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Neil Blankstone highlights the importance of innovation and client focus in investment management

As global stock markets pause for breath and new regulated exchanges enter the market, Neil Blankstone, of Liverpool-based investment manager and stockbroker Blankstone Sington, explores the latest developments and client offerings within an ever-changing investment landscape

The impact of COVID-19 has clearly created huge challenges for economies large and small, with the real-world consequences felt by businesses across the globe.

During this time however, new listings on global stock exchanges have continued to reach new highs, and market capitalisation figures from Tokyo to New York to London have seen solid growth. The wider capital markets have undoubtedly been a critical source of support in facilitating new financing when it has been most needed in the last 18 months.

Stock exchanges therefore continue to play their part, enabling access to investors seeking better returns in a low interest environment.

New products, new services, more choice

Since the formation of the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in 1995 there has been a recognition that innovation, flexibility, and a focus on the needs of smaller, more specialised businesses can create new opportunities to match investors with those in need of investment.

In recent years, there have been further innovations and new regulated products and services entering the market – once again expanding the pool of investors and businesses benefitting from regulated exchanges.

Exchanges have been created that offer the issuance, trade and management of decentralised derivative assets such as cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin, facilitating a space for the creation and settlement of synthetic assets.

Specialising in real estate, IPSX enables asset owners to raise capital, and investors to invest in real estate through a regulated exchanges.

Exchanges have been created that offer the issuance, trade and management of decentralised derivative assets such as cryptocurrencies like Ethereum or Bitcoin, facilitating a space for the creation and settlement of synthetic assets.

There is concern that such assets are not yet ready for the mainstream with regulatory bodies such as the FCA warning of the risks.

Step forward IPSX

Consequently, if this is a bit ‘too innovative’ then IPSX (The International Property Securities Exchange) as a further example is a lot more ‘grounded’.

Specialising in real estate, IPSX enables asset owners to raise capital, and investors to invest in real estate through a regulated exchange. For example, the Mailbox in Birmingham – a large prime office-led mixed-use asset – is on the exchange as Mailbox REIT plc and allows investors exposure to the long-term income streams. Investors are attracted to assets where income is derived from well-known long-term tenants, and they can see it with their own eyes, even take a drive past in the car if they wish!

The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely lead to further innovations and greater client choice – if undertaken within a flexible and agile regulatory regime

We have also seen other innovations, including the explosion of money market funds offered, again expanding choice for investors seeking to park their cash.

The International Stock Exchange (TISE) has also innovated in recent years, with updates to their listing rules and changes to the application process. TISE have taken a good slice of the global trend for increased public issuance, with the first quarter of 2021 seeing more new listings than in any other first quarter since the inception of TISE in 1998.

Back then, the debate was around whether the life company or platform model would emerge as the front runner for new business.

A decade later and that debate has been firmly put to the whole advice process via smartphones or tablets, offering a user experience tet when we look back from the 20-year anniversary of IFA Magazine.

Conclusion

The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely lead to further innovations and greater client choice – if undertaken within a flexible and agile regulatory regime.

Private investors who have not previously engaged with stock exchanges are looking at new regulated markets – IPSX being a prime example.

Innovative businesses therefore have more choice when raising finance, which will keep the wheels of the economy greased.

The role of specialist investment managers and brokers is also changing. To ensure clients benefit from new opportunities there is a requirement to scan the horizon, reach out, and stay on top of any new innovations, product and services – something Blankstone Sington does very well indeed.

About Neil Blankstone, Director, Business Development at Blankstone Sington

Neil leads Blankstone Sington’s IHT team. He has worked at the firm for over 30 years and is the 2nd generation to the company’s original founders. Starting in June 1987 as a trainee in the dealing room, Neil initially became an investment adviser before gaining authorisation for investment management. He joined the firm’s main board in 1999. His main responsibilities are IHT portfolio management and business development, including relationships with other professional intermediaries.

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