IMS Monthly Update

  • 1st October 2021

    At our recent investment committee meeting, I asked the speaker from Blackrock for his thoughts on the current state of markets in light of the potential headwinds we are monitoring. Primarily I was thinking about the impact of the tapering of the Fed’s asset purchase programme, but I also included the rapidly approaching debt ceiling deadline as well as the potential contagion effect of the Evergrande situation in China. It’s fair to say that I was more than a little surprised to hear that his view was that markets had already “priced in” the potential risks.

  • 1st September 2021

    One of the themes from the quarterly review centred on the sustainability of the market rally we’ve enjoyed since the second quarter of 2020. The recovery from the pandemic low point has been unusual both in how quickly it occurred and also in its scale. In some markets, such as the American S&P 500, it took just 6 months for share prices to bounce back while many of the main indices in the EU reached their previous highs after a year. In the UK, the FTSE 100 is not quite back to its former level, but as we’ve discussed before, there are other factors at play that have held back our recovery.

  • 1st July 2021

    The first half of a year that saw us take the first stuttering steps back to normality ended on a positive note with the new Health Secretary suggesting that Covid restrictions for England would come to an end later this month. And for those of a footballing persuasion, the good news kept on coming. However, while the pandemic remained a recurrent theme over the period, the dominant story from an investment perspective was the return of inflation.

  • 1st June 2021

    All of the IMS portfolios have a mandate that specifies a minimum and maximum level of equity which sets the tramlines between which we have to remain. Below this high level view there are a number of other constraints that detail the maximum and minimum weight we can allocate to a fund, how many sectors we must include, and so on. These mandates were set out when the portfolios were originally created and they form the framework around which we build our asset allocations and fund selections.

  • 1st April 2021

    March is typically a wet and pretty miserable month, and that felt especially the case as we began yet more weeks of lockdown, with our freedoms to travel and to socialise limited. However, towards its end we entered British summer time, with the clocks springing forward to give us an additional hour of evening light, many areas enjoyed record high temperatures, and, as we headed into the 4-day Easter bank holiday weekend, we passed the first stop on Boris Johnson’s roadmap for unwinding lockdown restrictions.

  • 1st March 2021

    This update was written on the anniversary of when Covid first started to impact on global markets. By the end of February 2020 the virus had been devastating China for over a month, but western economies had remained bizarrely aloof. That all changed when Italy became the first western country to shows signs that we might not be immune. It is often said that hindsight is 20-20 which seems to be a rather fitting saying given the lack of awareness or reaction from governments in the early part of that year.