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I plan to keep in touch on a regular basis. Markets have continued their volatility and Boris Johnson has effectively ‘locked down’ the nation. The positive and swift response by western governments to this crisis has been noteworthy, not least to the investment markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (the main measure used for US stocks by economic commentators) recorded its biggest rise since 1933 earlier this week in contrast to the huge downward swings seen previously. To paraphrase Kipling, such movements should continue to be regarded as “two imposters”, as we stick to our principles of medium to long term financial planning and resist timing the markets.

I’ve heard many times that money is not important at the moment, and that is fundamentally correct. We must all observe some perspective as others (and potentially ourselves) are suffering so much. I reiterate that the welfare of our clients and staff is paramount at this time, but I also feel that it is my responsibility, along with Ben Yearsley our non-Exec investment director, to keep you informed of how we are operating as a business and also to comment on the wider market and economic implications.

We have followed government guidance and advised all staff that this is “to stay at home if you can’’. For SFP, that means that all of our employees and advisers are now working from home, fully connected to our systems, networks and research tools. Necessarily, I visit the office intermittently (it is within dog walking distance) to ensure any post (including cheques and applications) is dealt with. Our team now work in private, quiet spaces and their work is done via laptops or PCs, which log directly into our secure server in Plymouth. They retain all the security (and therefore confidentiality) they would have on their office PCs, including Cyber Essentials accreditation. Furthermore, all their phone calls (incoming and outgoing) must be conducted privately and are recorded, through the company telecoms system (via an App). Client confidentiality is maintained at all times, and all of our staff have signed official documentation confirming their adherence to this.

I would like to place on record my thanks to, and pride in, all of our wonderful team who have pulled together remarkably as this crisis has developed.

Our offices may be closed, but we remain fully functional, in order to support our client’s needs. As such, we will continue to schedule and conduct financial planning review meetings (albeit not in our offices) at the appropriate time/date. Our recommendations therein will have to be mindful of the immediate impact the virus has had on markets and provider functionality. As such we will avoid where possible signatures, paper (cheques and applications), and as always tailor recommendations to meet your ongoing short, medium and long-term objectives. Incidentally, all of our office team and advisers who have at least a five year time horizon, are fully invested in the same portfolios as our clients. We “eat our own breakfast” as it were.

The table below (FTSE 100 index), whilst self-explanatory, may also be of interest, as whilst history doesn’t repeat itself it often rhymes.

CRISIS EVENT THE FALL (TOTAL RETURN) 1 YEAR AFTER (TOTAL RETURN) 3 YEAR AFTER (TOTAL RETURN) 5 YEAR AFTER (TOTAL RETURN)
1987
‘Black Monday’
-32.04% 15.32% 57.62% 121.82%
9/11
‘Terrorist Attack’
-28.23% 27.95% 76.88% 93.46%
2008
Financial Crisis
-37.62% 49.31% 65.72% 100.35%
2020
Corona Virus
-26.96%

Source FE Fund Info

I hope this message has provided some clarity and reassurance.

In the meantime please stay safe, try not to believe everything you read on Whatsapp/Twitter/Facebook or even The Daily Mail. All of our advisers and support team are available if you have any queries at all.

We’re here if and when you need us, and we’ll keep you informed.

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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