December 2019

Standard Life gave its customers an early Christmas present today, announcing lower fees on the Standard Life Wrap and introducing the Drawdown Price Lock.

It feels like I've been writing US-China trade wars and Brexit in investment commentaries since the Flood. Potential new investors have been spectating for months, waiting for resolution of these issues, particularly given 2018's annus horribilis where cash was king (if a less-than-generous one).

A new job in the city with more money has meant that I’ve been able to save. Hurrah! I had a general investment account with Fidelity and topped it up with a smallish investment. I was quite happy with the way my investment was ticking along, until I decided to check out the charges on offer.

We’re now moving into the final quarter of the Fundscape Fantasy Fund League so here’s a quick update on the standings as at September 2019. To recap, this experiment aims to give the Fundscape team an insight into fund selection and an understanding about investments and the impact of market conditions.

Alliance Trust was saved from a fate worse than death when it was sold to Interactive Investor, a D2C platform, last year. Ever since, the industry has been wondering whether Interactive Investor would move into the advised platform arena or stick to its knitting. The wondering is finally over as it was announced that Embark is buying the adviser platform.

Jittery investors are rushing to buy gold and government bonds as the threat of a global recession sparked by Trump and his trade wars intensifies. Such is the fear that according to Deutsche Bank, investors have apparently invested US$15trn (25% of the total bond market) in negative-yielding government bonds — a number that has tripled since October 2018.

Thank goodness someone has come along to save Neptune. It's been an unhappy ship for a long time and was crying out for a solid and reputable captain like Liontrust to set it back on the right course (warning: this is full of maritime metaphors).

Rumours abound that the Zurich Intermediary Platform (ZIP) is up for sale and Aegon is said to be first in line to snap up the platform.

We’re midway through the Fundscape Fantasy Fund League so here's a quick update on our teams are doing as at June 2019. To remind you, this experiment is about the Fundscape team gaining insight into fund selection, and learning about investments and the impact of market conditions in real time.

Now that Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister, the possibility of crashing out of the EU on 31st October looms large on the horizon. It would be no surprise, therefore, if advisers and investors turned to so-called safe havens like property.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry has had a pop at Neil (yes, the villain has a first name) Woodford over the last few days. Countless rent-a-mouths have queued up to drizzle us with their schadenfreude (most know nothing about funds). But while they like to claim they saw it coming, they conveniently forgot to warn the rest of us.