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Working with an Investment Manager

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My recent presentation that I gave in February was undertaken with the aim of providing some advice to members of Severn Valley Business Group in regard to the markets and to investing in stocks and shares in general.  Whilst markets have moved on, possibly for the worse, the advice still remains as relevant as ever.

Most people in the UK will be affected by the ups and downs of stock markets to a lesser or greater degree primarily through their pensions or the companies that they work for.  It is more important than ever that we all understand how markets might react to events such as Brexit and more recently to the horrendous nerve agent poisoning as well as the developing trade war between China and USA.  Simply put the value of an individual share of a company could fail as we have seen with Carillion or more recently with Facebook or benefited hugely like Fevertree (the tonic maker).

My presentation as seen by opening the link below goes some way to providing some information about who I work for and what I do.  Regardless of whether anyone is interested in using me as their investment manager it should be obvious that taking financial advice given the current climate is as important as ever.

Please feel free to call me on my mobile 07711 710 628 or send an email to me at Rupert.harvey@redmayne.co.uk if you or someone you know would like to talk about investments or the markets.

Let’s hope that ‘the Beast from the East III’ is mild over the weekend?  Happy Easter.

Working with an Investment Manager – SVBG – 16 February 2018

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Geopolitical concerns set to rule in “crabbish” 2018

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I thought that I should provide everyone with some thoughts on what is possibly in store for investors in 2018.  I have therefore decided to provide an insight into what investment managers are thinking at Redmayne-Bentley.  Needless to say this is only their opinions but it will at least provide a basis for a conversation if anyone wishes to talk about investments with me.

It was predicted to be a year of global turbulence, yet 2017 saw markets power through the political noise as the Dow Jones rose nine months in a row and the FTSE 100 closed the year at a new high. Whilst global equities are expected to deliver further returns, subdued UK economic growth and ongoing Brexit negotiations are expected to hold back UK equity markets in the New Year, according to investment management and stockbroking firm Redmayne Bentley.

Key predictions:

  • The ‘crab’ is expected to rule the FTSE 100 for the third year running.
  • Overseas equities expected to see the most gains in 2018.
  • Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust named as the favoured FTSE 100 stock for the year ahead.
  • UK GDP growth expected to be below expectations.
  • US and emerging markets predicted to see most gains with UK equities seeing most losses.
  • Technology identified as favourite sector with retail named as area to avoid for the second year running.
  • Interest rates to meet analyst expectations, but inflation expected to rise above forecasts.

For the third consecutive year, investment managers and stockbrokers at the firm said they expected the movements of the FTSE 100 to be “crabbish” – that is, neither moving significantly upwards or downwards over the next 12 months. Investment manager Bill Keen said: “Geopolitical risk is likely to remain high. “Risks include the ever-quickening pace of technological change and re-emergence of serious tensions within the EU. A worse-than-expected slowdown in China would not be entirely a surprise.”

The majority expected economic growth to be below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s forecast of 3.7%. Interest rates are expected to remain at around 0.7%, the level mapped for the end of 2018 in the Bank of England’s latest Inflation Report. However, half of those surveyed said they believed inflation would rise above the Bank’s forecast of 2.3%. Technological advancement featured heavily in 2017, with the rise of cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the launch of electric vehicles amongst other innovations. Optimism is still strong around technology as it was named as the favoured investment theme for 2018. Furthermore, blockchain projects and artificial intelligence are just two technologies expected to continue their march forward during 2018. It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that technological advancement was named the top ‘bull’ issue for markets in 2018. However, more than 90% of those questioned said they believed the withdrawal of central bank stimulus would be among the “bear” issues expected to drag on markets in 2018. Investment manager Tony Oxley said: “’If we see global growth strengthen, I think stock markets will struggle as stimulus will be withdrawn. However, I do not see strong global growth. Alternatively, if it stays around current levels I think central banks will still do their best to normalise rates but it will take longer. The second half of 2018 may be a tough time due to this.”

The predictions put forward in this year’s survey were varied and it is worth bearing in mind that these are ideas, rather than recommendations to buy or sell shares in any investments or areas mentioned. Furthermore, investments, and income can fall as well as rise in value and you may lose some or all of the amount you have invested. The performance of the stocks and sectors mentioned, and forecasts for the year ahead, are not a reliable indicator of the future results or performance. Which asset class do you think will see the most gains during 2018?

 

Rank Asset class
1. Overseas equities 78%
2. UK equities 10%
3. Alternatives 8%
4. Cash 2%
5. Property 2%

Which equity market will see the most gains during 2018?

Rank Market
1. US 25%
2. Emerging markets 23%
3. Japan 21%
4. Asia-Pacific (exc. Japan) 13%
5= Europe 9%
5= UK 9%

Which equity market will see the most losses during 2018?

Rank Market
1. UK 37%
2. US 25%
3. Europe 17%
4. Emerging markets 12%
5. Japan 6%
6. Asia-Pacific 3%

Top ranking global Bull and Bear issues

Rank Bull % Rank Bear %
1. Technological advancements 92% 1. Withdrawal of central bank stimulus 92%
2. Chinese consumer growth 82% 2. Alternative Trump-related global crisis 65%
3. Stimulative Trump policy 75% 3. North Korea 63%

In general, how do you feel about the prospects for the UK economy in 2018?

Optimistic Neutral Pessimistic
17% 54% 29%

GDP Growth

Forecast: 3.7% (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)

Above expectations Meet expectations Below expectations
12% 21% 67%

Sterling/USD

Current Level: 1.3 (Nov 2017)                  

Above current level Remain the same Below current level
35% 37% 28%

Bank of England base rate

Forecast: 0.7%; current: 0.5%

Above expectations Meet expectations Below expectations
27% 56% 17%

House prices

Forecast: 2% increase (Countrywide)

Above expectations Meet expectations Below expectations
30% 35% 35%

Inflation

Forecast: 2.3% (Bank of England)

Above expectations Meet expectations Below expectations
50% 36% 14%

Wage growth

Forecast: 2% (CIPD)

Above expectations Meet expectations Below expectations
8% 50% 42%

Jobs/employment (ILO Unemployment Rate)

Forecast: 4.6%

Above expectations Meet expectations Below expectations
13% 66% 21%

Which three UK sectors do you expect to show the most growth in 2018 – and which are you going to avoid?

Rank Favoured Rank To avoid
1. Technology 77% 1. Retailers 75%
2. Pharmaceuticals 42% 2. Travel and leisure 58%
3. Banking 35% 3. Banking 33%
4. Oil and Gas 25% 4. Media 23%
5. Mining 23% 5. Mining 21%

How do you think the FTSE 100 will perform during 2018?

Bullish Bearish Crabbish
13% 30% 57%

Last year, 34% of those surveyed classed themselves as ‘bulls’, holding an optimistic view of the year ahead. This year, just 13% said they were bullish.

Despite the gloomy outlook, however, when asked how high the FTSE 100 would reach during 2018, respondents came back with an average predicted high of 7763. For 2018, the average predicted low point for the index is 6739.   The Favourite FTSE 100 Companies for 2018

Rank FTSE 100 Companies
1. Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust (SMT) 29%
2. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 17%
3= BT Group (BT.A) 13%
3= Imperial Brands (IMB) 13%

Favourite investment themes for 2018

Rank Theme
1 Technology 75%
2= Infrastructure 33%
2= Emerging market equities 33%
2= Inflation proofing 33%
3 Japanese equities 29%

I would of course be delighted to be contacted either by email at Rupert.harvey@redmayne.co.uk or my mobile 07711 710 628 should anyone wish to discuss either their investments or how to go about investing in the markets.  Finally, let’s hope that we all have a prosperous 2018.

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Thoughts on investments and stock markets

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Please find the latest quarterly newsletter from Redmayne-Bentley that might be of interest.  Areas that are covered within the newsletter include:

  • The great unwind – US interest rates v US equities.
  • Top Trades.
  • Do you need help with your investments?
  • The future for oil.
  • The early bird catches the worm.
  • Important information for clients.
  • FTSE Reshuffle
  • Hot property.

I would be very happy to answer any questions that you might have arising from reading the newsletter.

The Quarterly – Summer 2017

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Key changes to Making Tax Digital scheme announced

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HMRC has announced its revised plans for its Making Tax Digital scheme affecting businesses – and it seems to have listened to common sense.

MTD, as originally announced, came in for a barrage of criticism from accountants, tax experts, businesses, and politicians from all sides. It would have seen everyone turning over more than £10,000 forced to keep digital records and file quarterly returns, beginning next April.

The new announcement sees changes to which businesses are affected, when, and even which taxes it relates to. The key points of the revised scheme are:

  • MTD will only apply to VAT until at least 2020
  • Businesses below the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will be able to opt-in if they want but it won’t be compulsory – yet

The scheme will begin in April 2019. From that date, businesses over the annual registration threshold will have to keep digital records for VAT purposes, providing their VAT information to HMRC through MTD software.

MTD for VAT will be piloted using small-scale private testing towards the end of this year, with a larger live pilot next spring.

The Treasury says businesses with a turnover below the VAT threshold can choose to use MTD, and opt in for other taxes, ‘benefitting from a streamlined, digital experience’. It is not clear when this will be from.

It also says it will not extend MTD to other taxes until the scheme has been shown to be working well, or April 2020 at the earliest.

In my previous blogs on MTD, while arguing against the timescale and requirements, I pointed out that having up-to-date information really benefits businesses and day-to-day decision making.

So while many business owners will be happy to have dodged a bullet for now under these revised MTD rollout plans, the Treasury remains committed to a digital tax future. As it says, millions of businesses are already banking, paying bills, and interacting online. Digitising routine business tasks such as record keeping is the next step and is one many businesses have already taken.

For help and advice on record keeping, and how to get the most out of your accounts, contact us here at Altus.

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VAT changes are no April Fool’s joke

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matt-le-1127061st April sees what could be a significant change to the flat rate VAT scheme. It’s targeting what are being termed ‘limited cost traders’ – businesses where purchases of ‘goods’ are low. These are likely to be sole director/employee businesses, and in particular contractors providing services.

Small businesses can currently benefit from the ability to base their VAT liability, and therefore the amount of VAT they reclaim on purchases, on a fixed percentage depending on the nature of their business.

For many very small businesses this has meant a really quick and simple way to handle VAT and has seen some paying over less VAT than would have been the case under standard VAT accounting.

Changes were first mooted in the Autumn Statement, and we have been waiting to see the details before knowing how it would affect businesses. These details were finally revealed at the end of February.

The flat rate scheme remains in place but from 1st April a new higher rate (16.5%) is applicable to any business that is deemed to be a ‘limited cost trader’. The impact of this will be that for many the VAT flat rate scheme will no longer be beneficial.

You will be classed as a limited cost trader unless you have ‘goods’ in each VAT quarter of more than 2% of turnover (both calculated including VAT). You will also have to check each and every quarter whether this applies.

Goods are being defined as ‘moveable items or materials exclusively used in your business’. Critically for suppliers of services they do not include travel expenses, fuel, vehicle costs, telephone, rent, accountancy fees, training, memberships and also office equipment, computers and phones. This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the picture.

Clearly this excludes the vast majority of costs which many service businesses incur.

The options for a business caught by this change are:

1.      Continue with the flat rate scheme and apply the new higher percentage, which may not be beneficial

2.      If you are below the £83k VAT registration threshold then you could deregister for VAT

3.      Change over to standard accounting or cash accounting methods

The best option will vary on a business by business basis. If you are, or think you may be, affected by these changes, then please do get in touch, and we will be happy to talk it through with you.

 

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