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I wanted to contact you with my thoughts on the implications of the virus on investments generally, and our business specifically.

From an investment perspective, I hope you have taken reassurance from the comments made by Ben, either via our internal communications or via the national press (most notably The Mail, Times, FT and Telegraph). The markets will continue to be volatile for some time but, unlike the last crisis over a decade ago (when some wondered whether there would be an economy at all after the run on the banks and other major financial institutions), our banks generally are in good health and all Western governments will intervene directly and positively to shore up the economy. The stock market cannot be timed with any certainty, and we maintain our stance of investing for the long term in a manner appropriate to a client’s risk profile/capacity for loss. It is in all our interests to maximise investment returns over the medium to long term, but all of us accept there will be volatility (ups and downs) along the way. There has been some positive news from China overnight that there are no new ‘home grown’ cases of the virus, and people are being allowed out, in stages. All 42 ‘Apple’ stores have reopened in China which offers a glimmer of light to the rest of the world.

From a business perspective, I would like to reiterate that the welfare of our clients and staff is at the heart of our culture. As such, we have taken appropriate steps to mitigate the risks associated with the virus, in line with the latest government guidelines:

  • Clients who are due an annual review are being offered the option of conducting it by phone, or by video link (Whatsapp/Facetime).
  • The majority of our staff members are working from home. As the virus escalated some weeks ago, I decided to invest in fully programmed laptops for all of our team. This allows them access to all the programmes, tools and analysis available via their PCs in the office, remotely. We are still retaining some core staffing in our Plymouth Head Office to ensure our service is maintained (incidentally, our IT provider informed me that since Monday’s government guidelines concerning homeworking, the cost of laptops doubled initially and they now cannot be sourced at all).
  • All of our team who are working from home can also access their office phone remotely (via a mobile phone app). This allows staff to continue to make and receive work calls whilst at home, on a recorded line. Please be aware that if you do make contact via telephone then it may be from someone working at home.
  • Ben continues to talk to fund managers directly to establish their positions and their views on the markets. His pedigree having previously worked for Charles Stanley as Head of Investment Research, after many years at Hargreaves Lansdown, gives him a unique ‘inside track’ to many of the UK’s leading fund managers.
  • Finally, and importantly, all four of our advisers are working diligently to ensure that our client’s objectives continue to be monitored and that our recommendations continue to be appropriate. I have always maintained absolute faith in the integrity and expertise of all of our advisers, and that acumen has never been clearer than it is today. The professional relationship they evidence with clients is second to none. That is one of the reasons I have resisted any expansion of the adviser team over the last few years, despite external overtures to do so. As such, despite their busy schedules, all of our advisers and support team are available if you have any queries at all.

Thank you for your forbearance, and for the many kind messages we have received. As a robust business, with loyal clients and a superbly efficient team, I feel we are well placed to push forward as we eventually emerge from this crisis.

Stay well.

Best wishes,
Jon

This article represents a personal view from Jon Treharne, and is based on his opinion of economic data from across the globe. It should not be used for investment purposes and does not constitute advice. For investment advice please refer to your financial adviser. No party should act or refrain from acting on anything contained in this material. Relevant primary materials should always be consulted at all times for all purposes. No statements or representations made in this material, document or at the presentation are legally binding on Shore Financial Planning (Plymouth) Ltd or the recipient and no liability is accepted in connection with this material. This article may not be reproduced or circulated without prior permission. Issued by Shore Financial Planning (Plymouth) Ltd, authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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