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What to do in a crisis


As the world moves on from the impact of the pandemic, through an invasion in Europe, to greater economic uncertainty, Lowes Consultant Chris Milsom considers the best course of action for investors.

There is little doubt that in terms of the UK economy and our savings and investments, we are facing continued uncertainty. The unprecedented events that have happened over the past two
years, exacerbated in Europe by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have caused marked disruption to the way we live.

There is no doubt there are tougher economic times ahead. Most countries are now facing supply chain issues, inflation is continuing to rise, there is the prospect of central banks instigating a faster increase in base interest rates and the cost of energy is increasing. In addition, there are further pressures on commodities, including gas, oil and wheat, due to the war in Ukraine. All of these will add to the economic issues and affect the cost of everyday living.

Stock markets have taken hits and with the economic uncertainty, and the tougher decisions this will inevitably engender, stock market volatility, which is driven by investor sentiment, is likely to continue.

There can be an overwhelming urge in these times is to step out of our investments. This is the natural fight-or-flight mechanism that’s hard-wired into our psychology and subconscious. It can be very hard to ignore.

But in times of market volatility, logic over emotion must prevail and time and time again, taking a contrary stance by staying calm and avoiding a knee-jerk reaction has been proven to be the best policy.

Investments sold while markets are suffering from the uncertainty of geopolitical events is money lost both now, as investors could be selling in a market downturn and potentially for less than they paid for the asset, and in the future, as the capital will be gone and so investors will not benefit from any market recovery once more positive sentiment returns.

The biggest day of outflows from the markets during the credit crisis in 2008/09 corresponded with the low point of the market. This means more investors sold on the lowest day than at any other point in the two years before that. They exited out of fear but how did they know when best to reinvest? It would have been the very next day because from that point onwards their money would have started growing again. But how many people would have taken that course of action – or known to do so?

We saw the same kind of response with the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The uncertainty caused by the unprecedented impact of the new virus caused people to panic and have knee-jerk responses which will have cost them money because markets quickly began recovering as governments took action.

On the other side of the coin, is the question of whether people should invest or put off retiring because of uncertainty in the markets.

What we must always keep in mind is that markets reflect mass investor sentiment. Logically, the best companies will continue to create value and grow.

Keeping your head while all about you are losing theirs is how investors avoid solidifying losses.

In the past 15 years, we have seen a global Financial Crisis, Brexit, a two-year global pandemic and conflict in Europe – major events that have impacted markets – and yet over time it can be seen that stock markets recover from their falls and continue to rise.

There have been many stockmarkets ‘crashes’ witnessed since the FTSE 100 was established in 1984 at a base of 1,000, yet despite them all, the index has climbed to a high of over 7,500. In addition to the rise in the index, investors also have benefitted from dividend payments, reinvested or taken as income, which has delivered further value over the years. It is this cumulative and long-term trajectory on which we need to focus, which takes into account that with upside inevitably there will be periods of downside.

Which is why when we experience these periods of short-term volatility it is important to be clear that financial plans should always be focused on the best longer-term strategic decisions.

As advised investors, you are in the best position, as we design the plans and portfolios for our clients with those strategies front of mind, including diversification of portfolios with a wide range of investments across different areas. You can be more sanguine in the face of short-term volatility because many of you will have experienced market crashes before and/or know that as your Independent Financial Adviser we have your back. For us, it’s business as usual.

 

Managed Investment Portfolios Service
Uncertain times are one reason Lowes recently launched our Managed Investment Portfolios service, which offers eight investment portfolios allocated to collective investment schemes, such as open-ended investment schemes (OEICs) and unit trusts run by experienced fund managers.

This service has discretionary authorisation, which in layman’s terms means our investment managers can manage the portfolios using their discretion, and so are able to quickly make changes to the investments within the portfolios. Financial advisers usually work on an ‘advised’ authorisation, which means any changes must be communicated and agreed by the individual client before they can be actioned. This can take time to put in place. In times where decisions need to be made and actions  taken more quickly, the discretionary model allows that to happen. It also allows our managers to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

Launching the Lowes Managed Investment Portfolios is another way we have been able to benefit our clients using our longevity and experience in the financial advice market.

The portfolios offer a range of options depending on the risk tolerances and specific investment objectives of individual clients. Lowes’ advisers will identify the portfolio, or combination of portfolios, which best suits each client’s appetite for risk, capacity for loss and which most closely matches their investment objectives.

The eight portfolios offer options for growth, income or a combination of the two and are managed by our award-winning team. The team will also re-balance the portfolios to ensure asset and individual fund
allocations do not drift too far from the original, intended parameters. Once in place, the management of the portfolios, including any fund switching, all happens promptly and seamlessly behind the scenes.

If you would like to find out more about our Managed Investment Portfolios, you can click here

 

Best of hands
Whether your investments use Lowes’ advisory or discretionary portfolio services, we look to deliver the very best management of your investments, using our many years of experience and expertise, our dedicated investment and support teams combined with our Advisers’ knowledge of your individual financial circumstances and needs. All of which we hope will give you greater peace of mind in uncertain times and help you build your long-term wealth.

 

Lowes Advisers have many years of experience and a great support team to help our clients build and maintain their wealth, giving the peace of mind that comes with finances being dealt with by professionals - even in the most volatile economic environments. 

Whether you are an existing client with a query, or if you are just starting to consider your financial future- please, get in touch today. Call us on 0191 281 8811, email us at Hello@Lowes.co.uk or visit lowes.co.uk/Hello.

Please note: No investment is risk-free and even the lowest risk investment carries the potential of significant loss in the most extreme circumstances and so diversification is key. Risk tolerance and capacity for the loss will be discussed with your adviser before any investment is recommended.

 

About the author

Chris Milsom

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