As coronavirus (COVID-19) leaves many of us working from home surrounded by our families and loved ones, it is inevitable that we start to think about how well we are prepared for our futures. Wills and estate planning more broadly is a sensitive subject for households across the UK, and is often thought of as a bit of a taboo subject. However, the global pandemic has focused minds and given us space to think.
As we wrote last week, there is a broad consensus that this year will see a strong economic rebound as mass vaccinations finally put an end to pandemic – even if we have to wait until the second half of the year to see it.
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.
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...
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.
We recently announced in our November team news blog that having successfully passed his ER1: Equity Release exam, our very own Financial Planner James Blackham has now obtained the final credits required to achieve the coveted Chartered Financial Planner status. So, it is with great pride, we congratulate James as he becomes one of the new breed of young Chartered Financial Planners in the UK.
The infamous year of 2020 is finally coming to an end – what a tough one it has been. I’m sure each and every one of us are tired of the words ‘pandemic,’ ‘covid,’ and ‘lockdown’, so let us try to make the last few weeks of 2020 as positive as possible, with hope for a better year in 2021.
This week’s edition was meant to focus on our annual outlook for the coming year, while working under the assumption that the UK and Europe would by now be operating under a ‘skinny’ trade deal that would prevent tariff hurdles to trade while also dealing with the barriers to trade that come with operating under independent regulatory regimes.
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.
Saving into a pension is one of the most tax-efficient ways to save for your retirement. Not only do pensions enable you to grow your retirement savings largely free of tax, but they also provide tax relief on the contributions you make.
During a week when global stock markets continued their more gradual upwards trend, government policy was in full focus, but offered little in support. For the UK, it looks like ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’ when official lockdown ends next Thursday, with the vast majority of England under tighter restrictions than before – and for an indefinite period of time.
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.
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.
Investors have enjoyed another very good week. Optimism had already returned the previous week, with the US election eventually delivering a clear verdict. This week then brought the news that literally everybody had been waiting and hoping for, and which we had portrayed as probable in our ‘optimistic case’ forward-look on these pages two weeks ago.
As we find ourselves in another national Lockdown, we are collectively trying to remain as positive as possible that things can get back to a new-normal in 2021; although, having adjusted to working from home life for many of us, it brings its own benefits that we can continue to enjoy in the meantime.
Here we go again. Having had our fun, and eaten out to help out over the summer, the UK public is back indoors for the rest of November. What the government was keen to prevent still came as hardly much of a surprise last Saturday, given rapidly-rising hospital admission numbers, the tiered shutting of regions across the country and the European neighbours having already announced similar nationwide measures earlier in the week...
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.
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...
By the time we have been working for a decade or two, it is not uncommon to have accumulated multiple pension plans. There’s no wrong time to start thinking about pension consolidation, but you might find yourself thinking about it if you’re starting a new job or nearing retirement.
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.