Opinion and Comment

Big pharma

We swallow their pills but lots of us love to hate the pharmaceutical industry. Are we right?

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients was published in 2012 and quickly became a bestseller. Author Ben Goldacre explained how the pharmaceutical industry chose unrepresentative individuals for drugs trials, withheld unfavourable results, hiked prices and wrote academic papers without disclosure of interest.

Ill people can be vulnerable, and there was something morally suspect about these corporations who seemingly cared only about the bottom line, rather than higher concepts such as saving lives. It was easy to hate big pharma.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) retaliated at the time, stating that the research was out of date, with examples that were “long documented and historical, and the companies concerned have long addressed these issues.”1

A recent survey by PR firm Edelman for their 2018 Trust Barometer2, found that the healthcare sector as a whole, incorporating pharma, biotech and hospitals, has seen a small reduction in global trust, with 63% of global respondents trusting the sector to ‘do what is right’ compared to 65% the year before.

Trust is of course a subjective measure, and it takes a while to turn bad faith good. Let’s look at the case for and against today’s pharmaceutical industry…

The changing UK energy mix – looking ahead

Could 2019 be the year that climate change finally receives the political and public backing necessary for real action? So far, we have seen school children on strike, listened to Greta Thunberg’s compelling words1, watched a BBC documentary, and experienced the protests of a dedicated group of activists, Extinction Rebellion2.

UK Commercial Property

Holden & Partners Quarterly Investment Views: Q2 2019 Outlook

We remain positive on the outlook for UK and European commercial property for the following reasons:

Absolute Return

Holden & Partners Quarterly Investment Views: Q2 2019 Outlook

It is worth highlighting that ‘absolute return’ as a sector is a somewhat disparate collection of strategies, not all of which are directly comparable. In its simplest form, funds with an ‘absolute return’ mandate aim to achieve positive investment returns irrespective of the prevailing market conditions, typically whilst targeting lower levels of volatility than traditional risk assets.

Index Linked Bonds

Holden & Partners Quarterly Investment Views: Q2 2019 Outlook

With all inflation-linked securities, value is determined based on ‘breakeven’ inflation rates: the spread (difference) between the yield on an inflation-linked bond and that on an ordinary fixed rate bond. This difference represents an expectation of future inflation rates which is ‘priced-in’ to the market; the higher the differential, the higher future inflation is expected to be. In such an environment, assets aiming to provide returns above the rate of inflation can protect, and increase, investors’ future purchasing power and therefore constitute valuable additions to a diversified portfolio.

Mixed Signals

Holden & Partners Quarterly Investment Views: Q2 2019 Outlook

by Amelia Sexton

After a bullish start to the year in which assets rebounded from their December lows, the prospect of a global recession was once again brought to the forefront of investors’ minds at the end of the first quarter. The inversion of the US yield curve – a phenomenon whereby short-term interest rates, and thereby the yield on US government bonds, move above longer-term rates – has been interpreted by some as an expectation of weaker long-term growth, although other commentators have questioned whether the trend was clear enough, or persisted for sufficient time, to become a reliable predictor of recession. Add to this the fact that slow, but positive, global growth, the Federal Reserve’s renewed dovish stance (support for lower interest rates due to diminishing concerns on inflation), and a more conciliatory approach between China and the USA on global trade has supported equities year-to-date, and it’s clear that markets are generating extremely mixed signals.

Water, a precious but diminishing commodity – can technology and investment make a difference?

‘One day, wars will not be about religion or land, but water.’ It’s one of those statements that has been said for decades and we all nod and think ‘how terrible’. Drinking water – along with food, shelter and oxygen – is of course such a basic human need.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights defines the human right to water as encompassing safe, acceptable, accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use1. For many of us in the developed world, the thought of not being able to simply turn on the tap for fresh, clean water is horrifying.

Yet could we be edging closer to a future without that certainty? A recent announcement has focused on the UK’s diminishing water resources, coupled with a rising population. Sir James Bevan, the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency stated that England faces “the jaws of death” – that’s the point at which we are likely to run short of water – within 25 years2.

Fuelling the future of driving

Since diesel became a dirty word, new investment opportunities have been growing. European capitals, such as Paris, have indicated that diesel power will be banned completely by 20301. Meanwhile, London will increase the ultra-low emissions zone in 2021, and require all taxis and private hire vehicles to be zero-emissions2.

The reasons are clear. Air pollution is a health crisis, shortening life expectancy by damaging lungs and worsening chronic illnesses. London has experienced illegal levels of air pollution since 20103. Meanwhile, the majority of Britain’s climate change emissions come from transport4, with petrol and diesel cars as the main source.

The search for alternative, cleaner fuels has intensified, with electric battery-powered and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles leading the way as viable options. But which is best?

A beginner’s guide to saving money

by Stefani Williams, Financial Planner

According to the Office for National Statistics, almost half of individuals aged between 18 and 29 have no accessible savings1. With today’s young adults less likely to have money set aside, the lack of readily available savings could mean that they are increasingly dependent on debt or the bank of mum and dad.

Much to our dismay, Personal Finance is still not a compulsory subject in schools, making it easy to understand why young adults simply don’t know or understand how to invest. With this in mind, we write with our saving tips for those starting out on their savings journey. In the event you already have well established savings provisions in place, please feel free to forward on to the younger generation, if you think it would come in useful.