Money Talks

EU Referendum – What now?


Brexit – What does it mean for my investments?

Following last week’s EU Referendum vote, there is a high level of uncertainty over what this will mean for the country on many levels.

To attempt to calm market fears, there have been statements made from the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney and this morning from George Osbourne.

At this time there is no clear understanding what leaving the EU will mean for investing in short term, but I believe that the long term nature of our investment philosophy and approach would recommend that although these are uncharted waters, staying in your investment seat at this time is the correct approach.

I work closely with Dimensional Fund Advisers and I share an extract from their newsletter which
better puts in to context our current situation:

“Dimensional has nearly 35 years of experience managing portfolios, including during periods of uncertainty and heightened volatility. We monitor market events—including their impact on trading and trade settlement—very closely and consider the implications of new information as it comes to light. We are paying close attention to market mechanisms and they appear to be functioning well. Our investment philosophy and process have withstood many trying times and we remain committed.

We urge caution in allowing market movements to impact long-term asset allocation. Long-term investors recognize that risks and uncertainty are ever present in markets. A drop in prices is generally due to lower expectations of cash flows, higher discount rates, or both. In some cases, a drop is also due to investors demanding liquidity. In the current situation, some investors and economists may expect lower cash flows due to possible trade barriers that may not be implemented. Higher discount rates may be occurring due to uncertainty about changes in the economic landscape and regulations. We have seen markets increase discount rates in times of uncertainty before, resulting in lower prices and increased expected returns. However, it is difficult to know when good outcomes will materialize in the future. By attempting to time the right moment to invest or redeem, one risks not enjoying the potential benefits of such materialisations. Many of those who exit the markets miss the recoveries. What we have often seen in the past is that investors who remained in well-diversified portfolios were rewarded over time.”

I appreciate you will have questions as to how this event may impact your own financial situation and I’d be happy to hear from you at anytime to discuss this further.

Please either phone me or email to get in touch.

We will provide further information as and when things become more clear.

Roland Oliver

June 2016


Ethical investing: How to do it

Ethical investing

When it comes to investing, keeping an open mind about new opportunities, new approaches and seeing new trends are all valuable things to be able to do.

There is a growing public demand for businesses that they deal with to act in a socially responsible manner.

It’s clear that public sentiment towards companies that appear to flaunt the law, act in their own self-interest is strengthening. Companies like Amazon and Starbucks, whose tax strategies are deemed less than moral, can lose customer confidence.

Continue reading Ethical investing: How to do it


New tax year, new website, new service

Oliver front page

Welcome to our new website and to the first blog posted on it!

We’re delighted to have worked with a local developer, Clooti on the new look and feel of our website and are very pleased indeed with the end results.

We have also been lucky to have the services and skills of Dr Graeme Busfield of Numerical Business Ltd at our disposal for all the tricky bits behind the scenes I don’t pretend to understand! (And much more besides).

Continue reading New tax year, new website, new service


Plan now to avoid a big tax bill on your pension savings.

Are you building a fund for your retirement in a company pension scheme? If so, forthcoming changes to the taxation of pension savings could cost you dearly – unless you act swiftly.

From April, the maximum pensions saving that anyone is allowed to build, before it becomes subject to punitive taxation, reduces from £1.5m to £1.25m. This cap is called the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) and applies to an individual’s entire pension savings (apart from the state pension).

The figure may sound high but many thousands of people fall into the category – especially those in final-salary schemes who have built their entitlement through many years’ work.

But don’t despair, if you are affected, there are actions you can take before April to mitigate the potential tax charge down the line.

Saving into a pension scheme has for years attracted tax relief. However it was felt that wealthy people were getting too much tax relief and building up enormous pension pots and the LTA was introduced at £1.8m in 2012 reducing to £1.5 in 2013 and now to £1.25m in April this year.

It would be a brave man that did not anticipate further reductions in years to come.

When first introduced, the LTA used to apply only to a few thousand high earners in the UK who could afford to grow seven-figure pension pots. But the reduction in the limit, coupled with the increased costs of funding retirement promises for those who retire on final-salary-type pensions, has now pushed hundreds of thousands of people into the net.

There is some key information you need to know or find out quickly!

You need to find out what the total value of your pension savings will be, as at April 2014. This should include any legacy pension schemes with previous employers. If the total is already over £1.25m, or likely to grow beyond that sum before retirement, you can take action to retain the £1.5m LTA, subject to certain conditions.

If you are in a final salary scheme and expect to receive a pension in excess of £56,000 on retirement, this could take you over the LTA and should prompt you to take action now.

As ever HMRC have produced detailed guidance on the changes and impacts (see link below) but if you need assistance to understand the impact on you then please get in touch.



World Market Capitalisation

Viewing the world map by relative market capitalisation illustrates the importance of building a globally diversified portfolio and avoiding a home market bias.

World_Market_Capitalisation jpeg

This cartogram, produced by Dimensional Fund Advisors, depicts the world not according to land mass, but by the size of each country’s stock market relative to the world’s total market value (free-float adjusted).

Population, gross domestic product, exports, and other economic measures may influence where people invest. But the map offers a different way to view the universe of equity investment opportunities. If markets are efficient, global capital will migrate to destinations offering the most attractive risk-adjusted expected returns. Therefore, the relative size and growth of markets may help in assessing the political, economic, and financial forces at work in countries.

The cartogram brings into sharp relief the investible opportunity of each country relative to the world. It avoids distortions that may be created or implied by attention to economic or fundamental statistics, such as population, consumption, trade balances or GDP.

By focusing on an investment metric rather than on economic reports, the chart further reinforces the need for a disciplined, strategic approach to global asset allocation. Of course, the investment world is in motion, and these proportions will change over time as capital flows to markets offering the most attractive returns.



Golf, Psychology & Andy Murray

IMG_2213OK, I’ve not blogged in a while and to ease myself back into the fray, a little light piece for openers.

We recently had a networking golf day at my own club Craigielaw and as part of the fun we had a sports psychologist talk to the group before playing our round.

He talked about the winning mind set displayed by top sports people and to help us perform better during our game of golf, he asked us to use the acronym WIN (What’s Important Now) as a way of focusing not on what had gone before or was to come, but the now.

The chat after the game was how much better people had played and that they attributed this in part to the WIN idea.

Our overall winner from the day was an ex-Liverpool and Scotland footballer who, despite advancing years, still has that mental edge and desire to win.

He scored over 50 Stableford points (yes over 50!) and had we been able to randomly drug test him, would probably tested positive for several banned horse steroids and supplements.

He knows who he is and the handicap committee has him firmly in their sights…

Anyway, the link to top performance and mental attitude is clear.

As so to our Andy.

I wonder how many times Andy Murray’s name has been mentioned around the collective water coolers of the UK?

An incredible result (only spoiled for me by Alex Salmond’s shameless posturing with the Saltire…) and an amazing display on mental control and desire to win which he’s carried with him all through his career.

He also showed patience beyond his years in dealing with quite simply some of the most fatuous interview questions ever posed.

During one sledgehammer attempt to subtly link a visiting Sir Alex Ferguson to his difficult semi-final encounter with Verdasco, the interviewer suggested he may be due the hairdryer treatment from Ivan Lendl after his performance.

“…But I pulled back a two sets deficit to win the game and wouldn’t deserve the hairdryer” was his succinct putdown.

It does seem the BBC still hankers after the golden era when Fred Perry was in his pomp and gentlemen quite rightly wore long trousers on court.

If you’ve tuned in to find some clever link between my ramblings and the current machinations in Financial Services, prepare for disappointment.

Roland Oliver

8th July 2013