News and views

Supermarket Sweep

  While today marks the first of May and you may be tempted to find a pole to dance around, it also sees the end of April, some unsettled weather and the passing of one of this country’s gameshow hosts, Dale Winton.   One of Dale’s most well-known TV shows was Supermarket Sweep which aired […]

Continue reading

Indexation Fixation

‘An index is not a portfolio construction tool’. A quote attributable to Hugh Young, then of Aberdeen Asset Management (now Aberdeen Standard Investments).   The Emperor’s New Clothes Around twenty-odd years ago, someone hoodwinked the investor community that market capitalisation indices were the most important measurement of a portfolio’s performance.  This was probably led by […]

Continue reading

Three Degrees

Index funds do not care if you make money. All they care about is that they get more assets when the market goes up. Large actively managed funds, benchmarked to an index, don’t really care if you make money… all they care about is that you make more money than if you had invested in […]

Continue reading

Passive?!

‘Accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance’ Source: Oxford Dictionary The chart below from Bloomberg doesn’t look like passive behaviour, more like panic behaviour. The SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (ETF) suffered a record USD23.6 billion in outflows last week. The momentum investors that bought what went up, […]

Continue reading

StagNation

Today is the first of December and minds turn to thinking of Christmas and the delivery of presents by Santa and his team of reindeer. This horned team of stags (can you name all eight of them?) is not what the title of this blog is about. Thinking back to last week’s budget, the revised […]

Continue reading

Strategic Asset Allocation – Why?

We were somewhat surprised to read earlier this month that the most popular recipient of inflows during a record month for net retail sales of open-ended funds according to the Investment Association for September 2017, was the UK Strategic Bond sector. Historically bonds have been something of a safe haven, an anchor of relative stability […]

Continue reading

Shoulder to Shoulder

With MIFID II in the headlines and due to come into effect from 3 January 2018, it is interesting that with almost each passing day, fund groups are emerging from the woodwork stating that they will shoulder the financial burden of research costs and not charge the funds that they manage.  How generous of them!  […]

Continue reading

University Challenge: Dissecting Student Loan RPI

For those fans of the above and its host who smugly ridicules the students when they get answers wrong – he is looking at the answer, you will be disappointed to learn that this blog is not about the BBC2 show. As we enter the first month of autumn, students are either returning to their […]

Continue reading

Saving Simplified

Mind the Gap Earlier this week saw the UK June inflation release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) for the twelve months to the end of June 2017 at 2.6%, down from 2.9% for the 12 months to the end of May 2017. A surprising drop by all accounts […]

Continue reading

Choices

A or B (or some of each)? For A read alpha and B, beta. No, this isn’t a Greek lesson but what is available to investors today. B is the passive bandwagon that delivers index performance at low cost and being promoted or shouted from the virtual rooftops today. You can get more specialised beta […]

Continue reading

Two Rulers

Our industry is marshalled by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulator and the Investment Association (IA), the trade body for asset management. These two are supposed to work together for the benefit of the end user – the investor. Since the FCA’s interim report on the asset management industry last November, criticising ‘active’ managers […]

Continue reading

Sometimes Size is Relevant…

 …especially where populations are concerned. The three largest populations in the world are: China India USA In Millions 1,374 1,267 324 Real GDP Forecast 2017 (OECD) 6.4% 7.6% 2.3% Democracy No Yes Yes Central Bank Integrity ? Yes Yes 2017 Current Account/GDP US$ (OECD) +2.4% -0.9% -2.6% Median age of population 37.1 27.6 37.9 Where’s […]

Continue reading

Why Invest?

As we approach the end of the tax year, it is a busy period for most of our adviser clients. With your time even more precious at this time of the year, we’ll start off with a look at the concept of investing. Forgive us if that sounds too rudimentary, but with all the headlines […]

Continue reading

Does Active Management Still Work?

We seldom publish third party material on our website but occasionally we come across a study that is worth sharing.  There continues to be much debate concerning passive and active investing plus the use of ‘smart beta’ strategies.  This piece from Ian Lance’s team at RWC and kindly reproduced here with their permission, provides a clear […]

Continue reading

Disruptive Influences

One of the key criteria in our equity manager selection is their ability and knowledge of disruptors and potential disruptors to existing companies. To us this is crucial to effective active equity management and it doesn’t just apply to thematic strategies, it pervades all of our equity managers. As a reminder, we prefer managers who […]

Continue reading

A Great Wall for China

While President Trump appears to enjoy dominating the media headlines and dictating policy via Twitter, few outside Mexico will have paid much attention to the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto until this week. For a President with a low popularity rating, the Trump attack on Mexico and the border between the two countries has provided […]

Continue reading

Response to the FCA AMR

Many in our industry will have spent much of the weekend pouring over the Financial Conduct Authority’s Asset Management Review announced to much fanfare last Friday morning by Chief Executive Andrew Bailey. It makes some good points, such as: The potential conflict of interest within investment consultants and rating agencies who also offer their own […]

Continue reading

Value

Normally we like to start our blogs with a pithy title but in this case we’ve started with a one-word title. It reflects the ongoing discussion in the financial trade press about value investing versus its growth counterpart. Given the US election and the increasing likelihood of one in the UK next year after the […]

Continue reading

Vive La Difference!?

The above relates to a phrase uttered by then French President, Charles de Gaulle in Montreal in 1967 for those of you either old enough or well-versed in modern French history. It was the second utterance and followed ‘Vive le Quebec libre’.  In other words, long live the difference, long live a free Quebec as […]

Continue reading