Blog - Harley Financial Services Ltd

Experienced paraplanner required

We are looking for an experienced paraplanner to join our team.   See attached Paraplanner Ad Sep 17 for full details.

New client enquiries

Please note that due to the high number of client referrals we have been getting that Douglas is now unable to take on any new clients until the end of September.

Gary does have availability in his diary before then for any enquiries that are not related to Defined Benefit pensions.

We are very grateful to have such loyal clients that refer us on to so many of their friends and family. However, to ensure we can meet demand, please let your friends or colleagues know about this waiting period to see Douglas if they are planning on contacting us for advice regarding their Defined Benefit pension.

Your Finance Matters

Check out our spring 2017 magazine below.

Your Finance Matters

Employment opportunity

We are looking for a receptionist/administrator.   See attached ReceptionistAdmin Job Advert for details.

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes for 2017

Please note that our office will close at 1pm on 23rd December and will be closed throughout the festive period. We will open again at 9am on Wednesday 4th January.

Christmas lunch

Please note that our office will close at 11am on Friday 16th December as we head out to our Christmas lunch.  We will be back to normal working hours on Monday 19th December.

Trump wins US Presidential election

Donald Trump has won the US Presidential election and the Republicans also retained their majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Trump’s election introduces significant uncertainty to the outlook for government policy, economic activity and the US Federal Reserve (Fed). Market volatility has spiked in reaction to the result and we expect this to continue over the coming weeks amid speculation about his likely policy agenda. However, we stress the importance of not overreacting and waiting for clear announcements of priorities.

The president-elect and House Republicans have placed large tax cuts and corporate tax reform at the heart of their fiscal agenda. Mr Trump has also advocated a large increase in infrastructure spending.

At face value, the above policy agenda would boost economic activity over the next two years. However, Mr Trump has pledged to increase trade protection and reduce immigration – policies that would simultaneously weaken economic growth and increase inflationary pressures.

Clearly it is too early to fully assess the implications of the election result on markets, politics and the economy. A downbeat mood in markets could last several weeks but the medium-term implications for markets depend on the actual policies of President Trump and what can be negotiated through Congress.

As always, we encourage our clients to hold diversified portfolios structured for long term investment goals and designed to look through the short term noise.  If you are in any doubt about your own portfolio, please just get in touch with us.

EU Referendum

So the UK has voted to leave the EU.  As we look forward, the implications of this decision are hard to predict. The political and economic landscape in the UK and further afield will alter dramatically over the coming days and weeks. The long process of negotiating an exit and subsequent international relations begins immediately but no one can be sure of the timetable or outcome.  On Sunday, the Spanish general election may provide some indications of the broader anti-EU voice. No doubt today’s result will increase calls for referendums in other EU states, including Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. To a large extent, the UK’s experience in negotiating an exit over coming months will continue to shape the future of the EU for some time.

So what will be the impact for UK investors? 

The biggest impact will be on sterling, UK equities, UK gilts and other domestic asset classes, including corporate bonds and less liquid investments.   Markets have reacted over the course of the early hours and as anticipated, there has been a pronounced sell off in risk assets.  At this point in time, the immediate sell-off in risk assets and the flight to safer investments is an understandable reaction, especially after markets rose over the last week as investors priced in a ‘Remain’ vote. Over recent years, financial markets have been driven by the expectations and reality of monetary policy, and today’s result will no doubt delay the path of monetary policy tightening in the US and the continuation of a more accommodative stance in the UK and Europe.

However, we should not over-read the impact of this event on global market volatility. Our investment partners global market outlook for 2016 has been dominated by expectations of heightened market volatility, triggered by events such as this. With the UK representing about 4% of global GDP, its ability to cause a major economic shock is limited.

In an environment which exhibits heightened volatility and where there is no clear direction for markets generally, we continue to advocate a dynamic and diversified approach.  Risk management has been, and will continue to be, paramount in protecting returns for our clients.   That is why virtually all of our clients are invested in well diversified multi-asset portfolios.

However, while the uncertainty presents risks, there are also opportunities.  Remaining invested throughout this period ensures that your portfolio has the potential to benefit from any opportunities that may arise.  Over the coming days and weeks, the ramifications of the UK’s decision will continue to be felt both domestically and internationally. The resultant market disruption comes as no surprise and our investment partners continue to identify ways to both protect against risks but importantly look for opportunities to add value where market reactions are out of line with fundamental expectations.

In the short term stock markets will fall and there will be a sense of panic in the media with headlines about millions being wiped off the value of shares.  However, we have seen this sort of reaction before during the financial crisis of 2008, the 9/11 terror attacks and various other market downturns.  What we know from those (and the various other “crashes” over the years) is that markets always recover.  It is simply a case of being patient.

Summary

If you are planning for your long term future you really do not need to be concerned about short term volatility.  This would only be a concern if you needed to cash in your entire portfolio in the short term.

It is certainly possible that portfolio values will drop in the coming days and weeks, but as long as you continue to focus on your longer term goals and hold a diversified portfolio, it really is just a case of doing nothing and waiting on values increasing again.  Due to the diversification we include in all our client portfolios, our advice has not changed.  Stick with your portfolio, let the fund managers look for the opportunities that will arise as a result of the volatility and just get on with your normal day to day activities without worrying about your investments.

Ethical investing. Is it for you?

Ethical investing used to be about avoiding companies that were considered to be unacceptable, such as those involved in weapons, porn or tobacco, or those involved in the abuse of human rights and the environment.

More recently however, investors have realised they have the potential to make a positive impact on the way in which companies operate, by using share ownership to engage with company management to improve the way they treat their employees, suppliers and the environment. This more positively focused approach is commonly referred to as Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).

One of our investment partners has designed the following short guide to provide you with further information on why SRI investing may be for you.  If you would like to know more, please just contact us directly.

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Feeling rattled by the markets? Consider yourself normal!

The markets so far this year have left many feeling rattled.  In this guest blog Tim Noonan (author of Someday Rich) provides some insights to help calm investors that are worried.

The main thing to remember is that everyone feels rattled by the markets so far this year – so consider yourself normal!  When the markets get messy, as they are currently, it’s generally because investors lose confidence in their ability to clearly see the future.

Loss of confidence in the markets has been created by a general distrust of both the durability of economic growth in China (plus, frankly, a low level prejudice that the Chinese government isn’t the most objective and trustworthy source of information about the Chinese economy!). This has been compounded by investor confusion on how to interpret dramatic reductions in oil prices – optimists see in it a discount at the pump and therefore a buoyed consumer; pessimists see in it slumping revenues from the energy sector and higher junk bond defaults from idealistic entrepreneurs washing out. Can they both be right?

Finally – and most meaningfully, there is a legitimate concern that the long run of record corporate profits might be nearing its apex.

Typically, what we expect to see from this is an overreaction (look: the market is already coming back to its senses…). The key is to remember that investing for any one market environment successfully requires a crystal ball.   If you haven’t got one, spread your bets.  The diversified client is a smart client – one who knows that winning is a balance of getting it right and not get getting it all wrong over a long period of time. 

Remember that although these market changes feel exceptional, they are in fact fairly ordinary. ‘Corrections’ invariably are amplified, messy and indiscriminate. Therefore investment strategies that work across cycles rather than within cycles are to be preferred, if the investor would like balance and relative calm. This is why sophisticated forms of diversification are desirable: not to maximise return in any one cycle, but to maximise the opportunity for success across many cycles. 

And that is exactly how we invest for our clients. We firmly believe that if you are taking the long term view with your portfolio, and you do hold a diversified range of assets, then you really do not need to be concerned or take any action at this time, despite all the media attention.  However, if you have concerns and would like to speak to us about your portfolio then please just get in touch.