Wednesday, 23 January 2008

A view on the stock-markets

This is an extract from a recent statement by Anthony Bolton, Managing Director of Investments at Fidelity. Anthony is someone for whom I would have huge respect as he's a very successful, very experienced and very level-headed investor.

“In my three decades of stock-market investing, I have experienced many economic cycles and extraordinary events. The circumstances behind the current volatility might be unique, but investors’ reactions to them have many parallels to those I have witnessed in the past. The market falls around the middle of 2007 were clearly prompted by concerns over financial liquidity in credit markets. Six months on, the credit crunch is now taking its toll on growth in the broader economy, in Europe, the United States, Japan, and other parts of the world.

The actions of central banks may help to restore stability to stock markets, and I remain optimistic about the long-term prospects for equity investing. Investors should be prepared to ride out these fluctuations and take a longer-term view. Today’s volatility comes at the end of a bull run for world stock markets that has lasted much longer than the average. There is no reason to suggest that another bull run won’t follow at some point.”

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

How Independent is your broker...really?

Happy New Year to all our customers and friends.

That time of year again - reviewing business for 2007 and wondering where it will all come from in 2008.

In January last year I published details of where the mortgage business went to in 2006. See this post. This year, I've done the same exercise and expanded on it.

In 2007, we placed mortgage business with six lenders and no one lender got more than 32% of our overall mortgage business. In the same year, we placed life/pension/investment business with eight companies and no one company got more than 44% of our life/pension/investment business.

While many brokers will claim independence, the acid test is how many can confirm that they actually placed business with fourteen different financial institutions on behalf of clients in a business year? Be wary of so-called brokers who only place business with two or three companies - you've got to ask why.