All posts by James Blackham

James particularly enjoys building close relationships with all clients and helping people identify and fulfil their long term financial goals. A highly qualified Financial Planner working towards Chartered status and is also a Pension Transfer Specialist. James is also a partner of Vizion Wealth LLP.

Pension Consolidation

One thing retirement is not, is an age. Not any more anyway. Gone are the days of being told to stop working one day and pick up your pension the next. Today you have new pension freedoms to decide when and how you retire.

/ 2nd April 2021

Tug of War – Bonds vs Equities

Next week will mark the anniversary of the turning point of the 2020 COVID stock market crash. Investors looking at their one-year portfolio returns may well be astonished to find double-digit return figures, ranging from around 15% for lower risk strategies to close to 50% for pure global equity portfolios.

/ 22nd March 2021

Tax Saving Opportunities

While the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, is looking to reduce the tax gap, there are nonetheless still opportunities to review your financial arrangements for saving tax throughout the tax year. Taking action now will give you the opportunity to take advantage of any remaining reliefs, allowances and exemptions before the end of the 2020/21 tax year on 5 April.

/ 4th March 2021

2020/2021 Year-End Tax Planning

Tax never requires a one-size-fits-all approach. Each taxpayer and each year will be different. And with the end of the current 2020/21 tax year approaching on Monday 5 April 2021, now is the time to carry out a tax health check and implement any planning opportunities.

/ 2nd March 2021

Market Update: One year on – who would have thought

Exactly one year ago, on 19 February 2020, stock markets hit their pre-pandemic high. Over the five weeks that followed, markets plunged in the most extreme global market crash ever known, as the world accepted that COVID-19 was a threat of unprecedented dimensions. Looking back, it seems impossible anyone could have even broadly predicted what would happen over the following 12 months...

/ 20th February 2021

Market Update: A February of Nerves

In the middle stages of the pandemic, when things had the potential for going very, very badly, there was a sense of global solidarity and unity among people and politicians. Maybe China received opprobrium – it was certainly demonised by many in the US – and the iconoclast in the White House enjoyed being different...

/ 1st February 2021

Why Seek Professional Financial Advice

Everyone has different goals in life. But whatever your goals, receiving advice can help bring you closer to achieving them. When it comes to managing your money, trying to build wealth, securing your future and drawing up an effective plan for fulfilling your financial objectives, professional financial advice is essential.

/ 26th January 2021

Market Update: A Sigh of Relief

As Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States this Wednesday, a collective sigh of relief, at the return of civility, decency and a genuine interest in the wellbeing of all citizens, could be felt around the world.

/ 25th January 2021

Investing with a Conscience

Issues such as climate change and sustainability have become increasingly hot topics globally and often the subject of conversation. As a result, Environmental, Social and Governance-linked (ESG) investment strategies continue to dominate financial headlines.

/ 12th January 2021

Market Update: Bye-bye ‘Brexit’, hello new ‘Special Relationship’

In official civil service communications, the word ‘Brexit’ has been mostly absent for nearly a year. According to Downing Street diktat, Brexit is an historic event that occurred at the end of last January (or was it March 2019?). Therefore, we never need speak its name again...

/ 8th January 2021

Market Update: Goodbye To All That…

December usually has a ring of ‘Silent Night’ in the investment world and, in a year where practically all else has changed, at least this has stayed the same. In the UK, news that millions more would be placed under tougher restrictions over the Christmas period may have felt deflating, but it was hardly unexpected and failed to get a peep out of capital markets.

/ 21st December 2020

Market Update: Concerns Over Baubles & Bubbles

As the world faces up to a not-so-jolly Christmas season, it may be surprising to learn that sentiment across the global economy was reported to be quite strong this week. Admittedly, this is mostly driven by strong manufacturing data and not the services sector, which relies so much more on social proximity. Nevertheless, the current economic environment combined with the announcement of COVID vaccinations becoming an imminent reality (if only for those vulnerable) had markets starting December on an upbeat note.

/ 7th December 2020

Divest or Engage?

Environmental, social and corporate governance issues are increasingly in the news, with some high-profile companies facing public scrutiny, corporate action or litigation. In a world where doing good means a better, more sustainable future, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors have become an essential measure for sustainability and ethics of a business.

/ 23rd November 2020

Market Update: More Tunnel Before the Light

The November rally in stock markets finally petered out this week as it felt as if ‘November finally got the memo about 2020’. This was despite further positive vaccine news that bolstered optimism for next year. On Monday, US firm Moderna announced that phase 3 test results of its messenger RNA based vaccine had a 95% success rate, confirming that messenger vaccines work, after the Pfizer & BioNTech messenger vaccine – had also produced above 90% effectiveness a week earlier.

/ 20th November 2020

Market Update: Unsettled week ahead, or behind…

This week’s choppy markets are testimony that the US Presidential election next week could influence the long term more than the tough second wave virus restrictions across Europe. The period we are in just now is one where the short term does have formidable influence on the longer term, so it is perhaps not surprising that capital markets as a whole were choppy over the week.

/ 1st November 2020

Market Update: Sunlit Uplands or COVID Gorge?

Halloween is around the corner and markets had plenty to frighten them this week. Across Europe, the second wave of infections has risen higher than the first. While new lockdown measures are less stringent this time (schools and businesses can remain open unless social distancing is impossible), shutting down social interactions...

/ 26th October 2020

Market Update: Watching and Waiting…

A noticeable winter chill is in the air this week. The threat of fresh lockdown measures has become reality, with renewed restrictions coming into force not just in the UK, but across most of continental Europe as well. But unfortunately, the UK – once again – is faring particularly badly in virus terms.

/ 16th October 2020

Market Update: COVID, Brexit and Trump derailments and yet stocks seem happier

It may be the hundredth time saying this, but despite the all-dominating focus on COVID, it is now also Brexit crunch time, given the UK government rejected the offer of a further extension when the lockdown ‘sabotaged’ the already tight negotiation schedule.

/ 12th October 2020

Retirement Matters

Perhaps the most common investment advice is to stay invested. But with markets being so volatile, the ease of sticking to that advice has been sorely tested in 2020. Even though we’ve seen global markets bounce sharply from their March lows, understandably there will still be those investing for retirement who remain worried and wonder what the best approach is for the remainder of the year and beyond.

/ 16th September 2020

Market Update September: Market dynamic of a K-shaped recovery

Markets’ summer holidays are over. Throughout August, risk assets made some impressive gains, while the global economy remained in its deepest ever recession. After equities were then catapulted to eye-watering valuation levels, the end of this week saw a sharp reversal. On Thursday, the US’ S&P 500 – which soared past its pre-pandemic highs in August’s rally – saw its biggest sell-off since June.

/ 7th September 2020