David Cowell from Myddleton Croft Investment Managers says his time down under has given him a new perspective on how we do things on this side of the planet. Not that it makes much more sense, mind.
One of the things that impressed me about Oz was the way they can be quite rude or suggestive in their advertising as well as loving alliteration. I was looking at the reports from the US firm, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and thinking that if it was an Aussie company they would have called it Bed, Bath and Behind.
The other thing that tickled my fancy was visiting the Perth Royal Mint, where they still make coins and have the largest single gold coin in the world. It weighs 1 tonne and is about 30 inches in diameter. Its legal tender value is A$100,000. They also have a weighing machine which tells you how much you are worth in gold at the spot price that instant. I was worth A$5,440,281.98 (£2,775,654.07), and the staff now view me with renewed respect.
US unemployment claims rose unexpectedly last week , by 12,000 to 294,000, while the number of new house-building projects rose by only 2% year-on-year in March, a lower rise than had been expected. I have thought for a long time that September would be the earliest that the Fed would start to raise interest rates. This news would certainly seem to rule out June.
Italy sold a total €9.4bn (£6.74bn) of a new inflation-linked bond. Demand was more than was on offer from the government, according to Reuters. The bond pays 0.5% plus inflation. I am getting increasingly concerned about the lack of liquidity in bond markets. Perhaps this is the reason that any new issue is oversubscribed.
The FCA has fined BNY Mellon, owners of Pershing, the world’s largest custody bank, £126m for failing to comply with custody rules. The regulator took the action against BNY Mellon’s London branch and its international division for failing to sufficiently record, reconcile and protect client custody assets. BNY Mellon also failed to prevent the commingling of client assets and firm assets; to implement CASS arrangements sufficient for the business, and used safe custody assets to settle other client transactions without permission of the client. That’s a pretty comprehensive set of naughties but unfortunately it’s not new.
Financial services professionals will continue to leave wealth management heavyweights in favour of the relative freedom of smaller firms, according to IFP chief executive Steve Gazzard.
Wealth managers now have to contend with greater regulatory scrutiny in order to maintain business viability. Gazzard predicts further movement as advisers seek a supposed less-restrictive IFA environment. Add to that further consolidation and M&A, with Brewins now being tipped for take over and most of the big players’ profit margins being quite poor, this is likely to run and run. Question: If these people can’t make a decent profit for themselves, how can they reckon they can do it for their customers? Supplementary question: Is it due to them not having enough ‘skin in the game’? Comments welcome.
Don’t forget, money isn’t everything. However it does keep the children in touch.
Have a good weekend.
For and on behalf of Myddleton Croft Investment Managers
1 Woodside Mews
Clayton Wood Close
Tel: 0113 274 7700
Fax: 0113 274 7711