Blog - Page 4 of 9 - Harley Financial Services Ltd

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.

Market Volatility

We have had a small number of calls from clients asking what they should do in light of the current stock market turbulence.  The short answer for the vast majority is do nothing. 

Virtually all of our clients are invested in diversified portfolios which include a wide range of assets.  When we build these portfolios we expect periods of increased volatility and they are factored in to our long term projections.  We know there will be periods when portfolios fall in value, just as there will be periods when they will increase significantly.  It is a combination of these up and down periods that leads to higher investment returns than deposit accounts over the longer term.

It is therefore simply a case of remaining calm and keeping in mind that you have invested your capital for your long term future.  Even if your portfolio is showing a decreased value at this time, it only becomes a real loss if you cash in at that point.  This is a common mistake with many investors and one of the main benefits of working with us is that part of our role is managing investor behaviour, so we will do everything within our power to ensure you don’t make such a costly error.

We have also taken a few calls from existing and new clients keen to add more to their portfolios at this time.  Given the recent drop in equity and oil prices it could of course be a very opportune time for moving more of your capital into your portfolio.  However, it is also worth keeping in mind that this volatility is likely to continue for some time yet.  

Hopefully this will allay any concerns you may have and you can simply ignore all the noise in the media.  However, if you still have concerns, or if you want to add to your portfolio, then please just give us a call or drop us an email.


Essential building maintenance

Please note we are having major building work carried out at our office for one week from 28/01/16. Although this will result in significant disruption and mess within the office, our phone lines and IT systems will be fully maintained during this period.  We would therefore encourage any clients that need to contact us during that period to use the phone or email rather than coming into the office.

Thank you

Merry Christmas & Best Wishes for 2016

Please note that our office will close at 4pm on 23rd December and will be closed throughout the festive period.  We will open again at 9am on Tuesday 5th January.

Office Christmas Party

Please note our office will close at 1pm this Friday (18th Dec) for our Christmas party. We will be open again at 9am on Monday 21st.

Government review of financial advice market

Once again the financial advice market is under scrutiny from the Government with more tinkering on the horizon.  There has already been wholesale change in the market over recent years with many different Government initiatives having been introduced, some of which have actually made a positive difference.  However, the vast majority of these changes have not improved the situation for the consumer, and in many cases they have actually made it worse.

The attached article appeared in the Mail on Sunday last week and is one of the best articles we have seen from a journalist covering financial advice.  It is a short article and cuts straight to the bottom line, letting you as consumers know what is actually going on and how it may impact on you.

There are also some hand written notes on the article from Ken Davy, who has over four decades as an eminent and respected figure in the financial services profession.

Hopefully this may be the start of a fight back from our profession, backed by support from the more informed in the media.  However, it is a fight that can only be won if you as a consumer also make your voice heard.  If you value the relationship you have with your financial planner, then I would encourage you to let the regulator know about it.

Douglas Harley

Click below for:

Mail on Sunday article

Let the taxman help pay for your life cover

If you’re a company director and you have life cover to protect your family, you could be paying more tax than you need to.

Relevant life policies are a way of providing death-in-service benefits on an individual basis no matter how small your business is. They could suit higher paid directors, business owners and other employees who want high levels of life cover, with the tax benefits that normally only apply to large group schemes.

What are the benefits?

Although the company makes the payments, they’re not treated as a benefit in kind, so they wouldn’t be included in your income tax assessments. This can be a significant saving, particularly for a higher rate taxpayer.

Unlike a registered group scheme, the benefit won’t form part of your annual or lifetime pension allowance.

These payments may be treated as an allowable expense for the company in calculating its tax liability.

Having benefits paid through a trust makes sure they can’t be taxed as part of the company’s trading income, nor do they form part of the company’s assets.

Using a trust also makes sure that in most circumstances benefits are paid free of both income tax and inheritance tax.

If you are interested in finding out if this type of plan may be suitable for you, please just get in touch with us.

Employment opportunity

UPDATE AT 22/10/15: This position has now been filled. Thanks for all the applications.


We are looking for a motivated individual to join our team as an Office Administrator.  See link below for details.

Administrator job advert

Top Rated Financial Planner

We are very pleased to announce that Douglas Harley, our Managing Director and Chartered Financial Planner, has once again been shortlisted to appear in the national press later this month as one of the Top Rated Financial Planners in the UK.

Market Volatility

The past few weeks have seen increased volatility and sell-offs across global markets. Emerging markets bore the brunt initially, as growing concerns over the economic slowdown in China put a downward pressure on commodity markets and emerging market currencies. Developed markets then subsequently followed suit, with European and Japanese equities falling over 15% from their levels in mid-August.

So what’s causing this?

Investor concern about China has been a key driver of recent volatility from markets selling-off. It has been apparent that the Chinese economy is going through a difficult adjustment period as it transitions from a global manufacturing powerhouse to a consumer-led growth model. This does not happen overnight, but recent turbulence in the China A share market, a modest devaluation of the Renminbi exchange rate and disappointing data on exports and industrial activity, have all raised concerns that a ‘hard landing’ is underway.

So what’s next?

Sell-offs of this magnitude can solicit a variety of responses, from panic to euphoria, depending on your perspective. In order to maintain a level head at such times it is important to adhere to a disciplined investment process and not run for cover at the first sign of turbulence. As always, our own investment partners across the world will closely monitor and appraise market conditions as they unfold with a view to ensuring our clients diversified portfolios are well positioned to deal with whatever happens next.

If you do have any concerns about your portfolio then please just get in touch with us.