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Improving the Constitutional Balance

You think Nicola Sturgeon’s tartan hordes are going to tilt the representational balance, asks David Cowell from Myddleton Croft Investment Managers? Relax, it’s nothing new. (At your own risk, David, at your own risk…)

According to Artemis, under the reign of King James V of Scotland (1512-1542), he was able to appoint five of his illegitimate sons as the abbots of St Andrews, Holyrood, Kelso, Melrose and Coldingham. The church had become many times richer than the crown, and in this way James thought he could redress the balance. After all, he had 11 illegitimate children to support. Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews, had only eight. I assume that James Vl of Scotland, who became James l of England, was legitimate. But how did they know?

The fixed income sell-off has been sparked by an easing of deflationary fears, with the eurozone having escaped falling prices in April. That has prompted investors to reassess the wafer-thin yields on bonds, especially those, such as shorter-dated German government debt, that have fallen into negative territory. It has also led to fears that the European Central Bank could end its quantitative easing programme, which supports bonds by printing money to buy them, early. However, in the last few days world bond markets have taken fright; at one stage, the US long bond was showing an 18% capital loss. So much for ‘Risk Free Returns’.


How about this for steady returns? Equity returns with less than gilt volatility. Contact Julie Jones julie.jones@mcim.co.uk  for more details:

MC chart May 2015

Aviva is considering selling its stake in advice network Tenet, it appears. Following its merger with Friends Life, it will become a majority shareholder in Tenet, owning 47 per cent of the firm. Standard Life owns 25% while Aegon owns 22%. One regulatory consultant remarked: “All of Tenet’s shareholders would like to sell if they could get any value back.” Quite.


Iraqi  terrorist Khay Rahnajet didn’t pay enough postage on a letter  bomb. It came back with ‘return to sender’ stamped  on it. Forgetting it was the bomb, he opened it.


Barclays and RBS are set to be fined after pleading guilty to forex fixing. Barclays previously opted out of a joint settlement on currency manipulation in November which saw six banks paying a £2.7bn collective fine. In making a deal with authorities this week, the banks are expected to pay up to a further £3bn in settlements. Barclays revealed last month it had set aside an additional £800m in preparation for forex fines, while RBS said last week it has reserved an additional £334m. US banks JP Morgan and Citigroup will also plead guilty to the rigging charges and are expected to pay billions of dollars in fines but there has been a slight delay in the formal announcement due to one of the US regulators havering.


Some of Britain’s biggest high street lenders are eyeing a windfall that could total more than £4bn from a takeover of Visa Europe. It is reported that Visa Europe’s board appointed investment bankers at Morgan Stanley in recent days to advise it‎ on discussions about a bid approach from its New York-listed sister, Visa Inc.


Industry bodies are looking to create a “coalition” with consumer groups to help strengthen the voice of the advice profession and improve trust in the sector. In an article published this week, representatives of these consumer groups have expressed negative sentiment to such a move. This isn’t surprising as half of the groups mentioned are profit centres in their own right and virtually all their leaders have a vested interest in the status quo. Turkeys and Christmas come to mind. Funnily enough, one of the big private equity firms is unloading most of its stake in Saga.


There follows what may be construed as an outrageously sexist story. However, it is actually a pro-alcohol story:

Woman: If in year 1 you spent £3000 on beer, accounting for inflation, the past 20 years puts your spending at about £100,000, correct?

Man: Correct

Woman: Do you know that if you didn’t drink so much beer, that money could have been invested and after accounting for compounding you could have now bought a new Ferrari?

Man: Do you drink beer?

Woman: No

Man: Where’s your Ferrari?


 

Have a good weekend

David Cowell

Director

For and on behalf of Myddleton Croft Investment Managers

1 Woodside Mews

Clayton Wood Close

Leeds

LS16 6QE

Tel:        0113 274 7700

Fax:       0113 274 7711

www.myddletoncroft.co.uk

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