Retail spending is down, but kindness is up. Our weekly update takes a look at the latest economic data as well as Mental Health Awareness Week.

The week began with much of the financial press discussing the biggest ever drop in retail spending in the US, with revenue at stores and restaurants falling by a larger than expected 16% in April1. This figure was almost double the drop in March, the previous record holder. Other data out at the end of last week, however, suggested that April may have been the bottom for American numbers for now, with consumer sentiment and manufacturing activity picking up, albeit from a very low base2.

Germany, who was struggling as an economy even before coronavirus hit, has entered into recession with its economy contracting by 2.2% in the first quarter3 – the second quarter of economic decline, which pushes the country into a technical recession. With the lockdown restrictions only being lifted slowly, Germany’s economy is certainly set to suffer even more this quarter. This will no doubt have a knock-on effect with their European neighbours.

Continuing the focus on Europe, the European Commission has agreed on a $550 billion aid package. The money is to be raised by issuing bonds that would be repaid over time from the EU budget, of which the lion’s share is covered by Germany. Crucially, and differing from many of the other aid packages, all the funds will be distributed as grants rather than loans4.

Negative interest rates are the story form the UK, with the selling of three-year maturity bonds with a sub-zero yield. These bonds join the other $17 trillion of negatively yielding bonds which are available worldwide. Although this is another record-breaking event, it is unsurprising to say the least5.

On Tuesday the 19th of May, the Science Based Targets initiative, the UN Global Compact, and the We Mean Business coalition united 150 global businesses in a call to action. The statement has been backed by companies worth a combined US$ 2.4 trillion and asks governments to ensure that recovery policies are aligned with climate science6. We hope that the increasing pressure on global policy makers will generate renewed acknowledgement that the climate crisis cannot be ignored. We have written about the lack of climate conditions attached to UK government bailouts in previous updates7 and believe that this new step is indicative of a wider appetite for a resilient economic recovery which factors in social and environmental issues for long-term prosperity.

The 18th to the 24th of May marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, this year’s focus is on the importance of kindness. The benefits of behaving with compassion, through little gestures, are more important than ever during this period of enforced solitude. Not only do these acts of kindness help the recipient, they also help to boost the wellbeing of those extending the helping hand8. There’s no downside to altruism and empathy, so why not get in touch with an old friend (safely of course) and find out how they’re getting on? At Holden & Partners, we encourage all employees to reach out to others across the business, especially those they might not contact regularly – this helps us to build a sense of community amongst colleagues. Taking time to chat with others and listen to their lockdown experiences is a great way to relieve stress and feel more connected during this difficult time.

We have received lots of positive feedback about our weekly 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.









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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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