February Market Commentary

Introduction

The story of the US/China trade dispute was a thread running through much of last year. Some progress was made in resolving the dispute at December’s G20 summit and that appeared to continue in January with China saying it is ‘ready to work’ with the US. Donald Trump confirmed this, describing a telephone conversation with Xi Jinping as leading to ‘big progress’.

Despite a rocky start over fears of a slowdown in China, this helped world stock markets to enjoy a good month, and we started the year with a clean sweep: all the markets on which we report were up in January, although many of them have a way to go to make up the ground they lost last year, with 2018 the worst year in a decade for global markets.

The financial year end is fast approaching

With the end of the tax year on 5th April fast approaching, now is the time to consider a few financial planning steps.

Making the most of your tax allowances for Pensions, ISAs, CGT, IHT and Income Tax, is vital to ensuring your financial affairs are organised as efficiently as possible. 

Looking Back | Looking Forward – Our review of 2018 and look forward to 2019

We have put together a review of 2018 and a look forward into 2019.  We look at all the numbers that made headlines last year and make some predictions for the year ahead.   Please click here to read the report.

We hope you find this of interest and as ever, we will be here to update you as the need arises throughout 2019.

January Market Commentary

Introduction A quiet wind down to Christmas? Everyone leaving their offices early and not much happening in the second half of the month? Nothing could be further from the truth: December was one of the most eventful months of the year and while there was some good news, it was eclipsed by falling stock markets…

September Market Commentary

Introduction

August used to be known as the ‘silly season’. Everyone who made the news was away on holiday, nothing happened and newspapers were desperate to fill their pages. So rather more obscure stories made it into print…

That, of course, was before Donald Trump. And Brexit. And Venezuela, Argentina and Greece. And…

August Market Commentary

Introduction

The news in July really could not have been much worse. The threat of a trade war between the US and China simmered throughout the month, and then on 31st July President Trump ramped up the tension with proposals of a 25% tariff on $200bn (£152bn) of Chinese imports.

China has already placed retaliatory tariffs on some American imports in response to the first wave of ‘Trump Tariffs’ (they even have their own page on Wikipedia now) and will surely do the same to counter this latest move. Small wonder that credit ratings agency, Moody’s, warned that there could ultimately be tariffs on 5% of total world imports if the trade war continues to escalate.

July Market Commentary

Introduction

Let us invite you to travel back in time to June 2016, to the day after the Brexit referendum. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, campaigning in the US Presidential election is in full swing.

You are offered two glimpses into the future. The first is that two years on, the UK has apparently made no real progress in the Brexit negotiations. The second is that Donald Trump has been elected President and has had a successful meeting with Kim Jong-un. You would have dismissed both of them as ridiculous and yet that is exactly what June brought us, as Theresa May called yet another Brexit crisis meeting and President Trump met the leader of North Korea in Singapore.

The most important insurance you can have?

The impulse to protect our loved ones is one of the most basic instincts a person can have. Yet the fact remains that many people don’t take out sufficient insurance to protect themselves and their family should something happen to prevent them from being able to work. And if the main breadwinner in a household suddenly becomes unable to earn a wage, it can very quickly lead to serious financial hardship.

June Market Commentary

Introduction

Harold Wilson famously said that, ‘a week is a long time in politics.’ A month is a very long time when we come to write this commentary.

Looking back to the first few days of May, the Royal Bank of Scotland was announcing plans to close 162 high street branches in the UK, Facebook said it was going to launch a dating service and, in Europe, there were rumours of a final, final (and this time they really meant it) deal on Greek debt.

Pension Freedoms – 3 Years on…

Believe it or not it is now three years ago since the introduction of the Pensions Freedom & Choice reforms. These reforms opened up a completely different suite of options for individuals with Money Purchase (a.k.a Defined Contribution) pension arrangements. The key changes made included: