Adviser versus Self-invest

Dear Friend


We are pulling together an article on some of the prospectively technical things which could ensue on ‘Brexit’.  For example, how will insurance contracts operate through the other side and things like that – some is supposition till new arrangements are in place and this is not to worry anyone but simply to show too that we are indeed preparing for what may come.  In the meantime, it seems that UK nationals are not holidaying so much on the Continent as the holiday firms are struggling and with a great weather summer predicted for the UK for the second year in a row (can it be true?) that could solve the problems for many who might otherwise be worried about their travel arrangements as well as giving a great economic boost to the UK economy and saving our citizens on the cost of a still very weak Pound (and a dear Euro) too.

This Thursday it is the EU elections.  In theory, these should not have been taking place for the UK.  It won’t impact the UK Parliament as it is MPs who need to support or decline a Brexit deal but the results could influence how these MPs react.  If Mr Farage does really well, then a number of MPs or many of the parties could be really concerned about their own seats for the next General Elections if they have not supported some form of deal to leave the EU and conversely, if ‘Remain’ centric parties do very well, then that might influence the direction there too.  The other big worry is to consider what the international community may think of stability in the UK if the leading two parties poll very badly.  It would only be a protest message yes and it wouldn’t be replicated in a General Election but it is serious.  There are as many people angry that the Brexit delivery has not happened as promised by Labour and Conservatives in their manifestos as those very disturbed in the failure of democracy to deliver the will of the people regardless of how they voted in the Referendum.  The MPs still don’t seem to want to listen to that message.  It has to be said too that the ‘EU’ is also failing abysmally to listen to that message and frankly, it still had a great chance to reform itself following our Referendum result to avert further challenges across the Union and possibly even to have kept us within a reformed entity.  That said – rest assured we continue to believe that the majority of UK stocks are very good value regardless of the outcome so do not over-react!


Lots of investors concentrate lots on the costs of a service.  Sadly, for some they confuse the ‘price’ with the ‘value’ for what they may receive.  First of all, I shall say I am price conscious and I am too when it comes to the costs which our clients may suffer for example with an investment transaction.  I always have a wary eye on such things.  However, there is a vast swath of individuals out there who either do not really know what they are paying to receive or else are ‘DIY’ investors which really means they don’t do much nor very often (even if much is constant oversight and not constant change).

Well, a shocking report just published by fund manager Legg Mason found that investors who have management help have out-performed those who do-it-themselves.  I could write books on the reason ‘why’ including behavioural finance, a subject I enjoy.  However, I’ll just let you read the results and then, if you think that the 1%pa or less which we receive for managing our clients’ money is excessive, consider the free annual review service incorporated or the vast range of component holdings we can acquire for you and many of which you wouldn’t have much of a clue about accessing. I don’t say that to be patronising but just factual – I don’t manage most of my own money myself, it’s all in the same pots as our clients’ for that very same reason! 25&Itemid=468&utm_source=newsletter_1675&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=perspective-buys-london-planner-88-of-trustees-fear-scammers-atkinson-on-inspiring-paraplanners

One of the survey results was clear and that is that ‘DIY investors’ are more cautious than they should be.  That is quite understandable and I can remember my very first investment I made.  Since then, I have gained experience and constantly learn from the things that go wrong to hone the processes and practices into the future.  I now have primary responsibility for the best part of £200million and have to have the confidence in what I acquire and hold for all our clients – that responsibility which is an onerous one for all of their capital.  Could you make some snapshot decisions over a £5million investment if you had to do so, let alone buying something for your portfolio to hold?  And please never forget – if you just wanted to try us to start, we can take small investments (even an ISA from only £50pm!) ‘execution only’ without any subscription fees so you can see what we do and learn from how the systems can work to your benefit.


Now in theory we all know about the Puritans’ emigration from the British shores and which started the Americas, landing at Cape Cod.  There were 600 folk altogether and in several ships over a few weeks, some sailing from Bristol and the original ships starting from Harwich too.

Well humour me but yes, a Milton relative was on one of the ships – a Richard Milton (Melton in some records as they didn’t worry about spellings in those days) born in 1595 and he went on to be successful and established himself and his family there.  Why do I know this?  Because I completed a DNA test a few years ago and the connection was made with his descendants living in North Carolina amongst other places!  He was able to acquire land in exchange for his work and responsibilities in the colony.

His father was John Milton (the Elder), a composer and curiously someone who worked in finance, in the world of lending and as a broker… and as a ‘scrivener’ writing legal documents for those who could not write.  Apparently he was very successful and his financial independence meant that he could allow one of his children, John, to concentrate upon his writings and yes, he is Richard’s brother and his name is John, famous for ‘Paradise Lost’ amongst other writings.  How curious one of his descendants should end up in a rather too familiar line!

John the Elder’s brother was called Henry Mylton and he was on Sir Richard Grenville’s ship which sailed from Bideford in 1587 to establish a colony at Roanoke Island.  (He was a distant cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh).  Apparently the colony foundered and in 1590 upon a visit by another expedition, no one was found.  However, the legend stands that perhaps they integrated with the local and friendly natives and so if a suitable DNA link was ever found… then that would prove the original colony was a success.

It is curious too that whilst I had researched some of this, new information from curious sources continues to arise and it was only very recently that I realised the connection to John Milton was not simply one of those genealogical myths to spice-up the findings and usually involving ‘royalty’ or a ‘ship’s captain’ for zest.  It shows too that whatever we might know, there is always more we can learn and of course, that is the experience even with the world of investment management!  It was prescient that we enjoyed an evening dinner in Bread Street in April too (ostensibly for my birthday but I think it was because of Esme’s marathon endeavour – see below) but we visited Milton Place – where John Milton was born.  Yes, that’s Felix posing by it!  Connecting the relating too, at Christ’s College, Cambridge University when John Milton was enrolled at the age of sixteen in 1624 (a young age not unusual then) there is Milton’s Mulberry Tree planted the same year he was born and which shaded him during his writings.  Before he leaves after he has completed his Masters next year, I’ll have to ask Noah to see if a cutting is possible so we can have one here at Trimstone!

In 2020 Plymouth and other places will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of what is now the United States of America.  Many pilgrims will no doubt use the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom and places like Plymouth and its famous steps.  We need to make sure too they remember historic port towns like Bideford and Barnstaple which not only sent ships but had been sending ships to fish on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland since the fifteenth century.

Without wishing to sound too political but perhaps the celebrations may be an opportunity to consider how we can view the economic opportunities not only surrounding that commemoration but also to look to the Americas for the potential trading and collaboration which we could be striking from outside of the EU.  Of course we shall continue to trade with the EU and they will still be our neighbours and friends and long may that continue.  The celebrations should perhaps mark the chance of a new chapter in the growth and position of the United Kingdom in a far bigger world than the one which existed in 1620!  I suspect that as a Family perhaps we should visit Cape Cod next year and connect with some of the relatives over there too.


Yes, they do exist!  I haven’t bought any yet but I am going to do so.  It is a relatively small and obscure Investment Trust backed by some big names in the investment world.  So it started at the tail-end of 2017 and raised £55million to do so – too small for the big boys to participate (they can’t buy enough and they can’t trade it easily so they ignore it, whether it is good or bad).  The Trust invests in a small range of opportunities in the private equity arena and still has a big chunk of cash left that it has not committed yet.  The underlying asset value at the moment has not done anything – it is early days.  It is quoted down on the opening Pound investors paid then simply really to reflect the costs of subscription and minimal movement.

However, today, we can buy the same exposure (for which those initial investors paid £1) for 57p as some of the private initial investors have become bored with it and sold regardless of the price, to put their money somewhere else.  That’s actually about 36% below the present quoted ‘net asset value’ of this Fund.  The Trust is only worth a total of £35million based on the reduced share price.

If it stays at these levels, we’d be quite happy building an exposure of perhaps £1.75million to it but we’d have to buy it in small amounts and gradually increase our exposure as there is not that amount available to buy and our buying is likely to push the price up too – and then generate a new following from new investors who see the ‘good performance’ we could almost be manipulating as a consequence.  Just imagine though, if in a year or so, the managers feel the strategy is not working and the interest too limited and they sell their holdings and return cash to investors.  Let’s say we simply receive the net asset value back (bearing in mind part of that is cash at the moment).  For every share we buy at 57p today, we’d make about 33p – that, in percentage terms is 58%.  That would have nothing to do with the underlying investment projects having done ‘anything’ either, simply a technical opportunity, like the ones we try to find for our clients all the time and just think – it is likely that some of the target investments actually produce some gains too!

If you want some, the only way is to give us some funds to manage and we may just add some to your pot!  However, there are plenty of others we buy like this – even if not necessarily quite so attractive but still good!


Well done Esme for completing her first (and perhaps last…!) marathon in London with a credible first time!  Rather her than me and well done for raising funds for the British Heart Foundation.  We managed to visit and see her three times on the course.  That is rather tiring in itself and with modern technology these days, we realised we have walked nine miles in the process!  Thank you for the generosity show to her by so many with sponsorship too and she has now collected well over £1000.


Several have said this is a voluntary tax.  There is some truth to that – there are plenty of government-sponsored things that you can do to relive the likely liability upon your demise.  Last year, those estates paying Inheritance Tax increased and the average payment they made rocketed by almost half to £200,000 according to NFU research much to the Chancellor’s delight!  Most estates will fall well below the threshold and inter-spousal transfers are exempt too so it shows that more and more people are going to be paying more of this tax.

We find very often that people look at it as an ‘all or nothing’ case but that shouldn’t be it at all; a staggered strategy and bits of action rather than none are the best way for many we find, achieving other goals at the same time.  For example, you could donate a regular sum out of ‘surplus income’ to an investment portfolio for the grandchildren which you still administer and control for them and perhaps boost it to start with your annual gift allowance of £3000 (and last year’s as well if it is unused) or have some AIM stocks in your overall investment strategy (such as our AIM ISA) as these should be exempt from all tax after just two years and they and their income remain yours of course.  If you have a problem, speak to us and find out some of the easy things you can do.  Anything is better than nothing and every £1000 discounted saves £400 of tax.


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 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 CFPCMChartered MCSI FPFS FCIB

Chartered Wealth Manager

Fellow Of The Personal Finance Society, Fellow Of The Chartered Institute Of Bankers