Russia Ukraine Crisis February 2022

2022 so far has not been a smooth ride for investment portfolios initially with corrections across the board caused by an increase in inflation and the reactive measures by central banks.

Early on during the covid pandemic central banks across the world aggressively cut interest rates and expanded asset purchasing programmes (i.e. quantitative easing) to soften the economic damage caused by rising social restrictions.  Accompanied by vast cash injections to assist economic packages targeted at helping individuals and businesses, for example furlough packages and business grants.

As the success of vaccine roll outs has strengthened, economies have emerged from their lockdowns and people have begun to resume their normal lives.  As a result, economic activity has begun to pick back up.  However increasing demand has meant that key materials have become more expensive, and now with oil prices soaring even before this morning’s dreadful news coming out of Ukraine.

This increase in inflation has caused central banks to take measures which will have affected portfolio’s across the board in both equities and bonds which you may have seen.

As you will be aware now the breaking news over night which we all hoped would not come to fruition has caused more uncertainty and turbulence in the markets.

We all hoped this would not happen, not just because of the impact on the markets and portfolios, but because of the humanitarian crisis which may evolve with loss of lives on both sides of the conflict and vast upheaval of families.

As is always the case when we face uncertainty in the markets, thoughts may gather in our minds about possible reactions that we may take to try and come out of the market to shelter ourselves from volatility.  Our message has always be consistent, in that the best action to take is to do nothing.

Last week some of you may have seen an article that I shared, which now seems a little understated based on this morning’s news, however the message still rings true, in that leaving the market in times of a downturn could result in you missing out on some significant gains when the markets do recover.

Ukraine-Russia Conflict – Don’t Let Russia Invade Your Investment Portfolio (02.22) (4)

You will have seen a prime example of this immediately after the covid pandemic arrived in 2020.  Volatility is the price we pay in order to gain long term returns over risk free options, and although it may feel uncomfortable, history has told us that the most effective strategy is to not make knee jerk reactions.

As always here at Oliver Asset Management are door is always open and we are happy to discuss any concerns that you may have in terms of your personal plans, and we encourage you to get in contact if you want to have a chat at any time.


Four key points about January’s market mayhem

It won’t have escaped your notice that global financial markets have had a turbulent start to the year. Despite the best efforts of advisers to educate them in how markets work, some clients are anxious about what it means for their portfolios — especially those who are near to retirement.

As hard as it is though, clients should try to put their emotions aside, focus on the facts and remember the lessons from market history.

Here are four things in particular they need to bear in mind:


Damage has been confined to specific market sectors like technology

If you were heavily exposed to technology stocks, you’ve had an uncomfortable ride. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index has fallen heavily since mid-November and, as of 26th January, it’s down 14% for the year to date. The most high-profile tech fund to suffer has been Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF, whose performance has been on a downward trajectory since last February. At the time of writing, the fund is down a whopping 28% in 2022 so far.

But although, inevitably, there has been some contagion, other sectors have escaped relatively lightly. So far this year the broader S&P 500 index of US stocks is down just shy of 10%, which is the unofficial definition of a correction. The FTSE 100 is trading at virtually the same level as it was when January began.

“Investors in US large-caps and other highly valued growth stocks like the kind Cathie Wood was buying have been hit,” says investment author Larry Swedroe.

“But value stocks, for example, are trading at around their historical averages, maybe even cheaper, and they’re not in a bubble in anything like the way they were when the market crashed in March 2000.”

“And we have the same situation elsewhere. Valuations in the developed world, outside the US, and emerging markets are around historical averages.”

What happens in January is no guide to the year ahead

There’s an old saying on Wall Street that, “as goes January, so goes the year”. In other words, what happens on the financial markets in the first few weeks of the calendar year tends to set the tone for the rest of the year ahead. If the adage turns out to be true in 2022, we are certainly in for a rollercoaster ride.

But, on closer inspection, the “as goes January” theory turns out to be a myth. Since 1950 there have been 28 years in which January produced a negative return for the S&P 500. The average loss for the month in those 28 years was 3.6%. However, over those 28 years, the average return over the following 11 months was 5.4%. So a bad January for stocks has generally not meant a bad year.

Of course, the past does not predict the future. Stock markets may well fall further over the next 11 months. But it won’t be because they fell in the first few weeks of the year.

The gurus predicting a crash have been repeatedly wrong before

Investors tend to pay attention to stock market gurus at the start of each year, and also when share prices fall, so they’re particularly susceptible to market forecasts at the moment.

One of several gurus warning that a crash is coming is the well-known investor Jeremy Grantham. Stocks, he says, are overvalued and in a “superbubble”, and that it’s only a matter of time before a “wild rumpus” begins.

He may be right; nobody knows. But it’s worth remembering that Grantham has issued several similar warnings since 2013. His forecasts have generated huge publicity for himself and his investment firm, GMO, but investors who heeded his advice to sell out of stocks at any stage over the last eight years have missed out on very substantial returns.

Sooner or later, of course, Grantham will be right and markets will crash, as they always do. And no doubt then people will forget all those times he got it wrong and hail him as a genius.

But investors should heed the warning of Warren Buffett that predictions like these are dangerous. “I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison,” he said in James Altucher’s book Trade Like Warren Buffett. “(They) should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grown-ups who behave in the market like children.”

Uncertainties abound, but they always do

The markets hate uncertainty, and there seems to be plenty of uncertainty around at the moment. For example, the Federal Reserve and other central banks are widely expected to raise interest rates, possibly several times, to combat rising inflation.

But there are other concerns too. It remains far too early to draw a line under the Covid crisis. Geo-political tensions over Russia and Ukraine, as well as China and Taiwan, could boil over any time. Here in the UK, meanwhile, a change of Prime Minister is a distinct possibility.

All of those issues have undoubtedly weighed on the markets in recent weeks. But we simply don’t know how any of them will unfold, let alone what the impact on the markets will be.

Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal summed it up neatly the other day when he wrote:

“I don’t know whether we’re on the cusp of a cataclysmic decline, or whether this is one of the market’s normal see-saw rides. What I am sure of is that after two years of being cooped up at home with nothing to do but stare at market charts, a lot of my colleagues in the financial media are bored stiff. So reporters and editors will seize every opportunity to turn market molehills into mountains, and to extrapolate every drop into a correction or bear market.”

Remember, it isn’t investments that get tested in turbulent markets; it’s investors. And it’s not what the markets do that matters; it’s how you react. Yes, there’s plenty of uncertainty, but there always is. And although selling out of equities might provide some short-term emotional relief, it’s patience and discipline that markets reward in the long run.

ROBIN POWELL is a freelance journalist and Editor of The Evidence-Based Investor. He is also Head of Client Education at RockWealth.


What a Difference a Year Makes

Firstly, we hope that this message finds you well and making the best of our challenging times.

It’s been a little while since our last post, so felt that a gentle reflection on where we are right now, and some thoughts about future outcomes would be appropriate.

At the beginning of 2021, we find the United States of America under new management and with a fundamentally different agenda from the previous administration.

An immediate focus on climate change is an encouraging sign, but there is no doubt President Biden has his work cut-out to build back America’s place in the World.

In the UK, we are in yet another lock-down situation, but the COVID-19 vaccination program is well under way, albeit there are varying levels of roll-out across the country.

This website is a very interesting look at all statistics you might ever want to know about Coronavirus.

Judging by the conversations with our clients around the performance of their investments, we feel that whilst the market continue to show some levels of volatility, overall performance has been steady.

Our long-term buy and hold philosophy seems to have been borne out, in fact largely by being patient, not panicking and making knee jerk reactions through the pandemic, we have benefited, meaning that portfolios and savings are in good shape.

We’ve also seen an “uncoupling” of the markets from the wider economy as Government around the World are seen as the lender of last resort, and willing to shoulder the fiscal burden of the Pandemic.

There is an element of “kicking the can” down the road however, as we increase borrowing and how and when this might be resolved or come back to bite us, is very much an unknown.

Technology has allowed the business to function as normal (without the cup of coffee!), and we see this continuing for a some time to come.

More clients than ever have signed up for our Personal Financial Portal (PFP), and we’re are encouraged that it’s working well

Finally, we recognise that having a robust financial plan in place has given many people the comfort and security they need right now, and we look forward to catching up with you all over the coming months.

Roland, Niki and Jonathan


Covid concerns – Should I access my pension fund now?

Covid Concerns – Should I access my pension fund now?

The UK is on the brink of a severe recession, with job losses and cashflow concerns for a large proportion of the country.

You may be thinking of the need to access some of your savings to alleviate large short term worries.  What a lot of people however are not aware of, is the fact that by using your pension savings to plug this gap, may mean that you are not able to utilise this vehicle to save again when the time arises.

Currently, anyone over 55 who makes a taxable withdrawal (not the 25% tax free cash allowance) from their pension will find that their annual allowance for this year and future years will be lowered from £40,000 to just £4,000 as a result of the triggering of money purchase annual allowance (MPAA).

This is a relatively new rule that was brought in 5 years ago with the introduction of ‘pension freedoms’ with an initial £10,000 limit, however it was reduced to £4,000 in 2017.  If the MPAA is triggered future contributions to your pension savings in excess of £4,000 per annum will face a tax charge.

The reasons for accessing taxable income from your pension could be for a variety of reasons like replacing lost income from employment or potentially taking extra income out to help a younger relative pay their bills. Regardless of the circumstances, currently the MPAA is applied indiscriminately and permanently.

If a 90% cut in the annual pension allowance was not bad enough, triggering the MPAA also means you lose the ability to carry forward any unused allowances from the three previous tax years in the current tax year. So, someone making a one-off decision to access taxable income from their pension during the current crisis could in fact reduce the amount they can save in the future into a pension in the current tax year from £160,000 to £4,000.

If you feel that you may still wish to make contributions to your pension savings in the future either personally or through an employer, accessing taxable cash just now may not be the most ideal solution.

I am not saying for one moment that in the current times using your pension to ease cashflow worries is to be completely avoided, however knowing all the ramifications of these decisions is of huge importance.

If you have other forms of savings available like ISAs or bonds, these may not have penalties, or taxation regimes which are quite as strict. It is important to make decisions of this nature with your eyes wide open and with all available knowledge at hand, and not regret a decision made in haste.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you feel you would like to know more, or to discuss your options.  We are always available for a remote video conference.



(Weekly) Covid-19 Update

(Weekly) Covid-19 Update

I don’t know about you, but I had to stop and actually count the weeks on my diary to find we are entering week 8 of lockdown.. Quite extraordinary.

I hope you and your families continue to be safe and well.

Apologies for the lack of weekly up-dates; I’ve been noticing a definite lockdown-lull in the last week or so through things like much reduced WhatsApp messages in the various groups I’m involved with. A certain lethargy is most definitely kicking in

We’ve all adapted very quickly and new supply chains and service have been established and are working – it appears that no immediate crisis need dealing with and people are settling in to the new routine.

The only thing I’ve noticed of concern (and it made it to the BBC website today, so must be serious), is the lack of hair cutting going on.

My hair is like a burst couch and I’m about 2 days away from having a go with the clippers myself but lurking in my mind is the old Billy Connolly skit about cutting your own hair on” An Audience with Billy Connolly” (It’s on YouTube and is still as funny today as it was in the 80’s!)

If I pluck up the courage, I’ll maybe post the before and afters here.

Investment Discipline

You’ll no doubt have heard me bang-on about staying your seat during uncertain times and periods of market volatility. The following short video precisely explain why this should be the case and how financially impactful it can be if you don’t and try and time markets instead.

Great Jigsaw Update

I think the picture says it all. We have reached an impasse…




They say a week is a long time in politics and that maybe true, but a week cooped-up in your house goes by very rapidly!

I hope that everyone is well and coping with the huge change in circumstances.

Following on from last week’s update I wanted to share a few things that I notice and picked up during the week from both business point of view and from a personal standpoint.

Earlier on the week, I attended a webinar that was set up by my accountant Chris Thomas and an HR consultant, Ian Pilbeam.

It was a very informative and in-depth look at the government’s response to the coronavirus situation and in particular the job retention scheme and the new business grant scheme.

It struck me that the government has acted quickly, and the amount and detail produced in such a short time was quite incredible. It was also clear that there are many hoops to jump through in order to obtain much needed money to keep businesses afloat.

If anyone would like more information on these subjects, please give me a call on my usual number.

I’m also very pleased and delighted at the speed on which my local village and community have acted to get together and create various WhatsApp groups – there has been great deal of sharing of ideas, services and help for each other – even puzzles and jokes!

It’s nice to see people coming together in this difficult time.

Information is Beautiful

I picked this graph up on my travels this week and thought it was I’m very good visual representation of where we are with COVID-19 right now.

I previously posted this in LinkedIn and thought it was worth including again here not to scare people, but to take the positives from the recoveries and the number of people who are classed as having it in a mild form.

I also referenced the Stockdale Paradox in another LinkedIn post and again I attach the link to this to as I think it is most relevant today.

The Great Jigsaw Update

I was pleased by the many responses I got around progress on the World’s hardest jigsaw last week, so here’s this weeks update…

Firstly, my daughter has totally lost interest in favour of something called Instagram. Can’t think why, and secondly, I was reduced to using a mallet to try and hammer vaguely matching pieces together to alleviate my frustrations!

Anyway, here’s progress of sorts.



Weekly Covid-19 Update


Firstly I hope that everyone is safe and well and coping with our new circumstances.  As I write, we have two clients having tested positive, and are a good way into their self-isolation phase.

I’ve spoken to them by phone and are clearly are not well, but are making some progress. Our thoughts are with them.

I thought that I’d try and do a weekly round-up of current thoughts, observations and try to maintain some reality in an otherwise surreal existence for us all.

From a practical point of view, using Zoom as a remote meeting tool has proven easy to use and successful in allowing us to have conversations “face-to-face” and allow us to review cash flow models in light of current volatile market conditions.

I’m getting positive feedback about the format and clients are expressing that looking at their numbers in context and over the longer term is reassuring.

Please call the office on 0131 273 5202 if you’d like to schedule a meeting.


Market Volatility

Although the UK market (FTSE100) is down around 5% today as I write, it looks like it will end up marginally ahead of where we started at the beginning of the week.

We should now be beginning to understand that the wild swings in daily volatility will be the norm. We see markets reacting as we would expect them to on the current understanding of our economic prospects based on the information we have at any given time.

It reinforces our long-held belief that you must remain fully invested throughout these periods of uncertainty, and to trying to time markets is not only futile, but ultimately damaging to long term returns.

We’ll continue to post information about long-term investing and our investment philosophy in the coming weeks.


Client Portal (PFP)

Given the difficulties and risk about post and handling paper documents right now, we’d like to urge our clients to sign-up for our Client Portal on our back-office system to allow the exchange of documentation safely and electronically.

Please email and request an invite to join the client portal.


Personal Thoughts

I very glad to have my daughter home from London and staying with me and due to strict observation on social distancing, I’m happy to report we haven’t fallen out or attacked each other yet…

I had my first experience of social distancing too at my local Tesco this week, and was struck as to how incredibly quickly we adapt to the new circumstances. People seemed calm and rational and sticking to the limits on purchasing. Let’s hope we stay that way.

Finally, I bought what would seem to be the hardest 1000-piece jigsaw in the World. This a pictorial record of the progress we’ve made (me and my 25-year old daughter) in a week.

To be continued

Be safe and well



Zoom Meetings

As previously posted, the office is currently closed, much like everywhere else in the country…

We are still however very much open for continued dialogue with all clients and contacts.

We have set up remote working, and are able to fully utilise video conferencing to allow us to conduct review meetings, and discuss any ongoing financial issues.

To set up a zoom meeting please email:

Although we wont be able to offer you a coffee, we will be able to offer the same service as you have come to expect with a full visual cashflow model, which should hopefully add more reassurance as we go through this tough period.

We look forward to speaking with you soon

Jonathan, Roland and Nikki.



Some reassuring reading during these strange times…

At Oliver Asset Management we are continuing to make every effort to phone as many of our clients and contacts as possible to offer some reassurance, a sounding board for you to air your frustrations or even sometimes to discuss what potential opportunities the current market brings (without trying to be market timers!)

However it also helps to relay messages from other firms and financial institutions.

I will be updating the website on a regular basis with insightful articles which will add more context to our discussions and encourage people not to panic and make rash decisions.

Todays article comes courtesy of “The Evidence Based Investor”

Waiting for dawn

As always we are available whenever you want to have a chat, or get out your frustrations with the current predicament.  Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

In the meantime we hope you and your families remain healthy



Dear valued clients and customers of Oliver Asset Management

The situation in relation to the spread of Coronavirus is rapidly evolving.  We at Oliver Asset Management are aware that there is already likely to be an impact on your personal and professional lives.

I would like to let you know that we are always available to have a chat and offer some reassurance through this unprecedented time.

We have taken the decision to temporarily close the office and have initiated a business continuity plan of working from home for the time being, until we are advised to return to communal areas.

We have ways in which we are able to continue to offer services to the standard that you expect ,be it through the phone, or video conferencing via Skype or Zoom.

You can contact any of us on the office number which is diverted, or our mobiles below

Jonathan 07917 114 727

Roland 07870 185 726

You can also reach us on our usual email addresses.

Roland, Jonathan and Nikki