Holden & Partners are pleased to announce that we introduced a Charity Team, earlier this year!
As part of our initiative, employees have been granted 2 days every year to volunteer at a charity that we support. The interest and uptake of this scheme has been fantastic, and in October, twelve members of staff visited a primary school in Lambeth, to help a charity called Trees for Cities.
New Model Adviser asked a number of financial planners and advisers about their profession, their concerns regarding the industry and how they got into financial planning in the first place. One of our Financial Planners, Stefani Williams, provides her thoughts on the matter, including her concerns regarding the lack of financial education in schools and the fact a large proportion of individual’s knowledge of the profession is based on the negative media coverage of very rare cases.
The sustainable investment industry has been given renewed impetus in recent years, as an increasing number of investors recognise the benefits of considering a business’s impact, and the risk and opportunities it may present for financial returns. Index providers have also sought to capitalise on this trend, launching a variety of passive investment products which attempt to quantify and track a range of sustainability metrics.
Whilst lower-cost investment alternatives are often welcomed by investors, it is questionable whether they can provide the same assessment as an active manager when analysing sustainability criteria, much of which can be subjective and quite nuanced. So, should investors stick with active investment solutions that integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and charge accordingly for the privilege, or opt for a cheaper alternative?
MIFID II is the latest re-incarnation of European-wide legislation aimed at increasing transparency in markets and providing improved client protection. It becomes effective on January 3rd, 2018. The main areas in which clients will see a change in the way that they invest, and how Holden & Partners addresses these issues are as follows:
Record of conversations – whenever your adviser has a conversation with you regarding your investments or financial planning strategy, a recording of that conversation will be made and retained.
Transaction reporting – financial planning firms will be required to make a report of all transactions made by clients that fall within the scope of the new legislation. To do this all investors will need a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI).
For individuals, this will normally be a National Insurance Number (NINO). Where, for any reason, a NINO is not available, there are prescribed alternatives that can be used. Should it be necessary, Holden & Partners may contact clients regarding any further information that is needed to generate a personal LEI. Any clients who are not contacted may assume that no further information is needed.
For trusts, companies, pension funds, charities, or unincorporated bodies, clients will need to obtain a LEI from the London Stock Exchange. Certain clients may have already received communication from a product provider, or obtained a LEI but, regardless, Holden & Partners will be contacting all clients individually to ensure that they such an identifier before January 2018 and to offer assistance to obtain it, should it be needed.
The first half of 2017 continued in a similar vein to the latter stages of 2016; an extremely supportive period for markets in which numerous global equity indices reached all-time highs. Investors witnessed robust gains in Q1 especially, driven by a raft of positive economic data and the perception of a stronger global recovery. Further advancement was seen in Q2, although movements in the latter stages of the period became more nuanced as investors distinguished between improving corporate earnings and economic data in Europe, and a slight disappointment in expectations in the USA. In contrast to recent years, political and economic surprises were not accompanied by an increase in market volatility – in fact, the VIX index (measuring the volatility of the US equity market) reached its lowest level since 1993, perhaps suggesting that investors are now focusing more heavily on underlying economic growth than the instability created by specific events.
2017’s pro-equity environment started with President Trump’s inauguration in January, as markets were buoyed by the administration’s plans to cut taxes, reduce the regulatory burden on companies, and increase infrastructure spending, alongside the expectation of higher GDP growth and inflation. Nonetheless, the so-called ‘reflation’ trade started to lose momentum within a few months as little progress was made on implementing the reform agenda, with the failure to pass revisions to healthcare legislation in March demonstrating Trump’s inability to deliver on many of his policies. With this came the realisation that a large boost to economic growth was unlikely, and the subsequent unwinding of the rally in value-orientated stocks which had surged since the election result. That being said, equity valuations continued to rise on the back of positive economic data, although this became softer in Q2 as several leading indicators disappointed. The Federal Reserve (Fed) looked through low inflation readings to further tighten policy with a 0.25% interest rate rise in June, whilst the dollar weakened due to a lack of conviction over the success of fiscal expansion and the expectation of other central banks around the world withdrawing monetary stimulus.
In the post Brexit environment and with the next general election up to 3 years away, Phillip Hammond could, in his first budget, afford to disappoint those expecting the economy to receive a fiscal boost from new spending initiatives.
The circumspect tone of the 2017 budget seemed to blend with the caution most commentators express regarding the prospects for the UK economy. The absence of clear exit terms as the UK transitions away from EU membership into an unknown and uncertain trading entity, make his caution understandable. Perhaps he is also frustrated by the lack of a clear post Brexit agenda.
The backdrop to this edition is one of all change. Changes at Holden & Partners, on political stages and in investment markets.
In the face of change, there is no shortage of material on which to inform and provide commentary. The newsletter containing a diversity of articles from Brexit, through to new technology at Holden & Partners.
We hope you will find plenty of interest and please if you are minded, provide us with your feedback.
Both written and unwritten constitutions are under threat with the pillars supporting them under attack, as populist forces gather, chipping or pulling apart conventions and traditions embedded across Western democracies. Looking back at periods of calm, today’s investors are being challenged in a way unimaginable a decade or so ago.
Prior to the EU referendum result, investors had witnessed an extremely volatile environment in the first half of 2016, attributable to a complex array of factors. Global equities retreated significantly in February due to concerns surrounding a slowdown in global growth, exacerbated by the weakness in Chinese economic data and Yuan devaluation, as well as a persistently low oil price, which markets seemed to interpret as a sign of scant consumer demand. All of this took place against a backdrop of rising US interest rates, which resulted in an unlikely scenario of monetary tightening in the world’s largest economy, with the remainder of the globe struggling to generate meaningful growth of any sort. Risk aversion and volatility reached near-term highs, although this now pales into insignificance when compared to the instability created by the Brexit vote in the final weeks of June, particularly for UK investors.
In the latest edition, Jack Rawcliffe looks at the implications of a UK exit from the EU, Stefani Rogers reviews the dividend tax regime, Amelia Sexton discusses the impact of the UN Paris agreement, Neil Sargeant looks at the latest round of proposed changes to pensions and Aram Kupelian considers how the new inheritance tax regime will work. Finally, Reece Biggadike evaluates end of tax year planning opportunities.
Holden & Partners
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Tel: 020 7812 1460
Holden & Partners is recognized as one of the leading Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) companies in the UK, having recently been named as a Top 25 IFA by thewealthnet.com for the fifth time in the last six years, as well as being named as a New Model Adviser Top 100 firm for the second year in a row.
These awards, alongside the Chartered Insurance Institute Chartered Financial Planner Firm status demonstrate our recognition for high quality financial planning, expertise, professionalism and commitment to delivery and service to our clients.