Thursday, 22 June 2017
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A Phoney War - Waiting For BrexitIn the three months since the European Union referendum in the UK, there has been little impact other than the change of Prime Minister and the weakness in Sterling.

The FTSE 100 recovered quickly and even the FTSE 250 has regained its pre-vote levels, confounding the warnings from a range of experts. However, performance has diverged between companies with substantial overseas earnings and those which are more domestically-exposed.
Brexit will take several years to come to fruition. During this time, economic growth may slow because of uncertainty, but we do not expect a recession. So far, leading economic indicators confirm this. However, this period could be difficult, with politically-driven volatility shaping the investment landscape.

What’s Changed For Pensions Since Brexit?For many expatriates, their pension income is the key to living the retirement lifestyle of their choice. Now that Brexit is imminent, should you have concerns about your pension security? Here we take a look at the key implications for the State Pension, defined contribution schemes and defined benefit or ‘final salary’ schemes.

Euro Weekly UpdateLosses of two thirds of a yen, a quarter of a Swiss cent and nearly one US cent pushed the euro into the back end of the field: only the Northern Scandinavian crowns, the pound and the South African rand had a worse run. The euro did nothing particularly wrong: most of the economic data from Germany and pan-Euroland beat forecast. It was just that investors' attention was elsewhere. It was on the United States, where it continues to look likely that interest rates will go up in December. And it was on Britain, where the referendum result continues to cripple sterling.

Euro Weekly UpdateIn global terms it was a mediocre week for the euro. It lost half a Japanese yen and three quarters of a US cent. That was despite a half-cent jump on Tuesday after investors seized upon the almost certainly erroneous idea that the European Central Bank is about to begin winding down its asset purchase scheme. Uninvestable banks’ lending less money is not at all what ECB monetary policy aims to achieve. So investors put two and two together and, bingo! The ECB must be preparing the way for an early end to the QE scheme! The euro jumped a cent higher against the US dollar.

POST-BREXIT - USA versus EuropeIs it purely coincidence that there are no European equivalents of Apple, Microsoft, Google, eBay, Facebook, Netflix or Twitter?” Our latest investment report considers the relative merits of the US and Europe as places to do business and in which to invest. SAAC has been positive on US equities for over seven years. Over this time, this position has been challenged frequently, due to valuation and/or economic momentum.
The report considers a list of US companies that either do not have equivalents in Europe (Google, Amazon, Walt Disney Co. and Berkshire Hathaway) or are distinctly higher quality than their peers (Exxon, Coca-Cola, Visa and Nike) and concludes that, all other things being equal, the US is a more favourable environment for business. This is not simply about the market in which companies operate, but also about differences in management culture. Many factors could account for this, including the size of the US market, and its common language and legal infrastructure; access to capital and the approach of banks to lending; intellectual agglomeration around universities and Silicon Valley; and antitrust policies and political lobbying. It also considers microeconomic factors, such as capital allocation, remuneration and dividend policies.

Euro Weekly UpdateAs investors swung from nervousness to confidence and back again the safe-haven euro rallied and dipped and rallied again. The first swing related to the US presidential candidate's debate, which Donald Trump entered in the lead and came out of in second place.

Blacktower MD, John Westwood, to take FEIFA forward into Brexit as ChairmanJohn Westwood, Managing Director and founder of The Blacktower Group, has taken up the post of Chairman at FEIFA, the Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers, following the trade association’s AGM on 21st September.

Following two years as an Executive Committee Member John is both pleased and proud to take on this important role.

Tips to future-proof your finances in the face of BrexitBrexit is still big news, despite there being no certainty about when it will begin or what will actually happen when it does. We probably won’t know what’s in store until Prime Minister Theresa May kick-starts the official negotiation process – at this stage it looks like this will be early 2017.

In the meantime, what can you do to protect your savings and investments?