BREXIT UPDATE – ANYTHING NEW AFFECTING YOUR MONEY & INVESTMENTS?
Really I have nothing new to say at the moment… though Sterling seems to be chipper whatever the outcome – as I suggested for some time that should be the case. Remember too that behind the headlines the ECB has relaxed its policies again and that should lead to a weaker Euro at the same time ostensibly we enjoy a mini-boom as relief at some ‘certainty’ is felt.
HAVE A HEART
Clients may know that at the ripe-old age of forty-seven I had a heart bypass operation. I did not demonstrate the usual conditions which exacerbate such a state and was otherwise fit and healthy and had never smoked in my life but there we are (aside from stresses at the time having been especially elevated but that’s another story!) – and I am pleased to say I believe I am ‘fine’ now as the ‘procedure’ to which it was referred, did the trick. Daughter Esme, who is studying medicine, is running the London Marathon and naturally I have promised to support and share her appeal!
“Hello! I’m Esme and am 22 years old. This year I shall be taking on the challenge of running the London Marathon in April. I am not a runner by nature but it is a challenge that I am willing to embrace and hope to raise some money through doing so.
Making time in my week to train has been refreshing, and I am so pleased with the progress I am managing to achieve. I am also aware of how lucky I am to be able to participate in this challenge. Five members of my family have been directly affected by heart disease in some way. There’s Dad and all of my grandparents have also experienced a condition associated with cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart attack, angina, diabetes and vascular dementia. We’ve seen a lot and I know others who have experienced the same or been the family member of a sufferer. The BHF has helped halve the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease in the UK but sadly every day hundreds of people still lose their lives.
Throughout this period, I would love to raise as much money as possible for the British Heart Foundation, to help ongoing research and aid advancements in education about heart and circulatory disease. Only recently I have realised how many conditions are all linked to cardiovascular disease – the BHF website lists 60.
In April I shall be holding a Ladies’ Clothes Swap Shop Fundraiser. The idea is simple, bring a minimum of 2 items of clothing and exchange for 2 new items. This is an opportunity to chat, upgrade your wardrobe and find out a little more about heart disease and the BHF. I would love for as many ladies to join me as possible, or if you are unable to attend, I would welcome any clothes that you may be able to donate, which can be dropped off at the event venue at your convenience or Choweree House in Barnstaple. There is no charge but we are suggesting a small voluntary donation and we’ll treat you to a glass of refreshment too.
Please do not donate any damaged clothes, swimwear or underwear, children’s clothes or shoes.”
Trimstone Manor Hotel, Wednesday 17th April 7-9pm. All welcome
LONDON CAPITAL AND FINANCE LTD
Unfortunately yet another fraudulent scheme has gone bust. Why do people invest in such things? They worry about the risks that their investments might go up or down but then place all their money with an unregulated company offering them a mouth-watering 8% pa as if that would not be with high risks? On this one, the liquidator suggests that he may be able to only retrieve 20% of investors’ money so of the total £236million collected (of which a colossal £60million went apparently to a marketing company owned by Paul Careless which sold the stuff partly through ‘pretend’ comparison sites), investors may only see £47million returned. This man seems to have many property related interests as well if you search the Companies House Website. What is still frightening is that there are other ‘minibond’ and ‘peer-to-peer’ lenders out there which are also not regulated and where no compensation is available through the standard schemes. We counsel caution and to ignore the glossy promises – and if you really want 7% or whatever then there are quoted collective entities which bundle together such loans and spread your risks – and are regulated even if there are other risks. Better still, invest in a ‘balanced portfolio’ with ourselves and let us do all the risk management – we can secure a natural income of 4% or more from a wide array of different assets and without the systemic risk of putting capital into these sorts of things.
We hear too that LCF’s promises were untrue – and instead of a wide range of different borrowing projects only a few were involved and sure enough, holiday ventures in places like Dominican Republic and Cape Verde Islands are included – now where have we heard of the latter recently – poor Organic Investment Management clients have been subjected to that in one form or another. And apparently the first lending project was to a company where the Director of LF&C was connected – it is really unbelievable.
Let us hope that crime is proven so that the authorities can retrieve the funds which can still be located from the connected parties and return more to the investors. What is the wake-up call? Do you have money with similarly unregulated entities which have offered you above-normal deposit rates? You are NOT protected if it goes under. Be very careful too that you don’t fall for the line which suggests the advertisements which enticed you in the first place were provided by a subsidiary entity which was regulated – that is NOT the underlying company so no protection applies, as is likely in this case.
Please don’t be foolish and instead invest your money with properly regulated entities which have your best interests at heart, like ourselves. No, you don’t have to leave all your money on the high street Building Society or Bank account either, you can do better than that but just be wary. That word ‘Trust’ means many different things and is the first route to making the right decisions rather than doing online clicks and putting your money with spurious property-related lending entities or other highly dubious things of any type is not the answer. There again, if you can afford to risk the lot, carry-on doing what you are doing already – you can risk more than we can afford to risk and none of our clients risk that sort of money when investing sensibly, I can tell you. What’s that sort of peace of mind worth to you, after all?
WHAT IS RISKING YOUR MONEY ALL ABOUT?
Well, there is the above situation which is awful but then there is the risk that doing nothing is worse than doing something too but to whom do you turn to look after your money? Brewin Dolphin has just updated its report on investment performance over the last twenty years. It sounds a long time but really it rushes-by! So had you put £100 in the FTSE250 (a mainly British companies’ stockmarket index), it would now be worth £380 in real terms – meaning after inflation. You could have just left it on the Building Society and guess what, it would now be a miserly £114. Looking forwards, for more of the last few years interest rates have been ‘non-existent’ so it is easier to beat the bank too – in the last ten years your bank account would have seen the real value actually DROP to £84 whilst the same FTSE250 index would have returned £314 when returns were invested but also allowing for an annual management fee (though that was the lowest point of the markets after the 2008/9 collapse but even so, still very impressive!). I liked the quotation on the closing article in the FT article on this on 9 March and it is right (one day I’ll explain why it has worked and will continue to work…):- “The short-term volatility of shares doesn’t actually become losses unless the stocks are sold while on a downturn. Over the longer-term, shares have outperformed all other asset classes and have proven their value to investors.” (Alistair Fullerton – Laith and Co Wealth Advisers. I guess they have been reading my regular missives!).
What a dreadful case flagged in the Mail recently https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-6777667/My-aunt-dementias-solicitor-attorney-racked-40k-bills.html Sadly, it is not as unusual as some may think naively and too many so-called ‘professional advisers’ appear to have carte blanche to do whatever they want and charge whatever they think they can ‘get away with’ on such cases and estates and frankly, the entities there to ‘protect’ people (especially insofar as the Legal Services Ombudsman is concerned) are toothless and reluctant to take real action. We have seen this sort of thing all too often I am sorry to say, even if the amounts on this case are disgraceful. I know there are some great lawyers out there but why is it that when it comes to not answering correspondence or being ‘arrogant’ about matters or cases they seem to be at the top of the list? I have mentioned before a distant lawyer acting for my family member who is receiving a legacy and the firm has still not replied to messages from last February – responses necessary to enable the children beneficiaries to be advised. It is just unacceptable but too common-place and sadly, there is ‘no-one’ around to complain anymore in such instance as the client has died. Most of this is simply professional courtesy too and care and attention for one’s clients and related parties but clearly for some individuals and firms that doesn’t count for very much. I won’t even touch upon the cases shared with me informally by a prospective client on Friday…
If you are concerned that this sort of thing could happen to you, come and have a chat with a Firm which does care, is professional and with real integrity – and the necessary protections in place to protect you, your family and your capital too.
So the regulator in its wisdom has chosen to increase the compensation limits on the FOS to £350,000. This is not a good move – not because it increases the compensation for those afflicted by bad advice in financial services but because the previous limit was adequate. This has the unfortunate effect of increasing the cost of advisers’ insurance as the prospective top level of compensation which can be awarded very arbitrarily has now been ratcheted-up significantly as a prospective liability. It has been suggested that the insurance cost could increase by up to three times the present level and at the end of the day, the customer has to pay for the protection he is given. Certain business types, such as final salary pension scheme advice, will become cost prohibitive as the prospective liability has now more than doubled for the adviser. Indeed, many advisers will decline to give advice at all on these as the risks are disproportionate to the best and correct advice. What is sad is that for most clients, the lower levels were enough in the first place so this only benefits a tiny quantity of cases but clearly the cost implications will be universal.
Stock market investments can offer income through the payment of dividends and interest and good opportunities for capital appreciation over the longer term. By this, generally we mean periods in excess of five years, preferably much longer. However, we can never promise you particular returns, especially in the short-term. At any point in time but especially in the short term, your capital could be worth less than the original amount invested as some of the selected holdings may fall in value, regardless of expectations at the time of acquisition. We may also invest in funds that hold overseas securities. The value of these investments may increase or decrease as a result of changes in currency exchange rates. Returns achieved in the past cannot be relied upon to be repeated.
To remind you, why do I send out occasional emails? Because everyone can save money. We have no connection with any companies mentioned and you have to make your own contacts and satisfy your own enquiries. What is in it for us? If we can prove that we are knowledgeable and that our service and advice have good value, then you might contact us for professional financial planning and investment help. You don’t have to do that though and there’s no charge for emails. If simply they save you money, then accept them with our compliments! However, you’ll know where we are!
If you have any queries of any form or indeed any subjects you think I could include, please contact me. I also refer you to our website www.miltonpj.net. We celebrated our thirtieth anniversary in 2015 and have been publishing a well-respected independent column in the local Paper for most of that time and free client newsletters as well.
Do not forget however the usual caveats – this is not ‘advice’ and you are encouraged to seek that before embarking upon any financial route involving investments, etc.
My best wishes
Philip J Milton DipFS CFPCM Chartered MCSI FPFS FCIB
Chartered Wealth Manager
Fellow Of The Personal Finance Society, Fellow Of The Chartered Institute Of Bankers