What is the state of the British stock market, and how could things transpire in 2022? Predicting the future is, of course, impossible. Yet there are trends, structural conditions and market forces at play which could indicate some likely scenarios. Below, our financial planning team at WMM discusses the UK investment outlook for the 2021-22 financial year. In so doing, we will show the importance of diversifying your investments – domestically and globally – to minimise risks to your portfolio in the years ahead.
If you didn’t know better you may assume, probably because of constant media noise, that Stock markets globally have virtually ceased trading, and just given up. Actually, they haven’t and many of our clients have seen really good market recoveries lately. That clients have listened to and accepted the logic behind our investment philosophy is extremely reassuring to us. It has meant sitting tight, taking advantage of recent downturns, knowing that ‘this too shall pass’.
We are acutely aware that many investors will not have experienced the levels of recent volatility, however, I personally have been through around 7 of these ‘Black Swan’ events so feel confident we know what works to get people and families through the times. It really resonated with me when new National Treasure, Colonel Tom Moore said: “For all those people who are finding it difficult at the moment: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away,”. Captain Tom may not know all the academic research behind key investment principles, like the one below about letting Markets work for you, but I couldn’t have put it better myself. He’s been around you know!
Let the markets do the heavy lifting
In investing, there are two main sources of potential returns. The first is the return that comes from the markets and the second is the return generated through an investor’s skill. At its simplest, there are two main ways in which an investor can try to deliver a better return than the market return; time when to be in or out of the markets (known as market timing, tactical asset allocation or sometimes a ‘top-down’ approach), or to pick individual stocks (known as stock picking, security selection or sometimes as a ‘bottom-up’ approach). This gives us the four main combinations of strategies set out in the figure below.
Figure 1: Four main strategies exist – they are not equal in effectiveness
Trying to beat the market – through either market timing or stock picking – is a tough game, with very few winners, and in our view is not a game worth playing. That positions our own approach in the bottom right quadrant, where we and other sophisticated investors use the information in the empirical evidence to employ an approach with the greatest chance of delivering a successful outcome. We avoid trying to market time or pick stocks. We just let the markets do the heavy lifting.
Letting the markets do the heavy lifting on returns will take a great weight off your shoulders; you no longer need to worry about picking the right stock, the right manager or deciding if you should be in or out of the markets. We are always happy to chat about some of the overwhelming empirical evidence in support of our approach, so if you feel you want to know more then call us on 01869 331469.
Only a few months ago no one really knew of Coronavirus. Now, no matter where you live globally, everyone knows of Coronavirus. As with any public health concern, there is a great deal of scaremongering mixed in with the genuine facts.
While many people are understandably concerned about the impact on their health, their family and the provision of medical services, we cannot escape the impact that world events have on financial markets.
So what is Coronavirus, how has it/will it affect your investments, and what should you do?
What is Coronavirus?
While we do not claim to be medical experts, the basic facts are:
- Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a respiratory illness believed to have originated in China.
- As the illness is a virus, there is no treatment, only medications to relieve the symptoms. No vaccine is available, as yet.
- Most people who catch the virus will not be seriously ill. Elderly people, pregnant women, babies and those with compromised immune symptoms are most at risk.
- The illness is extremely contagious. NHS advice is to stay at home if you can, as this helps to stop the virus from spreading.
- Those not specifically listed as ‘most at risk’ shouldn’t really panic about the possibility of catching Coronavirus, indeed many consider it inevitable over time, although sensible precautions should be taken.
What is the Financial Impact?
In reality it is still too early to determine the true economic impact; as this will probably be a long term cost borne by future generations meeting the costs of Government spending at this time. In the short term; the impact will come from lost working hours, restricted travel and leisure spending, and demands on healthcare services for example. Some companies may even profit from a health scare, as people stock up on over-the-counter medications and non-perishable food items.
While there is no doubt that Coronavirus has impacted on share prices recently, this is exaggerated by ‘typical’ investor behaviour. One investor becomes concerned about the impact of the virus and sells their shares. This results in a small drop in the share price, which then leads other investors to become worried and possibly sell their shares. As more money is removed from the market, share prices fall across the board like dominoes. Until new ‘news’ changes the momentum, markets can be expected to remain a little volatile in the short term.
This can be worrying, particularly if you are approaching retirement, or relying on your investments to support your lifestyle. However, we have the benefit of hindsight, and can say with confidence that if the past is any indicator, the markets should bounce back fairly quickly.
What Can We Learn From the Past?
If you have held investments over the last 20 years, there will have been some points at which you were very nervous.
It is now over a decade since the sub-prime mortgage crisis, collapse of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent recession had such an impact around the world. Many were still feeling or recovering from the effects, having suffered job losses, home repossessions and ten years of austerity.
However, the markets march on, and as you can see from the chart below, the financial crisis (and various other major world events) have barely warranted a blip on an otherwise upward trajectory. There is no reason to think that Coronavirus will be any different.
Investor sentiment causes the markets to rise and fall, but ultimately, a sound investment strategy, held for the long term, is unlikely to fail.
FTSE World Index
Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team to find out more.
What Should I Do?
Much of the activity in the market is driven by fear or greed, causing investors to buy and sell at the wrong times. The best strategy is to stick with the plan and weather the storm. Many investors who switched to cash or took a lower risk approach in the midst of global events, are finding that they are now worse off than if they had simply ignored the noise of the financial press.
The most successful investment strategy is the one you stick with, providing it is well-planned in the first place. A sound investment plan:
- Holds a wide range of assets from different asset classes, world regions and industry sectors;
- Is aligned with your tolerance, requirement and capacity for risk;
- Has costs under control and;
- Doesn’t react unnecessarily to world news.
Whether you have a few thousand set aside for your children in an index-tracking fund, or a multi-million pound managed portfolio, you need to keep the points above in mind. Tuning out the financial press will become much easier.
We have preached this message for many, many years, and know that this works.
Please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the team if you would like to find out more..
Weston Murray & Moore were thrilled to take part in the annual Blenheim Triathlon on the first weekend of June 2019.
We were joined by business peers, family and friends to cheer on both of our WMM teams of three who had boldly taken on the challenge of the 750m swim in the lake, 20 km bike ride and 5.4 km run in aid of the Bloodwise – the blood cancer charity.
That 0.4 is important when the legs are feeling it!!!
The weather was as good as it has probably been all ‘summer’ as we joined the 7000 other athletes over the two days in the courtyard of Blenheim Palace.
Thank you to all who supported us and especially those who formed part of the teams. It was great to have you with us on the day, as always it’s important to us to share what we love to do with you and we look forward to doing it all again next year.