitive returns, or that businesses can stay in operation, is at the top of everyone's mind.
With all of this commotion, it has been hard for the economy to sit still and stabilise over the last 18 months. Economists have been kept busy making calculated comments on the status of one of the most thriving economies in the world.
Over the last year and a half the economy has gone into a recession (one of the worse we have seen), GDP bounced back by 2.1% in August 2020 (although not in line with the predicted figures) due to Rishi’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and more recently we have seen predictions that Britain faces a decade of major public policy challenges that could reduce economic performance to nearer that of Italy brought on by the pandemic and Brexit. Following this prediction, Boris Johnson has recently promised to "level up" Britain's economy by targeting investment and jobs to areas that lag behind London and areas around the capital, plus is bullish on a "Global Britain" after its exit from the European Union.
Amidst all of this, one factor that we have been keeping a keen eye on at Akoni is the Bank of England’s (BoE) decision on whether to keep the base rate as it is or to cut it to what could be a historical low.
At Akoni, we know that the Bank of England’s decision to cut the bank base rate can impact savers and the interest rates they can get on their cash. Savvy savers are just one subset of people who have benefited from the lockdown. They have taken advantage of the circumstances of staying in and not spending in places they would usually pre-lockdown.
Crucially, if the Bank of England were to set a negative rate, savers will see the value of their cash decrease in time as banks would not pay out interest, and pay the bank for holding onto their money for them (we wrote about this in recent months, which you can see here).
Two months ago (and it remains the same to this day) the Bank of England decided to keep the bank rate at 0.1% due to optimism around the easing of restrictions since the last lockdown. Although the Bank flagged that the UK economy shrank by less than expected in January, it is still around 10% smaller than when the pandemic began. This and other factors including keeping the furlough scheme running until September 2021, factored into the Bank of England’s MPC vote to leave interest and QE unchanged (the vote was 9-0 to keep it unchanged).
Moreover, Bloomberg recently reported that the world’s largest economies including the UK has amassed $2.9 trillion in extra savings during lockdowns (as a side note, This is Money reports that Britain has ‘accidently saved’ away £170 billion - an additional £18.5 billion of that saved during January 2021 - after a year of rolling lockdowns). This number is notable as it marks a huge shift in the way people have spent their money 18 months on since the start of the pandemic in January 2020.
Bloomberg Economics also stated that these very same savers will continue to save as restrictions ease, although they see this money contributing to the growth of these economies.
This money will boost economies around the world, and give impetus to banks and other providers to notice that savers need products and services that can bolster these savings considering the rates fluctuation currently happening. For example, last year interest rates were at 1.31%, but by April this year, the best rate was 0.6%. Many blamed the rate cuts when National Savings & Investments (NS&I) announced cuts to their rates in September 2020, that the whole market followed suit and evidently interest rates were pushed down across the market. There was some buzz that rates could increase with players like Zopa, Atom and Shawbrook launching best buy rates this month, but it will be interesting to see how long these rates will last, showing that consumers need to be quick and well informed of the market considering how volatile it has become.
Saying that, as we come out of this lockdown, we feel cautious, yet optimistic that now we have passed the one year mark, we can see new healthier patterns and behaviours emerge from society around cash (you can see our piece on saver’s and their behaviour with cash over at our blog), and that the Bank of England’s optimism for the economy’s future is promising. Yet if the government makes the wrong move and sits on its laurels for too long, the UK can suffer the consequences of becoming a lagging economic country coupled with the impact of Brexit.
So, why should you choose Akoni to help you with your client’s cash decisions?
1) Safe and secure with the FSCS Government deposit guarantee
All deposits are held with each bank providing protection of up to £85,000 per bank, or up to £1 million for Temporary High balances.
2) Diversifying risk (spreading money across savings providers)
With the option to spread cash across several providers on the Akoni Cash Management Platform, you can diversify risk, and increase the chances of positive returns.
2) Increased returns & Better interest rates
In a climate of economic uncertainty, and with interest rates being cut across many providers, it’s not easy to find decent interest rates in a simple way. With Akoni, you can find competitive interest rates to suit your client’s specific needs.
4) Quicker, and hassle-free - no form filling
Akoni Hub provides a hassle-free cash management experience - your clients can onboard and open an account online with no fuss. Clients will only need to complete one AML/KYC process, can switch between providers, and manage their account on the Akoni Cash Management Platform in just a few clicks.
5) White label Adviser portal and tools
You have the flexibility to create a platform that works for you and your clients. Add your branding to showcase who you are through a sleek, professional cash management platform designed with you in mind.
The award-winning Akoni Cash Management Platform is already leading the way in the wealth management sector, and has partnerships with Barclays, Aldermore, Investec, Clydesdale, amongst others. The ability to white label the platform gives financial advisors flexibility to help their clients move cash depending on ever-changing macro and micro environmental factors.
Find out more about Akoni: Akoni is an award-winning UK cash platform, which provides a marketplace to financial advisors and wealth managers through a bespoke white-label offering, or off-the-shelf offering. Akoni uses innovative technology to personalise cash planning solutions for clients, and also provides a full API solution to banks and insurance clients.