As October draws to a close, we look at why the US NASDAQ has gained strength, and consider how our money can be used to “build back better.”

Earlier this week, the S&P 500, one of the widest and most prominent US market measures, sat above its February highs1. It was buoyed by news of positive vaccine progressions and greater stimulus, or perhaps numb to the familiar combination of political uncertainty and rising cases. It is clear in hindsight that we were truly not yet out of the woods. The week began with sharp declines across major indices in Europe and the US2, with hopes of a stimulus package prior to the US election dissipating, and harsh social restrictions sweeping across Europe amid surging virus cases3.

Among developed major indices, one stands head and shoulders above them all. The US NASDAQ gained circa 35% over the past year. In fierce contrast, the UK FTSE 100 is down circa 24%4. To understand why, there is a host of key variables, one of which is the composition of the stock indices. The companies that make up the FTSE 100 are very different to those that are included in the NASDAQ. Let’s go back to 2019, when Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) was the largest company by market capitalisation in the FSTE 100, with the likes of HSBC and BP in the top 5. Share prices for RDS and BP have more than halved in the last year due to flagging demand and oil price declines5. HSBC shares are down over 45%, as the banking sector contends with low interest rates and increasing bad loans6. Now, when compared to the NASDAQ US tech giants7, such as Apple, Amazon and Alphabet, which have thrived as major suppliers in the growing digital economy, the large difference becomes more understandable.

Right now, is earnings season, a period when companies release quarterly financial reports. As you might expect, prices can be volatile around these periods. As the third quarter earnings season unravels, the swell of companies reporting ‘positive’ earnings surprises may seem absurd in the current climate, however it is important to remember that these are judged relative to analyst expectations8. This makes it possible to simultaneously have steep declines in profitability, and earnings that beat analyst expectations.

The 24th to 30th of October is Good Money Week. The event is co-ordinated by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and is intended to help those who are interested in sustainable and ethical options for banking, pensions, savings and investments9. The theme for this year is a green and fair recovery after the pandemic to promote people and planet alongside economic recovery as we “build back better”10.

As members of UKSIF, Holden & Partners are keen to support this goal and are experts in the provision of advice on sustainable finance. We can help your money become greener, cleaner and kinder. So, if you’re inspired by the narrative of Good Money Week, please get in touch.

October is Black History Month in the UK. However, it is important to note that the end of the month does not mark the end of efforts to learn more about the contributions made by black people and communities to Britain. The Black History Month website provides information on our shared history, opinions on the latest issues and news of upcoming events. One such event is the next Black Pound Day on the 7th of November. Black Pound Day encourages consumers to purchase from black-owned businesses on the first Saturday of each month, and is a solution-based approach to support the growth of the UK’s black-owned businesses, ventures and economy11.

At Holden & Partners, we believe that being more thoughtful about our money, be that our savings and investments or shopping mindfully by supporting local businesses and diverse communities with our spending habits, means our finances can be used to effect positive change.












We have received lots of positive feedback about our updates. If you’ve found them useful and informative, we would be delighted for you to share them with friends, family and work colleagues. We are always keen to spread the word about our unique approach to financial planning and investing.

Please note that any thresholds, allowances, percentage rates and tax legislation stated may change in the future. The content of this communication is for your general information and use only; it is not intended to address your particular requirements. This communication should not be deemed to be, or constitute advice. You should not take any action without having spoken with your usual adviser.

My wife and I really value the advice and support we’ve received over many years. Our key contact is Tim Cosway, whose friendly and calm manner is a real plus. He also involves team members who are equally committed. We particularly value that their approach is that no question is stupid – we always receive a clear and helpful explanation. We have full confidence in the team’s management of our finances and definitely recommend them.


We have consulted Holden and Partners for 10 years.  Having been in financial disarray because of poor advice from our previous financial advisor, we have Tim Cosway to thank for digging us out of a deep financial hole.  As a result of his painstaking tenacity pursuing a claim against our former financial advisor through the Financial Ombudsman Service, which resulted in substantial compensation, we can anticipate a comfortable retirement.  We continue to take Tim’s advice on all financial matters.  He is a pleasure to deal with, and we whole heartedly recommend Holden and Partners, and Tim in particular.

Mike & Jacque

I have been a customer of Holden & Partners since its inception. During this time, no matter what the state of the financial climate, I have always found that their advice has been balanced and fair. They have a good understanding of everyone’s individual circumstances and produced tailored strategies to match these needs and expectations.

Duncan B, NHS consultant

I’ve always received high quality, personable advice at a time of my convenience. My adviser has often travelled to my home in order to provide very personal service. The advice given is clear and unambiguous. The risks of different types of investment have been clearly discussed to allow me to make an appropriate decision on the nature of my investment portfolio. This has been of great importance when considering the available investment options for my forthcoming retirement. I have always considered that Holden & Partners is very client centred and they have my best interests at heart. I have been with Holden & Partners since 1996 and have recommended them to friends and colleagues on many occasions.

Michael, Surgeon

Holden & Partners manage our company pension scheme with a totally professional and dedicated approach. They have worked with us over a number of years, and are able to explain the potential ‘minefield’ that is pensions, to make it perfectly accessible for the staff.

Jeremy, Print Management Partner

On retirement after 40 years of salaried employment, I interviewed several financial advisers, amongst whom Mark Dodd of Holden & Partners was the nicest and seemingly the most understanding of my investment needs and priorities. Since then my wife and I have had regular (c.6-monthly) meetings with him in order to check and, when necessary, adjust the holdings in our portfolio. This has been very helpful and provided a comforting sense of confidence and security. I have recommended Holden & Partners to others and will certainly continue to do so.

Patrick, retired university professor

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of global trends such as climate change and environmental destruction. But I feel I regain power as a consumer and a citizen by thinking about where I spend my money and to whom I entrust my savings. I chose Holden and Partners because they were recommended to me and because of their strong track record in ethical investments. It has proven to be a wise choice. Their advisors listened carefully to my needs and created an investment strategy and portfolio that has met and indeed continues to exceed my expectations. The culture of a company also matters to me, I have found their advisors to be well informed and financially shrewd but also easy to speak to and engage with. Many of us find it difficult to trust institutions and organisations these days, but I do trust Holden and Partners to make the right decisions on my behalf.
I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.

Patrick, Advertising and Marketing Consultant

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