Shocking situation in the Ukraine

The civilised world stands in shock this week following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Words fail all of us over the Ukraine situation – very sad and no-one really knows or understands what Mr Putin is trying to prove or achieve.
The financial consequences are severe for the Russians, most of whom did not want aggression and yet they will suffer the same as a punishment for Mr Putin and his cronies.

‘Afterwards’ perhaps there will at last be a more rigid global review on money corruption across the Globe generally, to stop the creation of beasts which can then ruin us all with their corrupt and illegal practices in other quarters, like this, if we are not careful.
The Russian stock market has plummeted and the Rouble alongside it. Of course, gas and oil prices jumped, so Russia will now receive even more for its exports, which too many countries still must buy, though Russia has been storing-up great reserves already.   How will investors be affected? Generally, ‘uncertainty’ creates any excuse for the market to reduce prices on certain stocks and sectors. Some drift is inevitable and all investors will have suffered in some way or another but the ‘damage’ so far is very limited. However, if you have direct Russian exposure (not so unusual these days), that will have been hit hard – stocks like Petropavlovsk, J P Morgan Russian Investment Trust, Raven Property or Evraz and yes, we have some, though as usual, our vast diversity is protection

Really it has to be a time simply to sit still and await ‘developments’ – which could come much sooner than anyone could possibly envisage. However, some consequences favour other assets – we hold silver, wheat and ‘agricultural products’ which have all bounced.
What else do we have that is perky? Energy, gold and general miners (unless Russian-centric) and the defence sector of which we have a couple – BAE Systems has bounced 88% since its October 2020 low for example. Even ‘ESG’ investors are beginning to realise that ‘defence’ is not ‘attack’ in the context of the Ukraine incursion and it needs supporting.

I did expect BP to fall more today too than the 4% showing; it could take a $25billion hit on the sale of its 20% Russian stake, which generated a fifth of all returns last year.
So what am I saying? Don’t panic; don’t go overboard but there are likely to be a few distressed sales going-on out there and a few popular stocks, etc which could suffer worse as investors choose to bank some profits in them.
‘Value’ stocks should again ride the storm better than tech and growth stocks of the last few years, though if things unravel too much, remember that liquidity can drive investors to sell what they know they can sell and then at any price; illiquid smaller stocks can remain unaffected in price as you can’t sell them…. It’s a funny ol’ world sometimes.  

Economics history  

Well I didn’t know, but courtesy of Gavin Jackson’s new book Money in One Lesson, the route source of ‘Capital’ is ‘cattle’. Yes, the Sumerians farmed cattle and not camels or sheep but these became the reflection of economic progress in accordance with how many cattle you had and their productivity. Cows make a regular income (milk, dairy and meat products – and fertiliser) and you can store surplus capital by having more of them.

There are risks of course – we understand that and how to protect yourself and manage the risks. An Iraqi 4,000-year-old Cuneiform clay tablet predicts progress in a hypothetical herd over 10 years, a great little investment plan with calves, dividends and growth!

It is suspected too that this created the need for ‘interest’ if you loaned your capital to someone else – a return on your investment even if someone else was doing the farming and that is fair enough. In Sumerian, ‘mash’ is the word for calves – and also ‘interest’. ‘Capital’ started from the Latin word ‘Capita’ for head – how many head of cattle did you have. So this helps differentiate between investment and savings too.

So don’t keep too much in ‘savings’ (cash accounts earning you ‘nothing’ and deteriorating in spending power) even in the face of today’s volatility, but ‘invest’ in capital producing assets. Let us farm your cattle for you – we know what we are doing and can let you have regular milk, fertiliser and meat returns as well!  


First, remember this is not an asset and it is not an investment. There is absolutely nothing tangible about it at all (not to be confused with tokens at least represented by real assets deposited somewhere).

This article is rather disturbing and reflects the growing concerns over gambling, psychosis and addiction – and what can happen.   All I’d say is that there are plenty of fantastic, under-valued investments on legitimate, accessible markets out there, including speculative opportunities which can double and treble if you must, yet backed by regulatory protection and where whatever you buy are real assets – so why gamble on an ethereal dream in the hope that tomorrow more people will gamble (and thus push-up the prices) in this imaginary thing anyway?  ‘Crypto ruined my life’   

Blue Planet Investment Trust  

The long-running saga continues with the Company ignoring my last letter. I have copied the FCA again, as personal culpability could start to arise on any who are deemed to have acted negligently in this sorry affair. To just think, what saving there would have been had they acted when I first contacted them to challenge what seemed to be going awry. Shares traded hands at as low as 12.3p last week – disgraceful.

Again I repeat, whilst I do not like losses anytime, each holding we maintain, even a more mainstream one which this may have represented at the peak with its previous mundane investment policy, is only a small overall exposure to our total client assets.
Still, such ‘news’ today is pleasantly offset by a Commercial Property Trust announcing higher asset values and resumption of dividends (at a level which could represent a 12% yield) as well as 95% rent collection. We hold three times more of that than Blue Planet.

It is the ‘whole’ client’s account which matters and not an individual holding within such a well-diversified strategy. Never forget that.  

Are you comfortable with maths?  

Apparently, a study says that 40% of the population is not comfortable with basic maths. Of course, the results assume that those reading them know that this means nearly one out of every two of us… I guess here the comment would be that if you perceive it is not your favourite subject, then it is more important to seek financial advice to guide you!

I shall also say that it is how it is taught… that counts for so much and education needs to break-down better the mental barriers which can stop even the more intelligent person otherwise not understanding the basics of simple calculations.  

Scott racks up a brilliant 25 years  

I’d like to highlight and congratulate our very own Scott Pickard, who has completed an incredible 25 years with PJM & Co. He’s a long-standing director and accomplished financial adviser. It is a lovely painting.

I can’t thank Scott enough for the sterling work he has done – and continues to do – on our behalf and I would like to think he will be with us for another 25 years, unless of course he is thinking of beginning a new career as a marriage broker! Read on to find out why….!