In the very short term, I think markets will be dictated by what is going on with regard to the virus, whether this comes back worse than before or not, but eventually we will be able to put this behind us; however, it could take time.
It is particularly pertinent to have well diversified portfolios across the UK and internationally with a reasonable amount of fixed interest stock and I do not think now is the time to change things radically in any shape or form, from an investment standpoint. If I were to voice one concern about markets, as we begin to go back to offices and the furlough schemes finish, it will be to watch how consumers hold up during the fourth quarter.
As our clients will be aware, we have been working from home since March with little to no disruption to our service. I hope that we will return to our desks in the not too distant future but I suspect this will be a gradual process and, hopefully, by the end of this year we will be able to invite clients to visit us in our offices.
Fundamentally, I suspect this will change working habits, particularly now businesses have proved that modern communications and IT infrastructure work. I think things will change across the spectrum for many white-collar businesses, whether it be people in the UK working more from offices outside London, or adapting to new technology to work remotely; I for one have undertaken a massive learning curve when it comes to remote working! In people businesses such as ours, it is important to meet your colleagues and for us to see our clients face to face. It is understandable that many do not want to come to London at the moment, but longer term I do think it is important for us to make contact and we look forward to doing so, whenever that may be.
As ever, I think we have pulled together an interesting selection of articles for this edition of Prospects. When I speak to clients, intergenerational wealth transfer is often a subject that is discussed, so it was interesting to note that September marks the 18th anniversary of the first Child Trust Funds and shines a light on the need to educate the young on investing. I would encourage readers to discuss their finances with their children or grandchildren and bring them along to meetings, when appropriate, to help them learn.
The other much-discussed subject at present, and covered by Atticus Kidd in his Wealth Planning in Focus article, is the recent review the Chancellor has announced for Capital Gains Tax. Whilst nothing is guaranteed, it seems likely CGT will rise, which could present investors with an opportunity to review their portfolios and take gains before any changes are implemented. It also goes to show the benefits of tax-free vehicles, such as ISAs and pensions.
As I mentioned in the last edition, we are very grateful to our clients for their understanding of the current situation and their continued long term loyalty; we hope that, as and when we can restart our events program, we will have a chance to thank you all in person.