Our Views on the Markets and the Economy

Articles, investment updates and economic analysis

Geopolitical risk and the end of cheap money is the new normal

What is the new normal? Globally, financial markets are coming to terms with a new geopolitical, economic and policy landscape. 

The most dramatic change is geopolitical uncertainty and the risk of a further splintering world order. Many possible paths exist, and the multiple elections this year add to these.

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Comparing apples to apples: how peer groups facilitate better analysis of investment decisions

A common goal among investors (and indeed investment providers) is to assess how a strategy is doing compared to competitors. Sometimes like-for-like comparisons are not so easy to attain, yet when you find an indicator that regularly proves its worth, it can greatly help investors to decide what level of risk and what investments are appropriate for them.

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Stagnating economy and a pyrrhic victory over inflation

I warned of a pyrrhic victory over inflation. That is what we are now seeing as the UK economy contracted in the second half of last year under the weight of tight macro-economic policy. Inflation is 4% and is decelerating and likely to reach the 2% inflation target by the second quarter. Yet macroeconomic policy in terms of monetary and fiscal policy has remained too tight.

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What questions are on the minds of investors now?

We recently held an event where attendees asked key financial planning and investing questions related to what was on their mind for 2024 and beyond. Here is an edited version of some of their questions and answers.

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Moving slowly towards much needed rate cuts

This week captured the heart of the current market debate: will it be a soft landing, or not, and with interest rates in the west having peaked, will central banks there signal a pivot to easing, or instead a continued pause?

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“I’ve just got divorced – how should I invest my £460,000 settlement lump sum?”

Our CEO Charlotte Ransom answers a weekly question for readers of the i paper – helping them to better understand their investments and how to effectively plan their finances to achieve their long-term goals. Many of these questions are also highly relevant for Netwealth readers.

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Data leads markets to temper expectations

2022 was the year of peak inflation. 2023 the year of peak interest rates. 2024 could be described as the year of peak politics, with seven of the ten most populous nations going to the polls. Thus, politics and geopolitics may never be far from the focus of markets, but at the start of the year attention has been more on monetary policy stances and in particular the speed and scale at which inflation and policy rates may fall in the US. 

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7 ways to be better financially prepared in 2024

We can only speculate what 2024 will bring to the economy and investment markets, to society and to our personal circumstances. Some events will happen we don’t expect, some will have a greater impact than we predict, and some things will deliver a milder outcome. Yet there are steps we can take – and habits to embed – to help us better face situations we anticipate, and be better prepared for events which take us by surprise.

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My responses to the Financial Times and The Times economists’ surveys for 2024

Both The Times and The Financial Times carry the results of their start of the year survey of economists. There were 41 respondents to The Times survey and the FT’s survey, which also includes several academics, had 90 respondents. My responses are shown below.

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Articles of the year

There were challenges and opportunities for investors and those preparing for their future in 2023. To put things in context we again wrote about the investment, financial planning and economic themes that matter to people and help them to make better financial decisions. The articles below are among those that have been read and shared the most.

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