News and views

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 […]

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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 […]

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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!  […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Pounded

Since the result of the EU referendum, the UK currency has been on a downward path with occasional periods of stabilisation resulting in a bounce in its fortunes before it resumes its downward trend. October has seen a resumption of sterling’s slump as the rhetoric used by Theresa May at the Conservative Party Conference and […]

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Tighter than you think

Continuing our musical references, this blog’s title is in part an homage to the recent Paralympics and GB’s outstanding success excellently covered by Channel 4, accompanied by Public Enemy’s ‘Harder Than You Think’. It is also a reference to the US interest rate decision last week that voted to leave the Fed Funds rate unchanged […]

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Operation Steepener

Operation Steepener? Bond markets in the developed world are not being run with the lender/investor in mind. The purpose of loose monetary policy and quantitative easing (QE) is to reward the borrower or at least to make it cheaper to access debt. For investors in debt/fixed income and balanced mandates you need to bear this […]

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Unbalanced

More Risk – Same Return One of the intended consequences of the vast amounts of quantitative easing (QE) that have taken place in developed economies (I’ll avoid calling them ‘advanced’ as Mark Carney did yesterday as some are finding hard to move forward), is that bond yields have been crushed. QE has been generally supportive […]

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A Game of Two Halves

It’s not been a good couple of weeks for anything Euro. A ‘Leave’ result was followed last week by an ignominious England exit from the Euro 2016 football championships.  As a long-standing Crystal Palace fan, I have found that with two starters in the Welsh team and a third Palace player who regularly comes on […]

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