14 July 2023
The Big Picture
The post-Covid period has been a frustrating and often concerning time for investors who have seen poor returns against a backdrop of rising inflation and interest rates. In this note, James Bacon, one of our associate directors, reminds us of the importance of standing back to see the big picture.
1 June 2023
Buccaneers of The Financial Market
There are many hidden secrets waiting to be discovered and since ancient times, the allure of finding hidden treasure in unchartered territories has captivated the human imagination. Many courageous explorers have ventured into the depths of the ocean to try and unearth these precious treasures, but many have failed. In many ways, financial markets share many conceptual similarities with the ocean - mainly that markets are also deep and liquid. But thankfully, we seem to know a lot more about markets than we do about the ocean.
2 May 2023
Don't be Amazed - Succession can be Successful!
I’m not really sure if I like mazes. Hampton Court was my nemesis – the grim realisation, as I found myself at yet another dead end, that although I knew there must be a way out there was no guarantee I’d find it.
28 April 2023
Perfection is the sum of doing lots of little things well. As professional investors we are obsessed in the pursuit of finding that extra 0.01% to enhance the future outcomes for our clients. While we have various investment strategies, one of the simpler and more noteworthy techniques we use is proactively rebalancing each of our clients’ portfolios.
10 March 2023
Last Wednesday, we held the first in our new series of Spring Masterclasses focussed on the seasonally apt theme of change. Kicking things off, our very own investment guru Radostina Dencheva revisited the findings of her paper on Megatrends – a topic she has been keenly researching since 2017. Our star guest speaker, Saul Humphrey followed with an analysis of the related challenges and solutions for the built environment.
24 February 2023
A year ago, Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine. Shortly afterwards we were joined by the ray of sunshine and positivity that is Yuliia. This is her story.
10 February 2023
Vive La State Pension
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron announced an increase to France's state retirement age from 62 to 64. Admittedly, it’s difficult to find empathy for the French who have one of the lowest retirement ages in Europe. However, the changes made to French pensions could affect us more than we think and highlights the wider demographic issues which many developed countries are facing.
3 February 2023
Snakes & Property Ladders
Climbing the rungs of the property ladder is a fundamentally entrenched value of the ‘British Dream’. For the players who are further ahead in the figurative game, the venomous snake of rising interest rates and tightening legislation is forcing them to move back many places.
27 January 2023
First World Problems
After decades of lacklustre productivity and stagnant growth, many of us were hoping for a repeat of the economic boom of a century ago. The prophecy being touted by some soothsayers – I mean analysts – was that the 2020s’ would be a tribute to the 1920s Great Gatsby era, starring economic growth, lavish consumption, high investment returns and calling each other ‘old sport’.
20 January 2023
The Talented Mr Musk
It seems like eccentricity is a fashionable trait among billionaires – think Bezos, Friedman, Branson, Berlusconi etc. But the one thing that markets hate is volatility. It’s Musk’s unpredictable and erratic shenanigans that repeatedly place him in the spotlight of the media and more importantly markets.
1 October 2022
The older I get the more I appreciate the importance of confidence. Lose it and life gets very much harder - most watching Ms Truss’s faltering press conference following Mr Kwarteng’s defenestration would have concluded that she was no longer a credible leader.
1 July 2022
There ought to be clowns
To borrow from Amber Rudd, he was the life and soul of the party, but not the an you would want to drive you home at the end of the evening. And now it is his turn to be driven out of Downing Street, although, at least until September, figuratively rather than literally
1 June 2022
Let’s talk about Bonds
Fixed interest in a rising interest rate environment. Bonds are viewed as being far less exciting than their close financial brethren: shares.
1 April 2022
A step in the right direction…
If the last 2 years have taught us anything it is that pandemics and wars are not relics of history. It is remarkable that despite the scale of each event markets have taken them in their stride and are in fact up over two years.
15 March 2022
In an uncertain world, there is always a risk that you will bump into someone you know, even in the most unlikely circumstances – but that’s not always a bad thing!
1 March 2022
Keep Calm and Carry On (Once Again)
It feels unequivocally unfair and tragic that in the same week we began to move on from the global pandemic that had marked the course of our lives for the past two years, we’ve walked headfirst into the makings of a world war.
1 October 2021
I used to find demographics boring, then I came to my census!
There are several long term global structural trends that are shaping our future from technological breakthroughs, urbanisation, growing wealth in the emerging world, global warming, and demographic change.
1 September 2021
Two Sides to Every Coin
When new financial technologies arise, we are often sceptical because many of these ‘ground-breaking’ innovations often fail to live up to their expectations and quickly fall from the top of Silicon Valley and deep into the Silicon abyss. However, cryptocurrency has presented a case for itself as one of the disruptive drivers of financial technology in the last decade.
1 August 2021
Too Green or Not Too Green
Even before the start of the pandemic Socially Responsible investing was gaining significant traction – it appears now it is becoming mainstream. As with any investments that become “trendy”, we have to dig deeper underneath the surface.
1 May 2021
Up, Up and Away – Inflation update
Inflation in the US has just reached its highest level in 13 years, the consumer prices index jumped by 4.2% in the 12 months through to April, up from 2.6% in March (please see graph to the right). This has caused markets around the world to slump on worries that soaring inflation could trigger interest rates to rise sooner than expected to control the rise in prices and stop the economy from dangerously overheating.
4 January 2021
It is important not to be defined by our bad experiences. Whilst it is vital to learn lessons from powerful and extraordinary experiences, we must be careful not to learn too much from the unusual nature of these experiences.
7 December 2020
Rishi Sunak - More Milton than Keynes?
The economy has two levers, fiscal policy and monetary policy, and one spanner, political intervention. Unfortunately, an inflationary political spanner in the form of Brexit is about to be thrown into the machinery of the economy.
21 October 2020
If at first....
No immediate and clear good comes out of these failures. There is no progression. It just sucks. It hurts and it takes time to get over it. Life is full of these sorts of failures which are rarely mentioned because we are ashamed of them.
9 January 2020
Not waving but drowning
In the financial world we were also staggering to our feet after two years of being tossed around by the stormy seas of the financial crisis. As Warren Buffet said at the time ‘It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked’ and as the waves of the crisis receded there seemed to be an awful lot of people looking sheepishly for a pair of Speedos to hide their hubris.
1 October 2019
For what it's worth...
I am concerned when something just doesn’t make sense. That feeling that all it is going to take is someone brave enough to shout ‘hey, the Emperor has no clothes’ for the whole facade to come tumbling down
1 July 2019
That night my nagging sense of foreboding developed into a full-blown psychosis. I knew it had been a mistake to tick ‘no’. As the long night wore on, I was started into wakefulness every five minutes by the thought of what had become the inevitable outcome...
4 April 2019
I love that when you put your foot down it kicks you in the back, rearranging your spine like a mechanical osteopath, and fires you from standstill to sixty in around four seamless seconds. I love that everyone I’ve taken in it has been unable to suppress their grin as we are launched towards the horizon. I love that the two tons of batteries strapped under the floor give it the centre of gravity and handling characteristics of a go-kart.
2 January 2019
Out of interest, I thought I’d take a look at what the Encyclopaedia Britannia of 1990 had to say about the internet. I blew the dust off the relevant volume and prised open the virgin pages. There was no mention of Internet. Not one of the forty million words mentioned the threat that would overwhelm the business just six years later.
31 October 2018
I just don't know what to do with myself...
Indian Restaurants are my nemesis. I can cope with a one-page menu. I didn’t get to be within striking distance of eighteen stone by being a fussy eater; I reckon one vegetarian and two or three omnivore options for each course, plus maybe a cheese platter, is plenty.
30 June 2018
Fighting the Tide
If I’d paid more attention during physics lessons I reckon I could have worked out how to lay some induction coils over the cables and enjoy free electricity. From my rough calculations, it looks to be Pareto-efficient, but probably only because my grasp of Faraday’s Law is so weak I cannot work out who would lose out from my nocturnal coil burying.
3 April 2018
Too Much Information
Where would we be without Google? If I have a question I can get the answer in a few milliseconds. In fact, I can get lots of answers – if I ask Google how long it takes Google to answer a question it comes back with 392,000,000 results in 0.53 seconds.
30 January 2018
Tulips from Amsterdam...
2017 was the year Bitcoin became the investment opportunity of the century or the latest incarnation of tulip mania (depending, I suspect, on whether you had the foresight to buy some or not). As I didn’t buy any, naturally I sit firmly on tulip mania side of the fence, waiting like a tricoteuse for the blade to fall.
1 October 2017
Keeping to the Straight and Narrow
A good starting point for innovation is to look at what you already have and how this can be used differently. This Resource Based View suggests that if you have resources that are both useful and unusual, and you build processes to combine these you will end up with goods or services that are better than the competition.
30 June 2017
What they actually sent were two fire engines, an ambulance, any number of police cars and a mobile incident control vehicle. Within fifteen minutes, half the village was evacuated to the pub where the landlord set up a soup kitchen. At this point no-one had seen the bombs.
10 June 2017
You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off...
And finally, Theresa May’s weak and wobbly performance has demolished any semblance of steeliness – this is no Iron Lady. We can now move from the silly confrontational negotiating stance to one that seeks the best outcome for both us and our long-term European friends and allies. The best negotiations result in a win-win.
1 April 2017
I’m writing this month’s musings on All Fools Day. It’s past noon. While I seem to have got away unscathed, with the benefit of hindsight, sitting in my car with the doors locked for five hours seems a lot of trouble to go to simply to avoid looking a fool...
14 January 2017
Michelle. ma belle
The cobbler’s children have no shoes; the Ross children have no financial plan and now seemed as good a time as any to begin to put things right.
9 November 2016
If you don't know me by now....
And so another season begins. I rifle through the pile of shirts, hunt down a No.4 and, pushing kit bags to one side, claim my place on the bench to start the ritual pre-game preparation...
13 September 2016
Thinking of selling your business?
Here are 5 key things to consider...
9 September 2016
Sunday afternoons at a boarding school can tend to drag.
6 July 2016
Portfolio management - One political catastrophe at a time
The Brexit vote was a real test for our portfolios...
24 June 2016
Up, up and Away
So, the battle is over. As bright sunshine pours over the rain sodden field of conflict and the discarded standards of the Leave and Remain camps lie trampled into the puddles...
1 May 2016
I once had a 4.2 litre XJ6. It cost about as much as a second-hand Cortina but magically commanded effortless respect...