The silly season isn’t over yet, says David Cowell from Myddleton Croft Investment Managers. Not by a long way, unfortunately.
I decided that this week there would be a true rant, so here goes:
The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane has been tipped to replace Martin Wheatley as boss of the Financial Conduct Authority. Another sure sign that the Treasury either knows nothing about financial services or is so stacked full of economists that they need more jobs for the boys. In short, the financial lunatics appear to be in charge of the exchequer asylum.
Communications staff at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport decided to get involved with “National Poohsticks Day” last week by tweeting safety advice such as, “When playing Poohsticks, do not allow children to lean out over sides of the bridge.” And, “When playing Poohsticks, check bridge side barriers are a safe height with no large gaps.” The Taxpayers’ Alliance exists to publicise the huge waste of taxpayers’ money in our ‘free country’. They are well worth support.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in its thematic review, TR 14/5, on the supervision of retail investment advice and specifically the delivery of independent advice, comments on the use of platforms.
There is a requirement for firms offering independent advice to be aware of the limitations of platforms. Additionally, the review states that firms must also take reasonable steps to ensure it uses a platform that presents retail investment products without bias and satisfy themselves that the platform is only remunerated as permitted by the rules. The ‘without bias’ bit is quite interesting as I can think of one or two platforms that actively promote their own preferences. You know who they are.
Lawyers and accountants have attacked Government plans to charge individuals who appeal decisions made by HM Revenue & Customs. The Law Society warns the proposals to cut costs in the judicial system both undermine access to independent rulings and make the tax office too powerful, the F T reports. There would be a £200 to £1,000 charge for hearings – depending on complexity – while going to the Upper Tribunal would cost £100 initially and up to £2,000 for a hearing.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers says: “The Government is effectively selling justice by saying that you need to pay for the courts.” This either needs stopping or, for example, complainants to the FOS need to pay too. In both cases the defendants are presumed guilty.
Reality Check: On a happier note, on Wednesday and Thursday this week I was attending a very good conference at Harrogate which was kindly funded by a number of fund management houses at which they presented various of their funds. Whilst I am grateful for the opportunity to hear such a number at one venue, I was struck by the fact that all their performance was quoted to the end of July. Whilst I understand that their marketing departments produce the figures to the end of each calendar month, it would have been enlightening to know what happened in August?
On that theme, below are listed some of the fund sectors’ performance for the year to yesterday:
- Japan – +6.76%;
- Europe – +5.21%;
- N America – -2.32%;
- UK All Cos – +2.70%;
- Asia Pacific ex Japan – -11.02%;
- Mixed 20-60% – -0.62%
For the record, our own 20-60% portfolio (Balanced Moderate) did +4.8% and Tactical Growth, 5.7%. Res ipsa loquitur.
A man and his wife are awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push. “Not a chance,” says the husband, “it is 3:00 in the morning!” He slams the door and returns to bed.
“Who was that?” asks his wife. “Just some drunk guy asking for a push,” he answers. “Did you help him?” she asks. “No, I did not, it’s 3:00 in the morning and it is pouring rain out there!”
“Well, you have a short memory,” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself! God loves drunk people too.”
The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain. He calls out into the dark, “Hello, are you still there?” “Yes,” comes back the answer. “Do you still need a push?” calls out the husband. “Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark. “Where are you?” asks the husband.
“Over here on the swing ,” replies the drunk.
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