Finance Monthly Global Award

Dear Friend

We are humbled to have been chosen as the winner of ‘Finance Monthly’s Global Award 2020’ in the category of ‘Financial Planning’! According to the criteria, the prize is as a result of the Firm’s overall attributes and successes in this particular field. They note:- “We are celebrating those who have excelled in their work, the innovative players and those who have exceeded client expectations and demonstrated measurable achievements over the last 12 – 18 months – even in the current challenging environment.“

Firms must firstly be nominated, then scrutinised by an editorial panel before shortlisting. Consideration is then given to ‘submitted material, client recommendations, sector expertise and innovation, client care, growth, developments and evidence of going beyond the call of duty.’

Judging then took place based on awards for the various categorisations and we are very proud to have been announced as the overall winner in this category – thank you to them and to all who nominated us! Thank you too to our clients and our staff team – all of whom have been very forbearing these last many months of very strange times.

New Posts

We are pleased to announce the engagement of a new trainee on 2 November and welcome her to the team. Present precautions regarding Covid19 and the practicalities of work considered, we are still open to a couple of additions to help with client servicing especially and if you are interested, please refer to our ‘Careers’ Page on:- We may have opportunities too for other advisers and professionals in complementary activities to our own whereby a bank of clients can be brought to the Firm as part of a reward package – or indeed a business acquired with that as we are fortunate to have resources to support us in that direction.

Latest Valuations

It seems a regular theme that yet another ‘reason’ is there for ‘uncertainties’ – or a continuation of the last ones. Investors’ latest quarterly valuations are now being prepared and for most they will show little change from the 5 July figures though since the 5 October valuation point, there have been several brighter spots to push values upwards. The volatility which we have all experienced over the last several years needs to remind us that it can be to the upside as much as the downside and that only a 3-10% change can make a significant impact on overall investment values for a whole year or even two, when compared to alternative outcomes elsewhere. That type of movement even in a matter of days or a week, even from a very balanced and thus generally lower risk approach, is not so unusual these days and that is without some ‘special’ event affecting a single stock or two in strategies, like a takeover or prospective liquidation of an Investment Trust which may have been standing at a deep discount. The good news for all of those with too much cash is that they are not too late to buy great opportunities and we’d be delighted to help them do just that. Please don’t wait till things have rebounded 30% – you have to buy when things appear ‘uncomfortable’, to secure the best opportunities and the value is well and truly there at the moment (with certain exceptions like US Tech).

Corporate Action

Whilst some action is greater than others, every little helps! These last few weeks have not only seen some of our direct stocks subjected to bids but some of our undervalued collectives have also finally begun to announce changes which either have or will result in increased share prices for investors. Some may be smaller than others but all are welcome! For example, The Investment Company Plc has seen its share price jump by 20% on the announcement of new directors and a revised investment policy and as we own 15.5% of the Company, that is very welcome! It’s not so exciting; half in fixed income assets and the rest in a portfolio of mainly bigger stocks but it suited the purpose for our investors. Still, it is only our thirteenth largest holding. That said, there is hope now that we can sell at almost net asset value to new investors, so the deep discount will be unlocked for clients’ benefit. GLIF, which has been trundling-along at the bottom, has also announced a recapitalisation and finally that should begin to see values unlocked once more, as its core activities are still trading very successfully. However, that is not a mainstream holding at all and whilst we are the second largest shareholder in the Company, our ordinary share exposure only represents 0.5% of clients’ total assets and it ranks number seventy on our list in size terms.


Apparently 90% of people want their financial advisers to be there to provide support to their next generation, clearly especially when they are no longer ‘there’. However, curiously, only one-third of these same people have introduced their families to their advisers! Have you done so yet?!

We do have a gentle inter-generational programme and encourage clients to engage with us in this regard – not to be morbid but possibly even to start a simple process of education and familiarisation with finances and indeed a knowledge and hopeful confidence in the Firm and what it does. It can be quite intensive or just a start which may entail adding their details to a newsletter list for now. There are no charges for this so if you want to do the same – or need to do so and you have not done yet – then please provide their details to us! In the meantime if ever we can help them with any financial matter, hopefully they know where we are.

Direct Secured Property Investment Offering 7%PA Plus

Whether ‘peer-to-peer’ or with some other direct entity, have you succumbed? The regulators have closed-down yet another of these unregulated entities where it found the recipients of the cash were spending it on, well, themselves… that was one of the things ‘Minerva’ had been doing but sadly there will still be more bad ones to come out of the woodwork yet. We still receive daily offers of ‘great opportunities’ to join with some speculative residential property development for a share in the returns. Please stick with fully regulated investments and if you recall my last eshot, there are quoted funds on the Stock Exchange which actually offer comparable interest rates (and more) and whilst it is wise to seek advice on these too, they are far superior to anything you may have ‘heard from a friend’ or been approached on the internet, however friendly the advertiser. As I go to ‘print’ too, it appears Dolphin Properties has also foundered – ‘safe’ German properties and their development whereby the sellers of its investments to the public were taking a choice 20% commission – please, please DON’T DO IT.

Following-on from this, the FCA has wisely banned private investors from buying ‘crypto currency derivatives’ and entertainingly did so with a headline noting how many millions such action would save other naïve investors should they otherwise have been able to participate in the future – don’t buy this stuff please – again, whatever it is, do you have regulatory protections if (or when!) it fails? This is nothing to do with whether something goes up or down in value or sends you ‘interest’ – it is whether it is a sham or a scam. If you want to lose your shirt on spivvy, penny shares or whatever in regulated investments you can do that but clearly seeking guidance from an independent regulated adviser means being sensible and protected and for the majority, outright speculation is not ‘investment’ at all and not what we do.

Coronavirus Vaccine

For some investors, chasing the possible saviours in the pharmaceutical world has been a game. It’s an interesting one and the idea sounds well, sound but not when the price is rather wrong I guess. This is the difference between a good idea and the wrong price (indeed, some of our best investments over the years have been buying ‘bad’ investments at the wrong price – far too low despite the news which may have caused the declines in the first place).

There are five giant pure Covid19 biotech stocks on the US market led by Moderna and Biontech. These are valued on the market at over $50billion and not one of them has so far successfully commercialised either a vaccine or a drug in anything and their sales at the moment are a mere $500million. Including the big pharmaceutical giants like Astra and Glaxo, there are over 320 potential vaccines in course of research and production. Only six are in the final throes of phase-three trials. These five have raised $4billion of new money this year and the management has sold $300million of their stock at the same time so perhaps they have already made all the fortunes that are possible from this scenario – it might be worth taking the same hint I guess!

And interestingly, Glaxo with its vast portfolio and solid security has seen its shares fall, trying to return to the low levels plumbed in March – does that make any sense at all? No. Which would I prefer to buy – and indeed, we hold some Glaxo for clients even if so far they have not ‘done anything’ – patience is a virtue and one of the best things in which we all need to invest at the moment.

Risk Warning

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 celebrate our 35th anniversary in 2020 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.

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