The volatility that permeated global markets during the first quarter of 2018 led many investors to fear that the nine-year equity bull market may be coming to an end. The subsequent return to index record highs allayed those concerns to some extent, although global markets continue to be characterised by greater fluctuations and uncertainty than investors had come to expect in previous years. In the first 6 months of 2018, the S&P 500 moved by more than 1% on 36 trading days, over four times the amount witnessed in the entire year during 2017 (eight days, to be exact).1
Does the impetus behind impact investing lack substance, or is it a genuine force for industry change?
‘Impact investment’ is the newest phrase in the investment lexicon. The industry has never been short of a few buzzwords, and the latest term has garnered the attention of investors, institutions, and the press alike. Currently, only a small percentage of assets globally can be classified as being managed in this way, but what is certain is that the trend is no fad; in fact, it is very serious business.
The issue of gender equality in the workplace is a problem which is plaguing companies all over the globe. In this article, we endeavour to identify the root-causes of the issue, to present relevant and factual data, and to examine some potential solutions.
“Events, dear boy, events”
– Prime Minister Harold MacMillan’s response to the question ‘What does the leader of a country fear most’
Two years on from the referendum vote confirming Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the threat of a negative Brexit outcome continues to cause significant uncertainty for the UK economy. Perhaps more pertinently, how, not when, Britain exits the EU is casting doubt into the minds of investors.
Brexit does not differ from other potentially significant market developments in that investors need to evaluate the risks and opportunities it presents. It is therefore important to identify the potential consequences of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, as well as how a deal may be struck, and the impact of each of these scenarios on the UK economy.
Investors would be easily forgiven for exhibiting elements of fear and trepidation when it comes to investing in stockmarkets. History has taught us that investing, in particular the equity genre, is laden with episodes of crises, crashes and volatility.
Although many investors have heard of the tax-efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS); many will be less familiar with Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR). SITR was introduced by the UK government in 2014 after extensive consultations with stakeholders in social enterprise. The overriding objective of these investments is to support social initiatives seeking external finance, by providing tax relief to private individuals who invest in them. Thereby, helping to fill the ‘funding gap’ for social enterprises.
People in the UK are living longer than ever before. This is good news, but it brings with it a multitude of problems. The Alzheimer’s Society report that there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. With these eye watering figures in mind, it is becoming increasingly important that you make clear what should happen in the event that you lose capacity to manage your own affairs.
With increasing challenges facing many millennials, the desire for parents and grandparents to provide financially for their children/grandchildren’s future is becoming more important. This should be a relatively simple exercise, but in practice there are several issues and investment vehicles to consider before deciding on the final solution.
Plastics and their pollutive consequences have recently garnered a huge amount of media attention – and with good reason. Since its foray into mainstream use in the 1950s, global plastic consumption has expanded at a rate far exceeding our ability to effectively manage the waste it produces. This is now a major environmental issue. Plastic consumption has risen to the same inauspicious level as climate change when discussing the world’s most pressing ecological concerns.
Few investors would refute the fact that the positive global macroeconomic environment over the last few years has been extremely favourable for equity markets. 2017 alone provided the model backdrop of synchronised global growth on a consistent upward trajectory, rebounding international trade, benign inflation, surging corporate profitability, and well-articulated messages from global central banks regarding their intentions on policy tightening and interest rate hikes. It was a ‘Goldilocks’ scenario; a unique period, the first of its kind since the financial crisis. Growth was strong, but not so hot that it caused rampant inflation, nor too cold that it resulted in a slowdown, or even recession. Renewed optimism in the previously unloved bull market, alongside recovering corporate earnings, pushed many markets to new highs and financial market volatility to unprecedented lows.