July 4th, known as Independence Day in the US, is now set to be a significant day in the UK too, giving us a chance to look back and reflect.

We now, somehow, find ourselves in July – what a year 2020 has been already, and we are just about to start the second act.

This weekend will be a landmark event with the lifting of lockdown restrictions, and the government making the controversial decision to allow the opening of restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and cinemas1. We will also see social distancing rules decrease from two metres to “one metre plus”2. Many people are keen to enjoy a social life that resembles something like their pre-lockdown plans, with some even taking advantage of the lifting of travel restrictions to venture abroad for holidays3.

However, not everyone will be free to enjoy a pint in their local or get a much-needed trim – many are shielding and Leicester will remain in lockdown due to a localised spike in corona cases4. These local restrictions may be required elsewhere going forward, as a reaction to rising infection rates in some parts of the country.

This serves as a reminder that despite the weekend’s air of celebration, we’re not ‘out of the woods’ yet5 regarding the possibility of a second spike. Although we are not going to comment on whether this is likely to happen, it is important to consider the fact that all day, every day, we are assessing risk and making judgement calls, and this is no different. As it is with investments, never take a risk that you are not comfortable with and that you cannot quantify.

Next week will see the Chancellor give his summer statement. We expect jobs, and how we boost the economy, to be, unsurprisingly, the main topics. This is all surrounded by a huge swathe of job cuts announced across the world. In the UK alone, we have seen the likes of John Lewis, Rolls Royce, BP, British Airways, Harrods to name but a few6. These are sadly not unexpected, and we believe that the damage is likely to continue as the impact of the crisis unfolds. In our view, there is no hiding from the fact that we are heading for a recession – if we are not there already (albeit not technically). How deep and how long this may last for is difficult for anybody to call reliably7. What is important is to keep abreast of the economic data and stick to the fundamentals of portfolio construction, and this is part of the DNA of Holden & Partners.

With a lot of talk of inflation or deflation at present, it was interesting to see that the eurozone inflation figures rose more than expected in June. The eurozone saw inflation at 0.3% compared to the same month last year which was a pickup from May’s four year low. Although these figures provided some promise, there was nevertheless cause for concern as price rises in the services industry, such as bars and restaurants, were lagging behind food, tobacco and alcohol. With services making up 50% of the eurozone economy, the prospect of restaurants and bars working at much smaller capacity than usual is far from ideal8.

As we regularly write in these updates, it is important to look for the glimmers of hope during these times. On Thursday, data showed that the US economy added 4.8 million jobs9, which is certainly movement in the right direction, but doesn’t make up for all the jobs lost. Our best case at present is that the recovery will take some time and the list of casualties is only likely to increase.

With the tentative step of moving out of lockdown in the UK, comes an opportunity to reflect on how the events of the last few months have shaped us all.

Throughout our weekly updates, we have discussed the changes in environmental pollution, social dynamics and how businesses have been managed well (or less well) to steer themselves through the governance minefield posed by COVID-19. At Holden & Partners, we’re analysing these shifts to understand their long-term impact on how we view sustainability when making investment decisions. We are intending to discuss these issues, along with other important Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks and opportunities at future forthcoming online seminars. If you have enjoyed our updates, please consider joining us for these free online events. Further details will be announced soon.

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.

Content of the articles featured in this publication is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. They should not be relied upon in their entirety and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, advice. Although endeavours have been made to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of any articles. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent finance acts.

1 https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/pubs-open-reopen-restaurants-cinema-when-lockdown-rules-4-july-a9595501.html

2 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53272303

3 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53273048

4 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53264580

5 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/01/data-reveals-coronavirus-hotspots-in-bradford-barnsley-and-rochdale

6 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/01/john-lewis-to-close-several-stores-as-harrods-cuts-700-jobs-coronavirus

7 https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/uk-economy-imf-chief-economist-no-v-shaped-recovery-2020-7-1029362225

8 https://think.ing.com/snaps/eurozone-inflation-increases-slightly-to-0.3/

9 https://nypost.com/2020/07/02/trump-economy-is-roaring-back-after-record-jobs-report/

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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