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So it is ‘leave’…

The UK has woken up this morning to a vote to leave the EU, the Prime Minister is set to leave office in October and the markets are suffering a bout of jitters.  We all knew that these were possibilities.  To some this is a good day, to others it is not.  But we are where we are and we need to look forward to where we go from here. We should not, however, lose sight of the fact that what…
24th June 2016

The outcome of the referendum and your portfolio

The impact of a leave vote on your portfolio As the referendum to remain in, or leave, the European Union draws near, we thought it would be a useful time to touch base and provide some reassurance that the investment portfolio that we look after for you is well positioned to weather any investment storms ahead.    In this brief note, we raise a number of potential risks that exist and how these are mitigated, to a large extent,…
10th June 2016

The fall and decline of buy-to-let?

The British continue their love affair with being buy-to-let landlords.  After all, with bank deposit and mortgage rates so low, and a rapidly rising property market, it all seems so simple: take your cash and make a 20% down payment on a buy-to-let property and borrow the rest at a low rate of interest; then find a tenant – perhaps one of the younger generation who cannot afford to get on the housing ladder – who will pay rent in excess of the…
30th April 2016

The ordinariness of market falls

Short term losses are common and a central part of growing wealth Unfortunately, humans are hard wired to ignore their rational thought processes and to focus in on, and become emotional about, adjustments to share prices.  Three key behavioural flaws, deeply embedded over millions of years surviving as a species, work against us. The first is immediacy; this is the propensity to focus on something that is happening or has just happened, such as the readjustment of the outlook for global…
29th February 2016

A bad start to the year…so far…

It is never a nice feeling when markets go through periods when they fall; and it certainly does not help to settle the nerves when we see sensationalist headlines like ‘RBS cries “sell everything” as deflationary crisis nears.’ (Daily Telegraph) or ‘Worst start to market year in two decades’ (FT.com).   To feel unsettled is natural; to panic and sell out of equities is an unreasonable overreaction to the normal workings of the…
19th January 2016

Expected portfolio returns – there are no guarantees

All investors know that risk and return are related – taking on more (sensible)...

Estimating future asset class and portfolio returns is an important – if tricky – part of the financial planning process.  Advisers may provide clients with an ‘expected’ rate of return for a portfolio as a guide to what it might deliver, on average, over time.  These forward looking assumptions are best based on a horizon of 20 years or more.  Trying to make short-term guesstimates of market returns in the next year or two would be speculation.  In a statistical sense, the ‘expected’…
31st December 2015

Crowdfunding: peer-to-peer lending– a fad or the future?

Much has been written over the years about the increasing disintermediation of the...

Peer-to-peer lending – a fad or the future? Something quite remarkable is going on in the world of finance; it is the disintermediation of traditional financial services providers.  The internet is revolutionising the way in which consumers access traditional financial services.  Crowdfunding is one such area where the middle man (the bank) is being replaced by internet based models.  Put simply, crowdfunding is about matching those who need to borrow money with those who have it and are seeking a return for its…
31st August 2015

Balancing your values with practical reality

Most of us are increasingly aware of the social and environmental impacts of our...

The challenges facing our world There is no doubt that since the industrial revolution in the West in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with its pollution, unbridled capitalism and social division, through to the current industrial and technical revolution in China and other emerging economies, we, as a species, have done immeasurable harm to the planet and each other.  We face some immense challenges and risks that we can’t ignore.  They are broad ranging in scope, probability and likely impact, and include things…
30th June 2015

Pension reforms – challenges and opportunities

New pension reforms came into being on 6th April 2015.  The materially greater freedoms that now exist have much appeal, yet they come with greatly increased complexity both in understanding and in execution.  On balance these reforms are welcome, but the need for high quality advice has never been greater, both to minimise the risks, but also to maximise the opportunities that they provide.   The British have had a love-hate relationship with pensions for many decades.
30th April 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly of VCTs and EIS

Is the tax tail of VCT and EIS investment wagging the investment dog? Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS) represent tax-advantaged opportunities to invest equity capital into very small and often very early stage – or even start-up – privately held businesses.   The words ‘equity’, ‘privately held’, ‘small’ and ‘early stage’ immediately point out some of the risks. There is a certain human appeal towards potentially investing in the next Google or similar tech start-up or…
28th February 2015

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