WEEKLY COVID-19 UPDATE

Background

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.

https://informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/covid-19-coronavirus-infographic-datapack/

https://lnkd.in/eNi26zX

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.

 

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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: nikki@oliverassetmgmt.co.uk

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.

 

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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.

jonathan@oliverassetmgmt.co.uk

roland@oliverassetmgmt.co.uk

nikki@oliverassetmgmt.co.uk

Roland, Jonathan and Nikki

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12th March 2020 – Market Volatility Concerns

Yesterday was very eventful, with the early morning news that the BOE reduced the base rate to 0.25%, accompanied by market volatility and afternoon budget announcements.

Overnight, the news from Trump to stop travel from the Schengen European countries to, and from America helped lead to further volatility and the FTSE, opening another 5% down, and at the time of writing is down 9%.

Given these exceptional circumstances, we thought at this time it would be prudent to communicate our thoughts.

Our belief is that long term investing is designed to tolerate short term volatility both up and down, and this is backed up by long term equity returns data.  Making knee jerk reactions at times like these often leads to a poorer investment experience.

Nevertheless, with the current news being dominated by headlines about the coronavirus and stock market falls, we fully understand any nervousness about the impact in the short-term on your investment portfolios.

It’s worth considering in the first instance as to when you might need your money; do you need it all right now or does it need to last you say, for the next thirty years?

It might also worthwhile to consider actual performance of a balanced portfolio over a range of periods to demonstrate how the effects of one year’s performance are diminished.

We have published data on the performance of all our portfolios on our website and we ask you to consider the best and worst numbers over the longer periods and you will see despite some short term volatility, the longer term averaged returns have tolerated those short term losses.

Performance

Performance Summary Statistics: 01/06/2009 – 31/01/2020

Date as of January 31st 2020.

Performance data shown represents past performance and is not a guarantee of future results.  Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance shown.

 

The attached article from Dimensional was written 2 weeks ago as the markets were in the early stages of reacting to the coronavirus reaching the wider world.  Whilst things have moved on in terms of volatility, the message still remains strong and relevant.

https://eu.dimensional.com/en/perspectives/the-coronavirus-and-market-declines

If you have any questions or would like to chat through your thoughts or concerns please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

 

Roland, Jonathan and Nikki.

 

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Coronavirus, and its impact on the markets

Its impossible to ignore the news surrounding the Coronovirus and its impact on a personal level, as well as the markets.

We have seen the FTSE in the UK face its largest weekly decline since the financial crisis, and Mark Carney has warned that the coronavirus outbreak could lead to a downgrade of the UK’s economic growth prospects.

Whilst we must be thoughtful of those impacted by the virus, we need to take stock and think about how we as long term investors must not make knee jerk reactions to negative news.

The following article from Dimensional gives good insight into the reasons for the current uncertainty, and also reasons to not let it consume your thoughts in regards to your own financial plan.

https://us.dimensional.com/perspectives/the-coronavirus-and-market-declines

If you have any questions or concerns please do get in contact

Jonathan

 

 

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Evidence Based Investing – Drowning out the Noise!!

In this blog I want to give you a quick overview of our investment beliefs at Oliver Asset Management, namely Evidence Based Investing.

Who are evidence based investors?

You may well have heard us mention Dimensional Fund Advisers in the past, but probably will not have seen them mentioned anywhere else.

They are the worlds 8th largest fund management company.  They don’t advertise (helping to keep costs low) and they manage and offer research exclusively to institutional investors and a select group of fee based advisers (including us at Oliver Asset Management).

What is evidence based investing?

Evidence based investing is based on a belief in the efficiency of the markets, and that the market is an effective information-processing machine.

Rather than attempting to predict the future or outguess others, information is drawn about expected returns from the market itself—using the collective knowledge of its millions of buyers and sellers as they set prices of shares.

By trusting markets to do what they do best—namely drive information into prices—Dimensional Fund Adviser’s time can be freed up to where they believe they have an advantage,  which is how they interpret their research. They take a less subjective, more systematic approach to investing—an approach they can implement consistently, and investors can understand and stick with, even when the markets seem challenging.

How do we use evidence based investing?

By using Dimensional research principals in conjunction with our investment partners, we are able to utilise low cost globally diversified portfolio’s with strong track records.

We stick to our principals in helping to educate and drown out the external noise from fund houses who claim to have the next big idea.  This in turn frees up our time to focus on what brings you value, like planning out and visualising your future, using our sophisticated cash flow modelling software.

Why use evidence based investing?

The reasons we believe in evidence based investing are numerous, and too long to fully implement into this blog, but in short….

Evidence tells us that trying to outguess and trying to time the market does not work in the long term, and selecting funds based on past performance is extremely unlikely to continually succeed.

Daily news sells on fear which can in turn challenge your investment discipline.  For example fear of a market crash, or fear of missing out on the next big idea.

By avoiding market timing and chasing the next expensive “star” fund manager, diversifying globally, taking control of costs and turnover, and tuning out the noise we can focus together on actions that will add value to your financial plan.

For more information please follow the link:

https://eu.dimensional.com/en/perspectives/key-questions-for-the-long-term-investor

Where can you access evidence based investing?

Get in touch, or pop into our office for a coffee and we can chat through our thoughts with you.

 

Jonathan Beaton

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Welcome to our new Website!

I’m delighted to introduce the latest version of our website – our 4th or 5th iteration if I remember correctly.

We’ve had great help from Rachael at Clooti and Bill at Wing Design in bringing this to life. They’ve be instrumental in helping us get the correct message about what we do across and how this has evolved over the last 12+ years. The journey has quite fascinating.

The aim of the business was always to provide the best financial guidance and planning that we could, but in the early days we were in a product-sales led rather than advice led environment.

We had a strong belief and conviction that there was a better way to provide a better experience and outcomes for our clients and that has led us to the approach we take today.

The tools, support, processes and systems were admittedly there, but you had to go digging to find them and work hard to implement them in the business process, but the feedback we were getting about what we doing for clients, convinced us it was the right thing to do.

It’s reassuring to see how many other financial planning firms now adopt a similar approach to us and have a client service ethos at the heart of their businesses.

Our new website reflects the distillation of what we’ve tried to do since the business started, and we aim to provide as much information and education on financial matters, regulations and taxation along with the latest thinking on smart investing as we can.

We hope that you find the new website a true reflection of what we are about as a business. We’d be delighted to hear any comments that you have and any ideas of items or ideas you’d like to see more of.

Roland Oliver
May 2019

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On the golf course

Golf, Psychology & Andy Murray

OK, 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

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The Great Golf Ball Debacle

I would bet my life that most people reading this have experienced poor customer service of late.

I find myself in the all too common position recently of being on the receiving end of some spectacularly bad customer service from a well known magazine subscription provider.

They have happily taken my annual subscription for four years now so when the renewal came round this January I thought I would stick my neck out and ask if they would throw in the snazzy and expensive golf club which was being offered to “new” subscribers only as a free gift.

To be honest I expected a flat out no, but when they came back with a yes of course Mrs Armstrong I was delighted. Victory for the little man (or woman in this case), you don’t ask you don’t get and all that.

18 emails, 12 weeks and a strongly worded letter later do I have said free gift? That would be a no. Ben, or Becky or was it Matt or Verity, I’ve lost track now, have all provided their sincerest apologies and they do understand why I would be very frustrated with this outcome. Do they really, seriously, are they kidding?

They have assured me they want to retain my custom so whilst they can no longer provide the free golf club now it’s out Angry Golf Ballof stock they would like to know if I would settle for 12 SRIXON AD333 golf balls. At the end of my tether I said yes, it suddenly didn’t feel like such a victory, I think I might have even gained the odd grey hair through the whole dire process.

So the golf balls have arrived, they are indeed the SRIXON AD333s, just one small problem, I may pay for the renewal but the magazine goes to my father, he plays, I don’t and yes you’ve guess it, they sent the blooming balls to me!!

I don’t feel remotely rewarded for my loyalty and most certainly will not be renewing the subscription next year. I don’t appreciate being asked to “settle” for a back up gift because someone forgot to do their job properly and process the correct free gift in the first place as promised.

Nothing grates more on a customer than promises not delivered, loyalty being taken for granted and fake sincerity from a faceless person who you know could not care less about your predicament.

It’s not hard to reward loyalty, to provide a good service, to make the consumer feel good about the decisions they have made to buy into your brand, product or service.

We continually strive to improve the customer experience at OAM – and in order to do so actively encourage feedback on our services.

Personally nothing gives me greater pleasure than developing client relationships built on confidence and trust. Over the years I’ve learned that customer loyalty is of great value and not to be taken for granted.

Recent press covered the immediate response by the high street pharmacy Boots in relation to their error of judgement in introducing gender signage for children’s toys. Their customers took to Twitter and Facebook to make heard their views on this seemingly sexist stereotyping – http://bit.ly/14PAT80.

Boots listened to their customers, heard what they had to say and took action, immediately removing the in store signage which had been considered offensive.

How refreshing that a market leader listened to what their customers had to say and their decisive action to rectify the situation will no doubt have resulted in continued customer loyalty.

Happy customers are good ambassadors and all of us in business would do well to remember this.

Dr Claire Armstrong

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Budget 2013

George Osborne budget

George Osborne revealed his mid-term budget on Wednesday 20th. Here is our summary of the most relevant points for your future financial planning:

Inheritance tax – As mentioned in our blog recently, the amount of an estate that can be passed to the next generation tax free will remain at £325,000 until April 2018 (anything above being taxed at 40%). Another 5,000 estates are expected to become taxpaying estates by this time. If this is you, careful use of allowances today can reduce your bill.

State pension – this will rise by 2.5% to £110.15 per week. The Basic State pension and State Second Pension will be combined in April 2016 to a flat £144 per week (in today’s money). This should make it easier to plan for the future.

Pension drawdown – From Tuesday 26th March capped income drawdown rates will rise from 100% to 120% of GAD. While this could be useful for those of you that need more income, please be aware there is no guarantee your pension fund can sustain this. GAD is also set to be overhauled which should lead to good news in the future.

Capital gains tax allowance – the amount of gains that you can make on disposal of assets before having to pay tax increases to £10,900 for 2013/14. The rate remains at 18% for non and basic rate taxpayers, 28% for higher rate taxpayers.

ISA (tax free savings vehicle) – The stocks and shares ISA allowance will be £11,520 and the cash ISA allowance will be £5,760 in 2013/14. Please contact us for details of how you could use these depending on your circumstances. If you are yet to use your £11,280 allowance for 2012/13 contact us ASAP!

Income Tax – The personal allowance, currently £8,105, will increase to £9,440 in April this year and then £10,000 in April 2014.

Pension allowances will be cut next year – Personal annual contribution allowance down from £50,000 to £40,000 and lifetime allowance down to £1.25m.

Abusive tax avoidance – The Government will publish a report on how it will tackle tax avoidance and evasion this week. Needless to say, any tax mitigation strategies recommended by OAM are not abusive and are a key part of good financial planning.

That concludes our non-exhaustive list of points to be taken from Wednesday’s budget. The above points are based solely on our understanding of intended HMRC rules and should not be used to influence planning decisions on their own.

If you are a current client and require any clarification on how the above might affect you then please get in touch.

If you are not, then we would be happy to give you a second opinion on any aspect of your planning. There’s never been a better time to contact us.

Malcolm Stewart

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