Investment experts urge savers to think long-term
Markets have recovered well from the impact of the pandemic, but uncertainty remains
Over the past 18 months, the world has been hit hard by the global pandemic and that has undoubtedly left savers and investors feeling nervous about how they prepare their finances for the future. Whether someone is starting out on their career, approaching retirement, or thinking of succession planning for their own business, there is uncertainty all around. Coupled with Covid-19, the world is going through a climate change crisis which is placing greater importance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, particularly green funds.
As well as the pandemic and green issues, what are the big trends in wealth management and what should investors be looking out for? Graham Clark, chief executive of Anderson Strathern Asset Management, says: “Investment markets have recovered well since the impact of Covid-19, but the question is whether they will continue to do so. “The important thing here is to not lose sight of the long term nature of most investments and have the ability to look through the shortterm noise when markets become more volatile. Finding a good level of investment yield to support income requirements is also a current challenge but with careful planning and investment selection, this can be achieved.”
The important thing here is to have the ability to look through the short-term noise when markets become more volatileGraham Clark
He adds that when the pandemic first impacted and markets wobbled significantly, it was imperative to be in touch with clients, regularly review their affairs and offer peace of mind that over the longer term they were still on track to achieve their goals.
“Gaining a sense of financial wellbeing is something that we have seen filter through, more than pre-pandemic. Effectively, this means taking stock of your current position and forecasting into the future to establish the probability of achieving your goals,” says Clark. Graeme Hartop, chief executive of Edinburgh-headquartered private bank Hampden & Co, explains that unlike many of its peers, his organisation does not combine wealth management services and banking. It focuses exclusively on banking and is therefore able to work with a wide range of wealth managers to complement their expertise.
Hartop says: “Wealth managers regularly approach us to support clients who wish to borrow money. It’s important to understand the client’s entire financial position, including their assets and liabilities, not just their income and expenditure, particularly if the client has complex circumstances. With our combined knowledge of a client’s entire financial position, we can tailor any borrowing to suit their individual circumstances.”
Hartop believes the many different ways people have been impacted during the pandemic has heightened the benefits of wealth management advice.
“Whether clients have experienced a change to their income, disruptionto their business or volatility in their investment or house values, expert advice can provide flexible, creative solutions matched to their individual circumstances,” he explains.
Fergus Murphy, chief customer experience officer at Virgin Money, says people have definitely been focused on saving during the pandemic. Its recent research found that two thirds of people in Great Britain had saved money since the start of lockdown, setting aside £2,100 on average, equating to £117 billion being stashed away across the country. Some 41 percent had paid off debt.
Murphy says: “I think we’ve seen it as an opportunity to save but also to pay down debt which is really
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