Having spent some time with European Fund Managers there is the inevitable discussion about European politics and the risks for investors. There are four key events facing Europe this year:
2015 saw radical changes to the way pension benefits could be paid in retirement; suddenly it seemed everything was much simpler. I still remember the headlines the next day about using the pension fund to buy that yacht or sports car you had always dreamed about.
It’s easy to be focused on the present – BREXIT, Trump, China et al – and yet by doing so we can miss things that directly impact our future well-being. Perhaps we don’t want to consider the future but in doing so we seem to be missing one of the biggest financial crises to hit us for decades; BREXIT, Trump and others will pass but this has implications for us for many years to come.
2016 was a year of surprises with events in the UK, US and Italy likely to shape our lives for many years to come. At the same time, we could easily have added Austria; the significance of which shouldn’t be underestimated. In the end the electorate overwhelmingly decided not to appoint its first fascist president since World War II; this may provide some indication as to how elections in France, Germany and Holland might eventually play out.
Writing a year-end review of 2016 could focus entirely on the story of Brexit, or the unbelievable Trump victory; seek to understand the epic collapse of oil or consider the cultural influence of the many icons who have passed. Or most confounding of all, how the heck did Leicester City win the Premiership and did Gary Lineker’s football shorts constitute underwear on MOTD.
Every day we take risk without considering the consequences. Interestingly almost every action we take carries risk; the list below from besthealthdegrees.com considers the chances of fatality from some normal activities (as well as some less so). 1 in 300 million of death from a shark attack 1 in 250 million of death from a falling coconut
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has embarked on an ambitious project to examine the fees fund managers charge. The media has been quick to jump on this; highlighting how savers are being over charged as well as suffering sub-par returns.
The 1992 general election delivered one of the biggest shocks in political history. The Conservatives had been in power for 13 years and coming into the election the odds were stacked against them; rising unemployment, interest rates at over 10% and collapsing house prices. All predictions pointed towards a hung parliament, or narrow Labour victory.
This feels a bit like Groundhog Day, doesn't it? We go to bed thinking one result is pretty much a done deal and wake up to the shocking reality that the opposite has happened.
William Hague wrote a fascinating and passionate article in the Telegraph entitled “Central banks have collectively lost the plot. They must raise interest rates or face their doom”. Some of what he says I agree with; particularly the challenges with the route taken by central bank being that we don’t know what the final outcome might be. However, there are several things that I take issue with and I think reflects a changing society that is being missed by the likes of William Hague, Theresa May and others.
In theory low interest rates mean low mortgages, and therefore house prices should be a lot higher than they are. I recently saw Martin Lewis discussing how people applying for mortgages should “tidy up” their finances first. At the time I believed he was encouraging applicants to “fudge” their income (and expenditure) to get a […]
We have effectively entered the parallel universe and we really don’t know what the future will look like. If I was writing this blog on the 31st May 2016, I would be saying that the last time interest rates went up was in July 2007, and since then they had fallen and settled at the […]
When we wrote the last quarterly update the vote to leave the EU was uppermost in our minds. With the fallout it was easy forget that we are all part of a global economy. The speed of change in the UK post vote has been significant and shouldn’t be underestimated.
As the good news continues to flow, the pro-BREXIT campaigners seem more vitriolic with each passing day (especially in dailies such as the Express, Mail and Telegraph). Perhaps they have the right to be. In this blog I want to explore BREXIT and look behind the headlines.
The debate around whether the UK should remain or leave the EU was fascinating. On one side you had arguments around the economics, on the other you had a focus on things like immigration, bureaucracy and taking back control of our borders.
An article on the BBC Website had the headline “Savers 'devastated' in August as rates fall below 0.5%” (31 August 2016). It explained that following the cut in interest rates the average cash savings plan was offering between 0.49% for an Easy Access Account and 1.69% for a Five-Year Fixed Bond. The implication was that this was a shock for many.
In this interview we talk to Matthew Shepherd, a singer/songwriter based in Essex. He has released two EPs (Sunny on the Southbank and The Sea) and his debut album was released in 2015. His album entered the top 100 of the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart and he has toured the UK and Europe. Currently unsigned, he manages his music career alongside working as a barrister’s clerk by day.
This will (I promise) be the last of the BREXIT related articles for a time. The one area we haven't covered and which we've been asked about is, ok, so what happens now? With the proviso that what I'm going to write is going to be somewhere between a bit and a lot wrong in many regards, these are our thoughts.
I have been thinking of how to describe the last few weeks and the quote from Vladimir Ulyanov to me best sums it up: “There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen” The decision to leave the EU caught many by surprise, and we have seen events that would normally take months or years to play out occur in days!
There have been a number of significant events and announcements in the last ten days beyond the historic meltdown of the main political parties, and the resultant soap opera of betrayals and career assassinations that have dominated the news cycle.