This week, we update on the latest financial and economic news, and report back on our successful first webinar.

The shift to working from home under lockdown ruling has meant that many of us can wake up a bit later, and stuffy train journeys seem like a painful memory. However, the new workplace norms will spell difficulty for commercial real estate, as many businesses see this as a chance to innovate and lose costly overheads. According to research by Accenture Plc, 40% of bank executives plan to reduce their real estate footprint as a result of the pandemic1.

Brexit has taken a backseat over the past six months, as COVID dominated headlines, but now the divide in stock market performance is painting a stark comparison between the British and Eurozone economies. Fuelled by the historic rescue deal, the Euro Stoxx 600 edged closer to positive territory (-1.5%) over the year period, whilst the FTSE All Share remains 13.5% down. Furthermore, the euro is trading at its highest since October 2018 against the dollar, and there is an expectation that Sterling will fall further2. The deeply depressed sentiment around UK equities presents an investment opportunity for those willing to take on risk, especially considering that a weaker pound will benefit FTSE 100 Index companies, which gain nearly 80% of their revenue from overseas.

Elsewhere in UK politics, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a blow to the majority of public sector workers in the first (of what can be assumed) of many, cost saving measures. With public debt spiralling higher following the initial emergency response, we will be forced to answer the question, of who will pay for it? On Tuesday, the Treasury announced above inflation pay rises for nearly a million public sector workers, but this will cover less than one in five public sector workers, with nurses and carers among the less fortunate3.

It is not only governments that will have to take a deep blow to their pockets in the wake of the pandemic, with insurance companies also looking set to make heavy losses, following a surge in claims. Swiss Re reported a net loss of $1.1bn in their first half, with COVID claims and reserves totalling $2.5bn4. It is estimated that the insurance sector will take a hit of over $200bn this year due to the pandemic5.

Gold and silver prices began a rapid climb last week on fears of a resurgence of virus cases in the US. Silver jumped more than 8% on Wednesday, with the support of a potential increase in industrial demand on the cards as factories re-open. Holdings in exchange-traded funds, backed by silver and gold, are at record highs. This gives many a cause for concern, with signs that the rally could be over-extended. Both metals’ relative-strength indexes are above 70, a level that suggests to technical traders that prices could soon pull back6.

On another note, this week Holden & Partners hosted our first webinar. We covered all things sustainability; from the language used to describe responsible investment strategies, to dispelling old myths, to new themes emerging as a result of recent events. We were very grateful to be joined by Claudia Quiroz from Quilter Cheviot. Claudia was able to give us an insight into how she considers sustainability issues when managing the Climate Assets fund and how identifying companies that are providing solutions is a key part of her investment process7. We must also thank our brilliantly interactive audience for asking some thought provoking questions that enabled us to expand upon the content of our presentation and make our discussion even more in depth. If you were unable to join us for the webinar, never fear, we will be making a recording available for you to view at your leisure. So please keep your eyes peeled, we’ll share it shortly.

One of topics covered during our seminar was that of diversity within business and its influence on investment, sustainability and social justice. The idea that business leaders should be representative of the wider society in which they operate is not just a ‘nice to have’ but has been shown to have a beneficial effect on company performance. A 2003 study of Forbes 1000 firms found that the presence of women and ethnic minorities on company boards had a positive impact on firm value8. A more recent study also linked diverse company boards with lower stock volatility and higher profitability9. It is clear that diversity within the groups of people making key business decisions is important to ensure diversity of thought which, in turn, fosters innovation.

At Holden & Partners we embrace diversity, inclusion and equality as central values. We recognise the importance of healthy development and appropriate use of a wider talent pool to improve growth, competitiveness and the future-readiness of economies, businesses and society as a whole. We will continue to learn, adapt and hone how we include diversity as a key consideration when conducting our investment research.


1 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/banks-eye-ditching-real-estate-with-workers-wanting-to-stay-home?srnd=premium-europe&sref=1LVTCemH

2 https://www.marketscreener.com/DOLLAR-INDEX-5343531/news/U-S-dollar-continues-slide-as-euro-soars-again-30973825/

3 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/21/uk-borrowing-record-coronavirus-pandemic-economy

4 https://www.rttnews.com/3113372/swiss-re-posts-h1-net-loss-on-covid-19-claims-and-reserves.aspx

5 https://www.ft.com/content/51d32286-5264-4c93-80c3-3d0b0fd4558a

6 https://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/gold-prices-climb-to-rs-49-440-per-10-gm-silver-rallies-at-rs-54-850-120072200110_1.html

7 https://www.quiltercheviot.com/uk/charities/climate-assets/

8 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1540-6288.00034

9 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304405X17303215


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.


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.

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

Read all our testimonials

Contact us

Whether it’s a question about your personal finances or how you can invest your wealth more ethically, we are here to help. Call us on 020 7812 1460, email info@holden-partners.co.uk or complete the form: