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The Importance of Diversification in Investment Portfolios

The Importance of Diversification in Investment Portfolios

 

Overview
In the world of investing, there is a famous saying: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
This simple yet profound advice truly encapsulates the meaning of diversification.
Diversification is a risk management strategy, that aims to spread investments across different asset classes, industries and geographical regions. By diversifying, investors can reduce their exposure to individual risks and increase their likelihood of achieving long-term financial goals. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of diversification in investment portfolios and explore the benefits it has to offer.

Minimising Risk
One of the primary objectives of diversification is to minimise the overall risk associated with investing.

 

When you diversify your investment portfolio you are essentially spreading your investments across different assets. This means that if one investment performs poorly, the impact on your overall portfolio will be mitigated by the positive performance of other investments. For example, let’s say you are an investor holding a portfolio composed of your favourite technology companies. If the technology sector experienced a significant downturn, your entire portfolio could suffer substantial losses. However, by diversifying your investment selection across a variety of sectors such as finance, consumer goods and healthcare you can cushion the impact of any sector-specific volatility that might occur.

Capitalisation on Different Market Conditions
Diversification allows investors to capitalise on different market conditions. Asset classes can perform differently under various economic circumstances. For example, stocks may perform well during periods of economic growth, while bonds and commodities may provide investors with the stability needed during periods of economic downturn. By selecting a mix of asset classes for their portfolio investors can take advantage of opportunities across different markets and benefit from their variety of performance cycles. The following approach can help smooth out the overall portfolio volatility and enhance the chances of achieving consistent returns over the long run.

Protect Against Individual Stock Risk
Investing in individual stocks can carry inherent risks. Even the most well-researched and
optimistic stocks can experience shocks and unexpected setbacks. This could include regulator issues, management disagreements or industrial disruptions. If a substantial proportion of your portfolio is invested in a single stock, the consequences of such events can be devastating to its performance. This is when diversification can help mitigate the shocks by reducing exposure to individual stock performance. By investing in a broad range of stocks from different industries, different geographical regions and companies of various sizes. Investors can help to distribute the associated risk of investing in a single stock. Even if a few of the chosen stocks underperform, the impact on the overall performance of the portfolio will be limited.

Enhancing Portfolio Stability
A portfolio that has been well-diversified tends to exhibit greater stability and smoother
performance over the long run. Including non-correlated assets such as bonds, real
estate or commodities can help reduce the overall volatility associated with the portfolio.
When stocks are under pressure during a market downturn assets like bonds or gold often act as a hedge providing stability and preserving investor capital. Having a stable portfolio is vital for investors with a low-risk tolerance or for those
approaching retirement. Diversification can minimise the potential for large swings in their portfolio values providing investors with a more predictable income stream and greater peace of mind.

Long-Term Growth Potential
Diversification is not only about risk reduction. It also offers long-term growth potential. By spreading investment across different asset classes investors can capture opportunities in different sectors and markets. Over time the compounding effect of growth in various investments can lead to substantial portfolio appreciation.
Furthermore, diversification enables investors to adapt to changing market conditions and capitalise on emerging trends. Whilst being open and exposed to an array of industries and geographical regions, investors can position themselves to benefit from significant growth within sectors while minimising the impact associated with sectors that could underperform.

Tips for Diversification
● Over-Diversification: Spreading investments too thin can limit returns and hinder market outperformance. Additionally, too many diversified assets in a portfolio can lead to higher management costs and lower returns.

● Lack of Research: Blindly investing without understanding assets’ fundamentals can lead to poor decisions

● High Transaction Costs: Buying and selling asset incurs fees that may outweigh the benefits of diversification

● Inadequate Portfolio Monitoring: Neglecting regular review and adjustment can
undermine diversification’s benefits

● Complexity and Time Commitment: Managing a highly diversified portfolio can
be complex and time consuming

● Market Fluctuations: Diversification doesn’t guarantee protection during market downturns or crises

Conclusion
Diversification is fundamental principle in investment portfolio management. By spreading investments across different asset classes, industries and geographical regions. Investors can mitigate risk, capitalise on different market conditions and protect
against individual stock risk.

Remember, the key to diversification is balance and periodic portfolio rebalancing to maintain the desired asset allocation. Consult with a financial advisor to develop a diversified portfolio that aligns with your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Embrace the power of diversification and set yourself on the path to long-term investment success.

Written by: James Croker

Date: 25 May 2023

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June Webinar: Pension Legislation Changes

On the 22nd June, Catriona McCarron, one of our trusted Financial Advisers, will be hosting a webinar on “Pension Legislation Changes”.

The Spring Budget came at a time of significant economic change for the UK one of the biggest topics being the changes made surrounding Pensions! 

Allow Cat to explain what these mean and what the future could hold as a result that may have an effect on individuals’ financial planning. She hopes to give you a better understanding of what options are available to you to and answer and questions or queries!

 

WHAT WILL BE COVERED:

  • A review of lifetime allowance changes since April 6th and considerations on what the future could hold ·     

  • Increases to the pension annual allowance for employer and employee savings ·       

  • Merits of pension planning in a world of lower capital gains and dividend allowances

  • In depth Q& A Session

Join Catriona on the 22nd June for 45 minutes to 1 hour to get a better understanding of how the recent legislation changes may affect your personal financial planning.

Please email info@ascotwm.com for any questions.

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Ascot Wealth Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority reference 551744. Our registered office: Scotch Corner, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 0ER. Registered in England No. 7428363. www.ascotwm.com Unless otherwise stated, the information in this document was valid on 3rd February 2017. Not all the services and investments described are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Tax, trust and company administration services are not authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The services described may not be suitable for all and you should seek appropriate advice. This document is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purpose or sale of any financial instrument by Ascot Wealth Management Limited. The information and opinions expressed herein are considered valid at publication, but are subject to change without notice and their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without prior permission. © 2017 Ascot Wealth Management Ltd. Please note: This website uses cookies. To continue to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. 

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3 Reasons Why I Love Saving Money

3 Reasons Why I Love Saving Money

Saving money is a habit that can have a profound impact on our lives. It not only provides us with financial security but also allows us to achieve our long-term goals and live a more fulfilling life. In this article, we will explore three reasons why saving money is something to love and embrace.

Financial Security:

One of the primary reasons why I love saving money is the sense of financial security it brings. Life is full of unexpected events and expenses, such as medical emergencies, car repairs, or sudden job loss. By having a solid savings cushion, I can navigate these uncertainties without feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Knowing that I have a safety net in place provides me with peace of mind and a sense of control over my financial situation.

 

Having savings also enables me to handle unexpected opportunities that may arise. Whether it’s a chance to invest in a promising business venture or seize a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity,
having money saved up allows me to take advantage of these situations without resorting to debt or sacrificing other financial obligations.

Freedom and Flexibility:
Saving money provides me with the freedom and flexibility to make choices that align with my values and priorities. It allows me to break free from the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and live life on
my own terms. For instance, having savings gives me the option to pursue a career change, start my own business, or take a sabbatical to explore personal interests. Without the financial burden of living paycheck to paycheck, I can take risks and pursue opportunities that can lead to personal and professional growth. Moreover, saving money gives me the flexibility to make conscious spending decisions. I can indulge
in occasional splurges without guilt, knowing that I have a solid financial foundation. I can also allocate funds towards experiences that bring me joy, such as travel, hobbies, or supporting causes I care about. Saving money allows me to strike a balance between enjoying the present and planning for the future.

Long-Term Goals and Financial Independence:

Saving money is a vital step towards achieving long-term goals and attaining financial independence. Whether it’s buying a home, starting a family, retiring early, or pursuing higher education, having savings is crucial to turning these aspirations into reality. By consistently saving and investing, I can accumulate the necessary funds to achieve these milestones. Saving money allows me to build wealth over time. By investing wisely and taking advantage of compound interest, I can grow my savings and generate additional income. This wealth accumulation can provide a sense of freedom and security, enabling me to have more control over my financial future and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Conclusion:
Saving money is not just about being frugal or depriving ourselves of immediate gratification. It offers numerous benefits that enhance our financial well-being and overall quality of life. From providing financial security and freedom to helping us achieve long-term goals, saving money is a
habit that deserves our love and attention. By embracing the power of saving, we can create a brighter and more prosperous future for ourselves.

Written by: Greg Armstrong

Date: 10/05/2023

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The Benefits of working with a Financial advisor

The Benefits of working with a Financial Advisor

Making smart financial decisions is key to building wealth and securing a comfortable future. However, navigating the complex world of finance can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a background in economics or finance. That’s where a financial advisor comes in. Here are some of the top benefits of using a financial advisor.

Objective Advice – One of the biggest benefits of using a financial advisor is their ability to provide you with objective advice. Unlike friends or family members who may have their own biases and personal opinions, financial advisors have no emotional attachment to your finances. They can provide you with unbiased, professional advice based on your specific financial situation.

 

 

Customised Strategies – Everyone’s financial situation is unique, which is why financial advisors work with their clients to create customised financial strategies. These strategies take into account your current financial situation, your goals, your risk tolerance, and other factors that are specific to you. By tailoring their advice to your needs, financial advisors can help you achieve your financial goals more effectively.

Investment Management – Investing can be a powerful tool for building wealth, but it can also be complex and risky. Financial advisors can help you navigate the world of investing by providing guidance on which investments may be right for you, how to diversify your portfolio, and how to manage risk. They can also help you avoid common mistakes that many novice investors make, such as investing too heavily in a single stock or failing to rebalance their portfolio regularly.

Tax Planning – Taxes can have a significant impact on your financial situation, and financial advisors can help you minimise your tax liability by creating tax-efficient investment strategies. They can also help you navigate the complex world of tax laws and regulations, ensuring that you stay in compliant while maximising your tax benefits.

Retirement Planning – Retirement planning is a critical component of financial planning, and financial advisors can help you develop a comprehensive retirement plan that takes into account your current financial situation, your retirement goals, and your expected retirement expenses. They can also help you navigate the various retirement accounts and investment options available to you, ensuring that you make the most of your retirement savings.

Financial Education – Financial advisors can be excellent sources of financial education. They can help you understand complex financial concepts, and they can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to make informed financial decisions. By working with a financial advisor, you can develop a deeper understanding of finance and become more confident in your ability to manage your finances effectively.

In conclusion, a financial advisor can be an invaluable resource for anyone looking to build wealth, achieve financial goals, and secure their financial future. With their objective advice, customised strategies, investment management, tax planning, retirement planning, and financial education, financial advisors can help you make the most of your financial resources and achieve your financial goals. If you’re looking to take control of your finances and make smart financial decisions, consider working with a financial advisor today. We can be contacted by phone – 01344 851250 – or by email – enquiries@ascotwm.com.

Written by: Michael Morris

Date: 05/05/2023

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Top 5 Money Mistakes Millennials Make and How To Avoid Them

Top 5 Money Mistakes Millennials Make and How To Avoid Them

Being a millennial myself and growing up in a rapidly changing world, it is clear that it can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. We have access to technology that our parents could only dream of, but at the same time we face a unique set of financial challenges.

From student loans to a tough job market, there are clear financial obstacles in the way of preventing financial freedom. Having asked around the office, listed below are the 5 money mistakes millennials make and how to avoid them.

Not Saving Enough

One of the biggest money mistakes made is not saving enough. Many millennials are focused on paying off debt or living in the moment, so they don’t think about saving for the future. However, this mindset can lead to a lot of financial stress down the road.

To avoid this mistake, it is essential to start saving early and make it a habit. Even if it’s just a small amount each month, it will add up over time. Setting up automatic savings transfers can also be helpful.

 

Not Investing

Another mistake made is not investing. Many millennials are afraid of the stock market or don’t think they have enough money or knowledge to invest sensibly. However, not investing can mean missing out on potential long-term gains.

To avoid this mistake, millennials should educate themselves on investing and start small. It is important to remember that investing is a long-term strategy, and it’s important to stay invested even when the market fluctuates.

Overspending on Lifestyle

The social media lifestyle of travel, dining out, and entertainment can add up quickly. One of the most mentioned mistakes was living beyond one’s means, to impress others with things that we can’t actually afford

To avoid overspending on lifestyle, a good start is to set a budget and prioritise spending. It’s okay to splurge on experiences, but it’s important to balance it with savings and investing.

 

Taking on Too Much Debt

With the rising cost of living, millennials are also dealing with record levels of student loan debt, but many are also taking on too much credit card debt. It’s easy to get caught up in the instant gratification of buying things on credit, but it can lead to a lot of financial stress along the line.

To avoid taking on too much debt, put a focus on paying off high-interest debt first and avoiding unnecessary purchases. It’s also key to avoid taking on more debt than you can afford to pay off.

Not Having a Plan

Finally, one of the overlooked mistakes is not having a financial plan. Many of us are focused on the short-term and don’t think about the long-term financial goals.

To avoid this mistake, take the time to create a financial plan. This can include setting financial goals, creating a budget, and investing for the future. It’s important to regularly review and adjust the plan as circumstances change.

Written by: George Kemp

Date: 28/04/2023

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Cash Savings Review: April 2023

Cash Savings Review: April 2023

 

With high inflation raging on, some economists are predicting another interest rate rise for the UK on May 11th . The Bank of England is using interest rate hikes as an attempt to control inflation, aiming to get inflation back to a target of 2% from the 10.1% reported in March 2023. A high interest rate environment can be damaging for mortgage holders, but gives opportunity for savers to yield an interest on their cash whilst guaranteeing Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection up to £85,000 as an individual account holder.

Given the rise in interest rates now is a good time to consider where you house your savings, and associated tax planning you should be aware of.

 

Below is a list of the highest yielding savings accounts for UK investors:

Chip Easy Access – 3.55% per annum
Family Building Society Easy Access – 3.40% per annum
Oaknorth Bank 1 Year Fixed – 4.57% per annum
Al Rayan Bank 18 Month Fixed – 4.57% per annum
Smart Save Bank 2 Year Fixed – 4.61% per annum

The interest yielded from any personal savings will be taxable under income tax legislation. For basic
rate tax payers there is a £1,000 personal savings allowance, £500 for higher rate and £0 for additional rate. If interest pushes you into the next tax bracket your rights to the allowance will reduce. Interest for all savings accounts is paid gross, and is then taxable on self-assessment. Households with earners in different tax brackets should therefore consider whose name savings are in thanks to the risk of taxation.

An alternative option to traditional savings as per the above is Premium Bonds. Premium bonds offer tax free interest by way of prizes, ranging between £25 and £1,000,000. The average interest rate for premium bonds is 3.3% per annum. Premium bonds are capped at £50,000 per person; however interest is completely tax free. Assuming a basic rate tax payer has £50,000 in premium bonds their 3.3% would yield them £1,650 tax free. Comparing this to £50,000 in a savings account at 3.55% easy access, they would get £1,620 in interest  after tax. A higher rate tax payer would yield £1,265 after tax. Premium bonds are therefore a really good easy access savings option for higher rate tax payers specifically, thanks to their tax free nature. At present a higher rate tax payer would need to yield 4.85% per annum to beat a 3.3% prize equivalent interest rate on a premium bond.

ISAs are another good way to remove the risk of interest being taxed. In 2023/24 you can save a maximum of £20,000 into an ISA, which can be cash, stocks & shares or innovative finance focused.You can split the £20,000 across multiple strategies, but cannot breach this limit per tax year. Note you can transfer legacy ISAs into new ISAs without this impacting the current year’s allowance.
Below are the highest yielding Cash ISAs available on the market a date of writing:

Cynergy Bank Easy Access – 3.28% per annum
Gatehouse Bank 1 Year Fixed Rate – 4.2% per annum
Close Brothers Savings 2 Year Fixed Rate – 4.28% per annum

If you were comfortable tying up £20,000 with Gatehouse yielding 4.2%, as a basic rate tax payer you’d be saving £168 in tax and higher rate £336 (assuming no savings allowance is available).

Written by: Catriona McCarron

Date: 20th April 2023

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Managing money in retirement

Managing money in retirement

When approaching retirement, we all want to make sure that we won’t run out of money during our retired years. After all the years of working, this is the time to spend the money on what we enjoy and go on the holidays we have always wanted to go on. But sometimes unexpected costs occur, putting a stop to these plans. This can be seen through the events of this past winter, with an increase in the cost of living, causing more people to hold onto their money rather than spending.

The way people retire has changed over the past few decades. Rather than working full time one week to entering full retirement the next, many pensioners prefer to enter phased retirement, decreasing their work hours and making a slow transition.

 

This can be useful to get a feel of how much they are likely to spend in retirement. If their goals are looking unaffordable, they may decide to keep up their part time working hours for longer than they originally intended. The best way to determine if retirement is affordable for you is to have a plan, and to make sure that plan is sustainable in a number of different scenarios.

Many people face financial difficulties leading up to and during retirement which can cause a lot of stress, and prevents some people from looking at their retirement prospects all together because it is too stressful! There are many reasons why people run out of money in retirement; the main reasons are explained below

 Insufficient Savings: One of the primary reasons people run out of money in retirement is that they didn’t save enough during their working years. Many people don’t start saving for retirement until later in life or don’t save enough.

 Market Downturns: Another reason why people run out of money in retirement is that the market downturns can reduce the value of their investments. This can happen if you are heavily invested in stocks, which can be volatile

 Unexpected Expenses: Medical emergencies, home repairs, and other unexpected expenses can quickly eat up retirement savings, leaving retirees with little to live on.

Longevity: People are living longer than ever, which means they need more money to support themselves in retirement.

Although the outlook can sometimes look worrying, there are some things you can do to help prevent running out of money in retirement including:

Start Saving Early: The best way to prevent running out of money in retirement is to start saving early.

Diversify Investments: Diversifying your investments can help reduce the risk of losing money due to market downturns. This means spreading your money across different types of investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

 Create a Retirement Budget: Creating a budget for your retirement years can help you control your spending and avoid overspending. Be sure to factor in all your expenses and leave room for unexpected costs.

 Delay Retirement: If you’re not financially ready to retire, consider delaying retirement. This will give you more time to save and reduce the number of years you’ll need to support yourself in retirement.

Running out of money in retirement is a common problem, but it’s not inevitable. By taking the right steps to save and manage your money, you can avoid this uncertainty. Remember to start saving early, diversify your investments, create a retirement budget, and consider delaying retirement or taking on part-time work if necessary. With the right planning and preparation, you can enjoy a comfortable and worry-free retirement. You can speak to a financial advisor to help you make all the relevant preparations to help you enjoy your well-earned retirement.

Written by: Jemma Long

Date: 14 April 2023

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Webinar: Capital Gains

 

On the 18th May, Global Wealth Manager Greg Armstrong, , will be hosting a webinar on “Capital Gains”. 

Webinars are a fantastic way to gain knowledge and insights from industry experts, without having to leave your home or office!

Whether you’re new to investing or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s always more to learn about how to make the most of your investments. By attending our webinar on capital gains, you can gain valuable knowledge and insights that will help you achieve your financial goals.

 

 

WHAT WILL BE COVERED:

  • What is capital gains

  • How is capital gain Tax calculated.

  • How to avoid capital gains tax

  • How to use capital gains to your advantage

  • How do the capital gains tax changes affect you?

Join Greg on the 18th of May for 45 minutes to 1 hour to get a better understanding of  capital gains.

Please email info@ascotwm.com for any questions.

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Ascot Wealth Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority reference 551744. Our registered office: Scotch Corner, London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 0ER. Registered in England No. 7428363. www.ascotwm.com Unless otherwise stated, the information in this document was valid on 3rd February 2017. Not all the services and investments described are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Tax, trust and company administration services are not authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The services described may not be suitable for all and you should seek appropriate advice. This document is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purpose or sale of any financial instrument by Ascot Wealth Management Limited. The information and opinions expressed herein are considered valid at publication, but are subject to change without notice and their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. No part of this document may be reproduced in any manner without prior permission. © 2017 Ascot Wealth Management Ltd. Please note: This website uses cookies. To continue to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. 

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5 smart ways to pay off credit card debt

5 smart ways to pay off credit card debt

 

Credit card debt can be a major financial burden that can quickly spiral out of control if not managed properly. With high interest rates and late payment fees, it’s easy to get caught in a cycle of debt that can take years to pay off. However, there are several smart ways to pay off credit card debt that can help you get out of debt faster and save you money in the long run. Here are five smart ways to pay off credit card debt.

Create a budget and stick to it 

One of the most important steps in paying off credit card debt is to create a budget and stick to it. Start by listing all your monthly expenses, including your credit card payments. Then, look for areas where you can cut back on expenses and redirect those funds towards paying off your credit card debt. This may mean cutting back on non-essential expenses like dining out or entertainment, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Use the snowball method


The snowball method is a popular debt repayment strategy that involves paying off your smallest debts first and then
working your way up to your larger debts. Start by making the minimum payment on all your credit cards except for the one with the smallest balance. Put as much money as you can towards that card until it is paid off, then move on to the card with the next smallest balance. This method helps you gain momentum as you see your debts disappearing one by one.

Consider a balance transfer

A balance transfer can be a smart way to pay off credit card debt if you have high-interest credit card debt. A balance transfer involves moving your credit card debt to a new credit card with a lower interest rate. This can help you save money on interest and pay off your debt faster. However, its important to read the terms and conditions carefully before
making a balance transfer, as there may be fees and restrictions. A lot banks provide interest free periods which can be
taken advantage off to help ease the burden.

Negotiate with your credit card company


If you’re struggling to make your credit card payments, its worth contacting your credit card company to see if they can offer you a lower interest rate or a payment plan. Many credit card companies are willing to work with you if you’re experiencing financial hardship. Its important to be honest about your situation and to come up with a realistic repayment plan that you can stick to.

Seek professional help


If you’re struggling to pay off your credit card debt on your own, it may be worth seeking professional help. A financial
advisor or credit counsellor can help you create a debt repayment plan and offer advice on how to manage your finances. They may also be able to negotiate with your credit card company on your behalf and help you avoid bankruptcy.

In conclusion, paying off credit card debt can be a daunting task, but its not impossible. By creating a budget, using the
snowball method, considering a balance transfer, negotiating with your credit card company, and seeking professional help if needed, you can take control of your finances and become debt-free. Remember, the key to paying off credit card debt is
to stay committed and consistent in your efforts.

 

Written by: Manjinder Badyal

Date: 11/04/2023

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A Day in the life of an Investment Analyst.

A day in the life of an Investment Analyst

Although office hours start at 08:00, in reality the working day begins as my head comes off the pillow at 05:45. Immediately a quick flick across the morning news is in order to make sure that I have an opportunity to start my day informed and any stories of particular interest are “starred” for a more in-depth reading later on. Before I leave for the office I look at my email inbox and reply to any that can be replied to quickly or ask for more information to make sure that we all work effectively as soon as the office opens.
 

The commute consists normally of listening to various podcasts. I often listen to ones which are political or historical in nature. Why? Because (1) the investment world likes to think that everyone in the world is rational, when put simply, they aren’t. (2) Understanding the historical context behind global issues often helps you understand current crises (Ukraine currently being a great example).

08:00 – Investment Team Meeting

My early morning reading has already earned dividends. The hot current affairs item of the week is turning out to be the issues around Credit Suisse (CS) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Through my reading and my academic background (Finance & Investment Banking), I am able to inform the team that although the timing around both banks’ issues is close together, they have arisen for different reasons. With everyone’s input, we conclude that although there is strain in the banking sector due to individual banks’ poor liquidity-and-risk management, the downfall of CS and SVB will not cause systemic risk of crisis within the banking sector.
 
The meetings on the whole discuss current affairs & macroeconomic views, Fund Manager meetings, market news and upcoming economic events (such as Central Bank meetings). Everyone has settled into specialisms, though we give our input into all areas and we make sure we cross over every now and then to make sure we stay up to date. Shingirai specialising in Fund Managers and Market news, with myself specialising on current affairs and economics. 
 
It is always an interesting meeting as we have naturally different investment styles matching our personalities; as a result, there is often a healthy debate on current investment matters but we almost always end up with a consensus view.
 
09:15 – Actions from Team Meeting
The Credit Suisse debacle has crossed over the two other parts of my role (Structured Products leader & Automation Lead). I have been working on an automation coding project which collects all the valuations of our assets under our management at as near to live as possible. Credit Suisse had been a large counterparty of Structured Products in the past and, although our initial assessment was that the holders of these products are not at risk, it was important that we could identify holders of these investments to inform them of our position. Fortunately, I was near completion on this automation and we discovered that no clients held Structured Products whereby Credit Suisse was a counterparty.
 
Regardless, I used the opportunity to demonstrate to advisory staff the benefits in our Due Diligence process on these, as it had flagged Credit Suisse as one being “below average” in terms of preferred counterparty several years ago.
 
11:15 – Loan Appraisal
Myself and Mark manage a Loan Portfolio Company, Summerwood Place, on behalf of a group of clients. It has been an interesting 6 weeks for the company as we have had a large spate of unplanned redemptions which resulted in us having a large amount of cash unallocated to loans and therefore not earning interest.
 
I had received a direct enquiry from a platform intermediary asking whether I would like exclusive access to a loan opportunity. Immediately I go to work putting the proposal through our Due Diligence process. Although the proposer has included their own Due Diligence pack and valuation report from a RICS Chartered Surveyor, it is incredibly important that we go beyond this and verify its claims to draw our own conclusion. As this is a property backed loan, I compare yields on the underlying security to its comparables recently sold in auctions as well as market benchmarks before looking at the prospective lender’s credit report and the Land Registry Title. Finally, there is the aspect of a more subjective nature in the market forecast. These are multi-year agreements and although the security may be good now, does it look like it will be in 5 years time? After further discussion with the platform to clarify several points, the loan is approved.
 
Although we have had a very large amount of unplanned redemptions in the last 6 weeks, we have worked very hard to reduce this figure but not slipping in our need to be diligent and create good risk-adjusted returns. I have been very pleased that we have become fully lent out again already. This helps the vehicle be more efficient than other methods and enhance returns for clients.
 
14:00 – Fund Manager Meeting
I always enjoy these, a well worked relationship results in little snippets of information that are hard to gather elsewhere. Like most bits of news that result in outperformance (or “positive Alpha”), they are often nuanced but important. A great example of this is actually in the notes that come out from Central Bank meetings where a single subtle word change can result somewhat in a changed market view.

It is important in these meetings to separate the emotion of whether the Fund Manager has done a good job of fulfilling their mandate, versus us as a team picking the correct mandate. This is important when we  analyse what aspect of our portfolio management is performing (in)correctly. For example, if the fund was underperforming the market, if this was due to the fund manager not picking well in its sector, we may look to replace it with another in the same sector. If the sector as a whole is underperforming, it will be a different prompt for us to look at different market sectors.

Post meeting, it is important that I immediately write up my notes and send them around to all stakeholders. You just know that if you leave it till later in the day, you’ll forget that one nuanced point that you really wanted to bring up in the next meeting!
 
16:00 – Day/Week ahead planning
 
I always find it better to plan my day the day before rather than on-the-day. It helps us as a team be ahead of the news and perform best for our clients.
Looking at the next couple of days, I am reminded that both the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England are meeting to decide their policy rates. Always an interesting series of days.
I double check the data-points that have come out over the last few days to review our forecasts, although we maintain these (It later turns out that these were accurate).
I reply to a series of emails from advisory staff asking for the team opinion on Credit Suisse/Silicon Valley Bank along with other matters. I really enjoy this aspect of my role in informing people of what is going on. We can go into the fine detail of aspects that aren’t necessarily appropriate to put in a news bulletin and also put a degree of personal opinion in. importantly though, it makes sure that we, as a team, are on top of topics on a broad basis rather than just the immediate headline.
Then, it’s time to head home, knowing that we are well prepared for another exciting day tomorrow.

Written by: Sam Hallett

Date: 30th March 2023

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