Welcome to our March ‘Word from Mark Evans’.

March 18, 2022

Whilst the last few updates have centred around inflation, the risks and potential opportunities, it would be remiss not to provide some commentary and update on the situation in Ukraine from an investment point of view.

From a humanitarian point of view we can all agree this is a disaster for the people of Ukraine and the human suffering is appalling with unfortunately not much chance of a swift resolution although of course we all have to keep hope that suffering will stop as soon as possible.

It is also fair to say that no one could have confidently predicted this Russian action. Whilst troops were amassing on the border and there was clearly a risk of invasion it still felt very unlikely Russia would invade and plunge their country into a difficult war with severe economic consequences for Moscow. Much has already been written about the lack of logic in Putin’s decisions which makes predicting future developments in Ukraine very difficult.

Having said that, our portfolios and investments in general have been positioned appropriately to mitigate some of the downside and, as with COVID, we hope to come out of this crisis taking advantage of some of the upside. Looking back since the start of 2022 we have positioned our portfolios relatively defensively and, in reviewing equity holdings, we are now focusing more on “value” equities rather than those with a strong “growth” bias. This means we are focussing more on equities with long term strong fundamentals which we feel have been undervalued in the current crisis where the underlying current stock price is now below where the fundamentals of the stock suggest it should be therefore representing an investment opportunity. As always it is a balance between risk and reward, and we work very hard to make sure you are taking the right level of risk for your current circumstances. If you have any concerns at all, please do get in touch with your adviser who will be happy to discuss the situation.

I felt it may be useful to provide a little further commentary on the market in general. Stock markets have dropped and shown significant volatility around the world. NATO allies have imposed strict sanctions on Russia as they try to cripple the Russian economy to deter further aggression, but as a consequence the already high oil and gas prices have jumped even further (and may go higher yet). This brings us back to our previous updates around inflation, this is likely to lead to further inflationary movement and is why it is vital that you consider where you money is currently held as cash accounts are unlikely to provide anywhere near the returns required to attempt to keep pace with inflation. If you have significant amounts held in cash, I urge you to discuss this with your adviser as soon as possible.

 

There is no hiding from the fact we expect higher levels of volatility in the market and also this may be a prolonged period of difficulty. With volatility though there is investment opportunity, and we are working behind the scenes to make sure your money is invested appropriately given your personal circumstances. On a final note while we are focussed on your investments, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the suffering being endured by the Ukrainian people.

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