Positioning For 2020 – LGT Vestra

This podcast discusses LGT Vestra’s thoughts on positioning for 2020.

In the last three months of 2019, weak economic data has been offset by lower interest rates from the Federal Reserve, renewed asset purchases from the European Central Bank and the prospect of a ‘phase one’ US-China trade deal. In the UK, the election result brought some clarity to the outlook for Brexit. As a result, equity markets moved higher with stronger momentum causing many stock indices to close 2019 near to their all-time highs.

Whilst trade and central bank policy has driven global markets, the big news in the UK was the election result, with Boris Johnson securing an 80-seat majority. This victory will allow the Prime Minister to push through his Brexit bill without concerns about defections or the DUP. In addition, Johnson will now occupy a stronger position when entering into trade negotiations than his predecessors, with the numbers in Parliament stacked in his favour. Since the initial Brexit vote, international investors have shunned the UK market, which has since traded cheap relative to other developed markets. However, following the election, there are signs of renewed international interest in the UK market and the discount to other stock markets has narrowed. The pound has been a barometer, measuring swings in sentiment. The currency rallied sharply on the recent election result but has subsequently retreated as Johnson pledged not to extend the transition period beyond 2020. The possibility that a trade deal will not be successfully negotiated in the time available has caused concern for investors.

President Trump’s trade policy, and the resulting tariffs, has slowed international activity, particularly constraining the manufacturing sector of the global economy. The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Indices in both Germany and the US are below 50, indicating that the sector is contracting. In December, it appeared a ‘phase one’ trade deal was agreed and an extension of US tariffs on Chinese goods did not materialise. Details have yet to emerge and the extent of this first move and progress on further trade talks will be important. President Trump announced that he will sign the agreement in mid-January so we eagerly await further detail.
The Federal Reserve has been under pressure from Trump to drastically reduce interest rates. Despite lowering interest rates in response to the weaker economic data, it has not acted to nearly the extent the President demanded and is likely to remain cautious. We believe that further rate cuts may depend on economic conditions, rather than political pressure.
Whilst the last quarter has seen a firmer tone for risk assets, many of the uncertainties that have plagued markets may return in the new year. Trade is the key factor for 2020 and this will depend heavily on politicians. Trump’s impeachment, and subsequent trial, may prove a distraction but it looks likely that the Senate will divide on party lines and he will see off this challenge. With the US presidential election later this year, a strong economy may benefit his chances of re-election, thus increasing his motivation of coming to an initial agreement with China.

Looking ahead

In the year to come, trade negotiations on both sides of the Atlantic are likely to remain key to the global economic outlook. As developments unfold, this will no doubt add to market volatility, however investors should continue to look through this for longer-term value. With interest rates likely to remain low for a long period of time, equities continue to offer attractive returns relative to bonds.

Important information

Please remember the value of investments can fall as well as rise so you could get back less than you invest. Past performance does not guarantee future returns.

Sound Financial Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FRN 192052.

Forces MoneyPlan

The Forces Pension Society has formed a partnership with the Personal Finance Society (PFS), the professional body for the UK financial advisory profession, to help offer pro bono consultations to all members of the Forces Pension Society. We at Sound Financial Management are excited to be taking part in the scheme, and we are here to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need in order to secure your financial future.

Forces MoneyPlan was established in 2017, offering free guidance to sick and injured forces personnel and veterans, following on from Armed Forces charity, OnCourse Foundation.

Following a trial launch in 2018, the Forces MoneyPlan was opened up to members of Blesma. Today, Forces MoneyPlan aims to offer their services to all members of the Armed Forces and veterans, regardless of health.

What’s on offer?

Forces MoneyPlan consultations can provide a wide range of assistance to members. This includes day-to-day guidance on personal debt and finances, the different types of savings products available, retirement options, financial planning, personal injury trusts, mortgages, financial implications of starting a family, as well as offering advice on sourcing and funding care.

You don’t need substantial assets or a specific level of income to be eligible.

The Consultation

You can expect:

  • A minimum 45-minute consultation with a local financial adviser who is a member of PFS. This can be face-to-face, by telephone or via Skype, dependant on your schedule and needs.
  • A personal follow-up report after the meeting.

For more information, please visit https://www.thepfs.org/about-us/initiatives/forces-moneyplan/

Logo for the Forces MoneyPlan. The Forces Pension Society has formed a partnership with the Personal Finance Society (PFS), the professional body for the UK financial advisory profession, to help offer pro bono consultations to all members of the Forces Pension Society. We at Sound Financial Management are excited to be taking part in the scheme, and we are here to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need in order to secure your financial future.

Millennials and Money Event – 18th September 2019

Later this month, Sound Financial Management and Plymouth Junior Lawyer Division will be hosting a talk on ‘Millennials and Money’. Our advisers, Charlie Hill and Ryan May, will be covering topics such as pensions, investments and savings to help you understand how to make your money work harder for you. As millennials themselves they understand the trials and tribulations surrounding personal finances and want to help their generation buck perceptions and close the financial literacy gap.

The talk will be held at the Foot Anstey building (4 North East Quay, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth PL4 0BN) on Wednesday, 18th September 2019 (17:30PM – 19:30PM BST).
Tickets are FREE and available now at https://www.eventbrite.com/

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Bianca on 01752 207070 or email brichards@sound-financial.co.uk.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Remember: you should always seek independent financial advice from a professional in connection with making an investment decision.

Sound Financial Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Everything You Need To Know About Woodford

The link below shows a video produced by Neil Woodford which explains the reasons for his actions and details what we should now expect to happen moving forward.

We as with thousands of other investors have had the confidence in Neil Woodford as a fund manager and believe that his long-term performance will return. The decision to suspend trading of the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund will provide them time to execute the strategy of reducing the funds exposure to illiquid and unquoted stocks. The fund has historically paid a competitive dividend of around 3.4% and we are continuing to monitor this fund.

Please feel free to contact us if you should wish to discuss your position further.

How much do I need to retire?

There are many varying factors that make up every individual’s answer to this question. Sadly, there is no “one-size fits all” answer, and seeking financial advice might be a good idea if you’re unsure.

You will need to consider what you can afford to be putting into your pension. You should evaluate your day to day living expenses and liabilities (mortgage, loans, etc.) these could all affect your ability to increase your regular contributions. If you can’t afford to make higher contributions now it isn’t the end of the world, it might just result in having to make higher contributions when you are more financially stable. You are currently unable to draw money from your pension until the age of 55, so you will need to ensure that any money invested is not integral.

Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself when trying to manage your retirement savings:

What do you already have in your pension?

Looking at what you already have in your pension is the best place to start. Doing so will allow you to see how quickly you are currently building your pension and how it might look in the future, from there you can start to make informed decisions and realistic expectations.

What kind of lifestyle are you looking to have during your retirement?

Your desired lifestyle will increase or decrease the amount of money you should have saved in your pension. If you are looking to spend £30,000 a year, you need to ensure you can afford to.

When are you looking to retire?

If you are considering taking early retirement then you will need more money in your pension to ensure you don’t outlive your funds.

With your state pension, there are benefits to retiring after your state retirement age. Choosing to defer retirement results in your income being increased.

What is your attitude to risk?

We all know the saying “high risk, high reward” but you need to consider what would you do if you lost all your pension savings? Could you afford to live? If the answer is no, then you should re-consider the amount of risk your taking with regards to your money.

Equally, more ambitious retirement plans may require more risk to be achievable.

If after crunching the numbers your goals seem unobtainable it might be worth considering managing your expectations and if all of this still seems confusing it might be worth seeking financial advice.

If you would like to talk to someone about your pension or receiving more information on how we could help you with your pension, please contact Sound Financial Management via telephone (01752 207070) or via email (info@sound-financial.co.uk).

Unity Through Netball

This season we are proud to be sponsoring Unity Through Netball!

Unity Through Netball is a non-profit organisation that want’s to raise lots of money for different charities and help the physical and mental well being of everyone involved, inspired by the game we love.

UTN kicked off there first session of the season Wednesday night, the girls did great and will be entering division 6 of West Devon this season. We are excited to support and watch the development of this team.

Good luck girls!

Work Experience with Sound Financial: Jacques Hubbarde

At Sound Financial Management we are constantly striving to encourage interest within the financial services sector, especially when it comes to the future of our industry. Encouraging young enthusiastic talent into our industry is important to us and the city of Plymouth.

Our graduate scheme has provided a gateway for those leaving university wishing to develop a career within the research & advisory sectors.

The business administration apprenticeship scheme has also provided school leavers the opportunity to qualify and progress within our support teams. Our first apprentice completed their NVQ  in 2010 and we have seen many of them flourish and progress their careers with us.

Jacques Hubbarde, a GCSE student from Hele’s Secondary School recently join us for his work experience. Jacques spent the week assisting our research team, developing an insight into our industry. Jacques’s ability to grasp many of the key aspects of the financial services industry was most impressive and we hope his experience will assist his business studies at school.

When questioned about his time with us, Jacques said “My placement has confirmed my future aspirations towards a career in the financial sector”.

We are pleased we have inspired him to consider the financial services industry as a career and wish him every success in the future.


GA Golf Day 2018

Last week our director, Paul Meatyard, was invited to compete in the charity golf day held by GA Solicitors at St Mellion.

The team, made up of Mark Slade (Bruton Knowles), James Walsh (GA Solicitors), Paul Meatyard (Sound Financial Management) and Kieran Hancock (Francis Clark), enjoyed the award winning course whilst raising money for Little Things & Co. Little Things & Co. are a UK based charity offering practical and emotional support to those who have suffered the loss of a baby.

Thank you, GA for inviting us to be involved.

Do You Need a Financial Adviser?

Regardless of whether you are considering buying a financial product or looking to establish a long term financial plan, you could possibly find yourself in need of a financial adviser.

There are a number of factors that should be considered when making financial decisions. A financial adviser can help highlight these and suggest the most appropriate route for your own personal needs and circumstances. Advisers offer services ranging from holistic financial planning, to more specialist advice.

What services do financial advisers offer?

All professional financial advisers need to know their client, this is usually done by completing a ‘fact find’, this process will entail answering questions in detail about your own personal circumstances, establish what your long and short term goals are and the amount of risk you are willing to consider with regards to your investments. This will then allow the adviser to provide recommendations that are suitable to your needs and aspirations.

Types of financial adviser

There are 2 different kinds of financial adviser. An independent adviser, meaning that they offer advice on the full range of investment products from the market or a specific market segment and a restricted adviser, meaning that the range of products or providers they will look at is limited.

The benefits of getting advice

Seeking advice should result in purchasing the right product for you, meeting your needs and expectations whilst taking into consideration your personal circumstances.

Depending on the type of adviser you use, you may also have a wider range of choices than you could possibly access on your own.

The difference between advised and ‘non-advised’ sales

Generally your bank or building society will discuss with you different products and let you decide which route you take.

Although this will allow you to make an informed decision, it doesn’t necessarily ensure you leave with the product that would suit your own personal financial needs and circumstances.

When should you seek financial advice?

The answer depends on the product and your own personal circumstances. You should ask yourself these questions; can you afford to lose any money? Do you have the time to do the research? Do you know what you’re doing when it comes to investing? If something goes wrong, are you able to take responsibility for any bad decisions? If you answered ‘No’ to any of these then you might want to consider seeking financial advice. It might be worth considering the potential financial and emotional cost of not seeking advice and purchasing the wrong product.

Is it cheaper to buy without advice?

If you do not seek advice you will not have to pay a fee. However, not seeking advice could result in purchasing a product which is unsuitable for your needs and goals and some products are only available to purchase through an adviser.

What do you pay for financial advice?

A lot of advisers offer a free initial consultation.

On 31 December 2012, the law regarding financial advice fees changed. Fees are required to be established up front and agreed before any work is carried out.

You can choose to receive on-going advice to insure your investments continue to be appropriate and is invested to achieve it’s optimum performance.

Cash savings products

Because cash products such as cash ISAs and fix rate saving bonds are relatively easy to understand, you may feel that you do not require advice and feel confident to use comparison sites; these products are easy to buy directly from the provider yourself.


Investments such as shares and unit trusts can be purchased directly from the provider. However, this is only recommended if you feel you have sufficient knowledge and are confident with the placement of the investment. These products can be more complex than cash savings products, an adviser will ensure you are aware of the products available to you when making your investment. Not seeking advice could result in purchasing a product that is not suitable for you.


Your employer should offer you a workplace pension. With this they may also offer you access to an adviser who can provide guidance about the scheme.

You can choose to invest in a personal pension; in this case it’s usually best to get advice unless you really understand how these products work. Personal pensions can be used to boost your existing pension savings or to merge different schemes together.
As pensions are long-term investments, you need to ensure you understand the various types of pension available to you and pick the one most suitable for your needs and goals.

Insurance or mortgages

This can be purchased or arranged via a price comparison website or brought directly from the provider. However, it is recommended that you do seek advice for these products to ensure you end up with the correct one for your circumstances. It might also be a good idea to have the range of products and options explained to you. Some products are again only available through an adviser and seeking advice could create the opportunity for a lower rate.