Collective and ethical approaches bring a new sense of community, and positive solutions for investors.

Another week of extraordinary news saw a historic crash in the oil price on Monday as traders tried to desperately offload contracts that required them to take delivery of physical oil at the end of May, with nowhere to store it1. The pandemic has seen a huge reduction in the global demand for oil, dropping by over 29 million barrels a day, from 100 million barrels a day2. It appears that any attempt by oil-producing countries to reduce supply and stabilise the price has failed miserably. This is mixed news; the reduction in the use of oil is great for the environment and our health, however we must not forget its centrality to the global economy and everyday life. Oil and its by-products and uses are widespread in modern-day life and our reliance on it is not something that can be given up overnight without repercussions.

In the US the government yet again opened its ‘check’ book, this time with the House passing a package of $484 billion3. At any normal time, this would be an eye watering sum; however this merely followed news of the European Central Bank’s stimulus package of €750 billion which was in addition to a large big-bank stimulus package and the €120 billion of additional asset purchases announced last week. These two central banks are not alone and similar action is being echoed across the world.

Moving to the UK and, unsurprisingly, retail sales have fallen the most on record last month. The closure of many non-essential shops has meant that the volume in retail sales has dropped 5.1%4 in March compared to the previous month. This is the largest fall since the ONS started producing this data in 1996. If it wasn’t for a huge increase of 10.4% in food sales in April compared to the previous month, then these figures would have been considerably worse.

A ray of sunshine can be seen from the East as luxury brands are reporting positive sales returns in April in parts of Asia5. Although not a leading economic indicator, we are seeing green shoots and some economic hope – particularly out of China. As always, we continue to remain positive and patient as more information comes to light.

Despite the lockdown measures requiring physical isolation from others, there have been a number of movements that have called for collective action. Whether it’s clapping for the NHS or joining in Joe Wicks’ morning PE lessons, millions of us have been finding new ways to show solidarity with our neighbours and form online communities.

One such campaign that celebrated a significant birthday this week was Earth Day, an idea first started to raise awareness for environmental protection. The 22nd of April marked the 50th Earth Day of this movement to mobilise people from all over the world to do their bit to reduce their environmental footprint and tread more lightly on the Earth6. In addition, the day marks four years since The Paris Agreement was signed by 170 countries, all of whom agreed to put measures in place to limit global warming to below 2°C7. Today, the average global temperature increase stands at 1.16°C8. This throws into sharp relief the necessity for action on climate change if we are to prevent irreversible damage to our ecosystems. As our update of the 3rd of April discussed9, this action does not need to come at the cost of financial returns. The recent crisis has seen funds that consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks as part of their investment process fare better than their conventional counterparts10.

In addition to environmental considerations, the 20th to 26th of April has been heralded as Fashion Revolution Week, commemorating the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh on the 24th of April 201311. The Rana Plaza was home to garment workers supplying clothes to many high street names. The building was unsafe and consequently 1,134 people died in the deadliest industrial disaster of modern times12. Outrage in the wake of this tragedy led to a call for greater transparency in fashion supply chains and the signing of an agreement known as the Bangladesh Accord which looked to improve working conditions for those making our clothes13. The tragedy has led to heightened awareness of the need to scrutinise supply chains.

The Fashion Revolution organisation calls for all of us to ask, “Who made my clothes?” to shine a light on those suffering for the rise of fast fashion. The movement has garnered huge support on social media and has served to uncover the true cost of cheap clothes. Holden & Partners take into account this need for transparency when evaluating funds for our portfolios; we ensure that supply chain governance is considered thoroughly within the investment process, so holdings are not exposed to the devastating social risks associated with poor labour conditions. For more information on the ethics of the fashion industry, check out our previous article here.

At Holden & Partners, we consider the risks posed by business activities that jeopardise environmental security and communities when constructing our Ethical, Sustainable and Thematic portfolios. With our shared humanity at the forefront of our minds during these difficult times, we want to provide solutions for investors who wish to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.

We are delighted to announce that our efforts in this area have been recognised this week, and Holden & Partners have been shortlisted for Advice Firm of the Year and ESG Adviser of the Year in the Money Marketing Awards 2020. The winners will be announced later in the year and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll come out on top14.

We want to stay in touch with you regularly through this time of great change, and will be aiming for regular weekly updates. Do let us know if you would like to unsubscribe from this list or update your preferences, or alternatively, if there are any topics you would like us to cover.


1 https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/oil-price-monday-1.5538048

2 https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/15/834868805/oil-prices-keep-slipping-as-demand-drops-by-record-amounts?t=1587715751337

3 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-21/senate-passes-484-billion-interim-economic-stimulus-package?sref=1LVTCemH

4 https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2020/apr/24/uk-retail-sales-covid-19-alcohol-stock-markets-confidence-business-live

5 https://www.voguebusiness.com/companies/luxury-firms-find-signs-of-hope-in-asia-covid-19?utm_source=Vogue+Business&utm_campaign=57d9f58e88-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_20_09_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5d1e7914df-57d9f58e88-52785433

6 https://www.earthday.org/about-us/

7 https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

8 https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-global-warming-simulator/?cmpid=socialflow-instagram-business&utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=instagram&utm_medium=social

9 https://www.holden-partners.co.uk/coronavirus-update-3rd-april-2020/

10 https://www.morningstar.com/articles/972475/sustainable-equity-funds-are-outperforming-in-bear-market

11 https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/

12 https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/geip/WCMS_614394/lang–en/index.htm

13 https://bangladeshaccord.org/factories

14 https://moneymarketingawards.co.uk/2020_shortlist


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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.

Howard

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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