Tom Becket

La La Land: a market update

​Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned; this is my first confession in over a month. I’m sure this lack of scripture has come as a blessed relief to many, but the truth is that nothing has happened to trigger off a volley of words. Indeed, a prolonged period of low volatility across all asset classes and positive performance trends across the vast majority of investments since the start of the year has created a well-needed pause for breath and a feeling of ‘suspended reality’. While markets have leapt happily higher in this ‘La La Land’ environment, we have been extremely active in our portfolios, taking profits, refocusing our attentions only on those assets where we have extremely high conviction and preparing for bigger battles ahead. Read the full blog here.

From milk-snatching to tablet-snaffling: purging perks makes for clearer pension planning

Back in the early 1970s we had Maggie Thatcher, then Education Secretary, labelled the “Milk Snatcher” for removing free milk for the under-7s. We had it in child-sized glass bottles at school.

Now, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, has become the “iPad Nabber” for taking away employees’ access to discounted iPads and Galaxy Tabs.

Apologies if you’re wondering what I’m on about? One of the more popular benefits under employer salary sacrifice schemes has been the ability to purchase a nice shiny piece of IT hardware (usually a tablet, Notebook or Desktop) with the added bonus of making Tax and NI savings on the purchase price. However, the chancellor has decided to remove the salary sacrifice (tax and NI savings) benefit of doing so. Other salary sacrifice benefits such as Pensions, Childcare Vouchers and Cycle2Work schemes are to remain protected.

For Darren Hedgley’s full blog, click here.

Rory McPherson

Rotation, rotation, rotation

​In the TV show “Location, Location, Location”, hosts Kirstie and Phil try to hunt out bargains for would-be house buyers. Were there to be an investment themed variant of the show, there’d be a case for ditching safer, more expensive assets and sectors in favour of the cheaper, less loved ones.

We subscribe to this view but think that the recent rotation clamour is over-done. Whilst there are better prospects of growth (and diminished risks of global recession), we believe the current rally is displaying signs of over-exuberance and there will be better buying opportunities and entry points in the future.

Read PSigma’s Rory McPherson’s latest blog here.

 

Still waters hide turbulent times

Time spent on a narrow boat slipping along Britain’s restored canals is to experience a pace of life from a time gone by.

The clock ticks less insistently as you busy yourself with ropes or the helm to be part of what was once at the heart of Britain’s roaring industrial revolution. Yet the history of our canal network is a symbol of the kind of change we are experiencing at the moment.

Investment and engineering flair turned Britain’s waterways into the principal trade route for the raw materials, manufactured goods and commodities connecting our major cities to the rest of the country and the world beyond.

Click here to read the full blog.

Daniel Adams

Currency: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

Sir Isaac Newton is one the most celebrated scientists of all time. Probably his two most significant contributions were; firstly, the theory of colour, in which he observed the refraction of light through a prism separating the light into its constituent spectral colours; secondly, is of course, his laws of motion (and by extension the essence of gravity), which together provide the foundation for modern day physics.

To read the full blog, click here.