James Edgedale, Chairman
Since the last edition of Prospects, the political situation in the UK has calmed down significantly and I anticipate relative calm for the next five years in this regard.
We will of course find out more about the government’s spending plans during the budget.The (very) new Chancellor, with nearly five years to go before the next election and a good majority, has a clear mandate to make changes and it will be very interesting to see what happens. We will of course get an idea as to his vision as ideas are leaked to the press to see what the reactions are, some of which could be more radical than others.
In the US we have a presidential election later in the year and it is worth remembering that they have seen constant growth in the economy and markets for some time, and therefore I think we are due some form of slowdown in the US economy, which will undoubtedly feed through to the market.
However, I remain reasonably optimistic on the outlook for the medium term, in spite of the risks caused by the spread of the Coronavirus. If the outbreak is contained and the infection rate starts to fall, I would hope that the global economy would return to the pattern that was starting to emerge at the end of 2019 in terms of a gentle improvement in economic data. Interest rates have weakened further over the last 12 months and with the first stage of a US/China trade deal agreed, conditions should be slowly improving, once markets have settled down. I have seen several corrections in the past and it is impossible to say how far the markets will fall but, in my view, it is always correct to remain invested in quality investments and not panic.
As ever, we have brought a variety of topics to bear in these pages with some interesting insights about meat substitutes from one of our younger analysts, alongside an article about the mistakes many investors make from a more experienced author. Investors invariably make mistakes and the trick in my view is to be able to detach yourself emotionally from a stock that might be underperforming – a harder thing to do when you are investing your own money on your own instincts.
Planning for our financial futures is a common theme in conversations I have with clients and I am delighted that we have hired another experienced wealth planner to join our growing team. I would encourage readers to approach their investment managers to arrange a meeting with one of our wealth planners to discuss any potential planning needs they, or their families have. As discussed in the article on page 20 the sooner investors start thinking about their financial futures the better positioned they should be when they need to rely on their savings. Education about financial planning is such an important part of what we do so we would love to hear from the younger generations about the issues they are facing and we would be delighted to share our various publications with them in our effort to further financial independence.