I had a great rugby coach in school who used to always say “expect the unexpected”. The original quote has been attributed to Heraclitus in about 500 BC but Oscar Wilde a bit later tweaked the phrase with a conclusion that it “shows a thoroughly modern intellect”. Certainly, as a species, we are brutal at making forecasts so perhaps knowing one’s weaknesses does illustrate some intellect.

Anyway, as 2020 approaches prepare to be bombarded with forecasts but then cast your minds back to 12 months ago. Did anyone forecast $15 trillion worth of bonds yielding negative rates of interest, a WeWork near-death experience or a Boris Johnson-led government to achieve the greatest Conservative electoral win since 1987?  Yep, whoodathunk. Financial and geopolitical developments will continue to surprise so it is probably good risk management to entertain the possibility of plenty more surprises in 2020. Here are 10 more potential surprises the team at Spark Crowdfunding have put together for those of a curious persuasion.

  1. Donald Trump resigns from the US Presidency for health reasons and global financial markets experience the best single-day advance in a decade.
  2. Softbank as WeWork’s largest shareholder and the world’s second-largest non-financial corporate debtor endures its own near-death experience and enters into credit restructuring talks with its bankers.
  3. Tesla’s market value exceeds $100 billion which is more than the combined value of General Motors and Ford.
  4. US 10 Year Treasury Bonds join their European peers in the negative rates yielding club.
  5. Deutsche Bank collapses and enters state ownership.
  6. Fianna Fail is the big winner in the 2020 general election and forms a coalition government.
  7. Kim Jong-Un dies in a horse-riding accident. South Korea and North Korea enter into peace/reunification talks 3 weeks later.
  8. Los Angeles is evacuated as multiple mega fires burn out of control fueled by unusually high wind speeds.
  9. Russian hackers cripple JP Morgan’s payment technology systems for 2 weeks. Republican party leaders insist the attackers could be Ukrainian.
  10. A coup in Saudi Arabia topples the House of Saud and Prince MBS. Brent crude prices rocket 30% in the first 24 hours after the coup. Two weeks later oil prices have retreated back to pre-coup levels.

Happy Christmas everyone and best wishes for 2020.