A message to all our existing, and new clients including our professional connections. It is self-evident we are living through an unprecedented crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. All the normal activities and interactions of society and business across the world have been brought to an abrupt halt. We do not know how long the current situation will last, however what we do know is that “IT WILL PASS”. Our personal view is the worst will be over in a few months if Government guidelines are followed and that life, and the markets, will then start to recover. We urge all clients during this time, not to panic and remember the key reasons why you invest.
We also thought it important to summarise below:
- New client meetings and review meetings are now being conducted over the telephone
- We have excellent systems in place to manage client money efficiently and remotely
- Our systems provide high levels of client security
- Our Investments process is built on diversification
- Tax planning is still very important despite what is going on around us
- Unit/Share prices are low and this could present a good opportunity to invest
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection is up to £85,000 per eligible person, per bank, building society or credit union if they fail. Therefore we would recommend staying within these limits during such unprecedented times (NS&I have their own protection limits and remember are treasury backed)
- On 19 March 2020 the Bank of England took new steps to help UK’s economy withstand COVID-19. After dropping the Bank Rate to 0.25% as recently as 11 March, the Bank has gone further, cutting rates to the record low 0.1%
- The Bank Rate is now about as low as it can go without reaching zero. Lower interest rates should take some pressure off borrowers
- The Bank of England also plans to restart Quantitative Easing (QE) by buying another £200bn of bonds, mostly government bonds known as gilts. Large-scale purchases of government bonds lower the interest rates or ‘yields’ on those bonds. This pushes down the interest rates offered on loans (eg mortgages or business loans). So QE works by making it cheaper for households and businesses to borrow money – encouraging spending. In addition, QE can stimulate the economy by boosting a wide range of financial asset prices
- We think the Bank’s response is sensible and although there is more to be done, the new governor has shown he’s not afraid to make big decisions. Confidence in the markets is extremely important right now
The coming week will see significant changes to our operating model as we move more staff out of the office working environment to working from home. As we have an efficient online business model, we are well positioned to do this and you will notice very little change apart from face-face contact is now conducted over the phone. We will continue to communicate with you through the usual channels.
Rest assured, we are all here for you and will support in any way we can.
Kind regards and best wishes
Ben Allen & Michael Crisp