A message from our CEO | Spring 2022

The terrible events unfolding in Ukraine put much of what we do as a business into perspective and our thoughts go out to all of those impacted, either directly or indirectly.

by Hugo Bedford

Chief Executive Officer

Whilst market movements are, in many ways, secondary to such events, our responsibility remains to ensure we keep clients informed of how we view the situation and how we are managing portfolios in response.

As a manager of private client as well as trust and charity money, our focus remains on staying calm and analysing the implications of the situation as it evolves. Our focus is to ensure our clients’ interests are, as far as possible, protected and that long term planning remains the key determinant of any short term action. Back here at home, we are moving towards a more normal existence, learning to live with Covid and being busy getting back to what we enjoy and what I believe we’re good at: meeting and engaging with our clients. Whilst video conferencing helped us to stay in touch for those who wanted it, it is with a sense of relief that it is now proving hard to book a meeting room at 25 Copthall Avenue! 

We know some of our clients have been missing the face-to-face contact as much as we have, over the last two years, and whilst some will prefer a hybrid solution or even a pure digital relationship, for those who would prefer to see their investment managers, our five offices are well and truly open.

From a business perspective, although it has been a challenging time, there are many things we have learnt and some practices we will keep. We will, for example, continue to offer our staff the flexibility to be more agile in their working patterns. We know they work well at home and we are happy to accommodate this. We also recognise that as a people business, we work best when we can exchange ideas, with the most innovative ideas often coming from the small interactions; so our offices will remain our primary place of work.

We have also looked to place additional emphasis on looking after our staff, recognising that remote working was not without its consequences. Our excellent Human Resources team have ensured we have remained close to our staff and the focus on wellbeing has never been greater, helping us to perform our roles to the best of our abilities and in the right working environment.
More and more clients have opted over the last 18 months for paperless reporting. Whilst we are not enforcing this, it does come with the benefit of being a more secure and timely method of delivering reports and updates. We have also seen a marked increase in the use of our secure messaging functionality within the client portal, which again can mitigate the increasing cyber threats. Although our portal appears to be doing a good job (and scores more highly than those of our competitors according to our client survey results) there is always room for improvement; by the second half of this year we will have launched a new version of our portal designed to enhance the user experience. More detail will follow on this.

It will not have escaped our clients’ attention that, after 14 years of record low interest rates and inflation, it seems we are now moving into an environment of higher borrowing costs and price growth. We are currently seeing higher inflation in most developed economies and any action taken by central banks through higher interest rates will feed into the economy, albeit, we feel, at a slow rate. This period of adjustment in the economy may well last for longer than previously thought. Nevertheless, as rates move higher, our research team still believe they will remain at or below long term averages. Whilst it can be uncomfortable when economies transition and markets need to adapt, especially if previous gains are then reduced or eroded, bumps in the road are just that, particularly when adopting a long-term perspective.

Hugo Bedford, CEO signature

Hugo Bedford CEO

Managing your wealth

Managing your wealth

Understanding Finance

Helping clients understand what we do is key to building relationships. To explain some of the industry jargon that creeps into our world, we’ve pulled together a section of our site to help.

Also in this issue

The name Vodafone, deriving from voice data fone, aptly covers much of what the business provides.

At first glance Associated British Foods (ABF) presents a slightly confusing investment case; a business of two parts.

B&M are a leading UK value retailer who focus primarily on physical retail sites versus online retail.

Spring Issue Thirty Eight