Annual Review of the Year 2014 and Outlook for 2015: March 2015

2014 was characterised by the return of geopolitical risk and a subsequent rise in volatility. Following a fairly sedate couple of years the US market volatility measurement tool (VIX)showed it had spiked to its highest level since June 2012 when the sovereign debt crisis in Europe hit its peek. Geopolitics was at the top of everyone’s agenda, starting with Russia’s intervention in the Ukraine crisis and the annexing of Crimea. Following this, the advances made by Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria - and Israel’s military strikes on Gaza - set investors nerves on edge over the summer. The second half of the year was dominated by concerns over the spread of Ebola and the plummet in oil prices, plunging Russia into crisis.