London: Jordan Rochester was a 22-year-old working on his Masters in economics at the University of Warwick when David Cameron pledged to hold a Brexit referendum.
Today, at 28, he’s Mr Brexit to colleagues and clients. The currency strategist at Nomura International Plc has become the go-to guy for analysing how every twist in the saga will hit UK markets, called upon to combine the notoriously thankless roles of political analyst and pound prognosticator. “I’d say I’ve written a piece or an email on Brexit roughly every two days” for about four years, he said. More than 300 of his solo research notes are published on the bank’s website for investors. That excludes co-authored papers and countless emailed notes.
Rochester puts the chances of a no-deal exit at about 30 per cent. If it happens, he reckons it could send sterling as low as $1.15 (Dh4.22) from the current level of around $1.22 — already the lowest since 2017. Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet. While Rochester and his Nomura colleagues have notched some big victories — such as predicting a hung parliament in the 2017 UK election — they’ve also made less auspicious calls, like for a 2018 comeback trade for the pound.
But thanks to an obsession with the minutiae of British politics and relentless output, Rochester is the one people like Andrew Swaine turn to when they’re flummoxed. “Jordan’s insight into British politics and his ability to decipher the narratives and political actors has been extremely solid,” the London-based money manager said. “It’s not easy to trade politics. What politicians say and what they ultimately do can produce a series of entirely different market outcomes.”
Sterling hit Rochester’s year-end forecast of $1.25 the day after the Conservative Party chose Johnson as its new leader. From here, he sees the pound trapped in a range over the rest of 2019 until UK politicians negotiate an agreement with the EU or walk away without one. The median forecast of his peers in a Bloomberg survey has pound ending the year at $1.28.