Merry Christmas

Well that’s another year over.

And a tumultuous one its been, too.  Not just for ABFM but the country as a whole.

The Brexit negotiations seem to have taken up most of the front pages of the papers and despite all the travels between London and Brussels, we seem no nearer to a solution that is acceptable to all, not least our MPs.  Among many other events, heavy snow fell in February and caused disruption across much of the UK (and caused me to grow a beard because I couldn’t get to work and I remained unshaven for 5 days!) plus we had a Royal wedding in May.

ABFM moved office on the 22nd August and we strengthened our team with the addition of Katy who joined our staff in October.

I travelled to London in November to attend a Conference about Ethical and Socially Responsible Investment and found it to be most enlightening.  Ethical and Socially Responsible Investment has become an important part of our business and it was a valuable trip in that respect.

Once again, I attended the Million Dollar Round Table Conference in North America which was attended by over 14,000 Advisers from all over the world.  Disappointingly only half a Dozen or so attended from Scotland and I was the only practising Financial Adviser from the West of Scotland.

Later today, we have the pleasure of joining our old neighbours, the Vintage Malt Whisky Company, for Christmas Lunch in a local restaurant.  I imagine a few drams will be consumed over the course of the Lunch, but everyone will retain a degree of sobriety I am sure.

May I take this opportunity of wishing all my readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.



Westerton Male Voice Choir’s Christmas Concert

Up until now all my blogs have been about financial services with a bit of motivation thrown in midweek.

Today I thought, it would be nice to change the topic somewhat by making mention of the Westerton Male Voice Choir, (of which I am a member) and the Choir’s Christmas Concert which took place last Thursday and Friday in New Kilpatrick Parish Church, Bearsden in front of 600 fans (well – that’s what I like to think of them!).

From my point of view, it was a great night and really, really enjoyable. From John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth” to Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”, the 55 strong Choir gave their all and received fantastic applause from the assembled masses (!).

In between, we performed the really beautiful and thought provoking “Thankful”, written by Carole Bayer Sager (among others) and recently performed by Josh Groban, and reached out to the kids with songs like “When Santa got stuck up the Chimney”.

Myself and my fellow choristers are grateful, not just for the fantastic attendance but also for their generosity for their charitable donations  to our Chosen Charity, Prostate Scotland.  Thank you one and all.


National Minimum Wage Rates

Just a note to remind you that new rates for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) apply from the 1st April.

From the 1st April 2018, the following hourly rates will apply

  • NLW rate for workers aged 25 and over – £7.83
  • The main rate for workers ages 21-24 – £7.38
  • The 18 – 20 rate – £5.90
  • The 16 – 17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
  • the apprentice rate* – £3.70

*for apprentices under 19, or 19 or over and in the 1st year of their apprenticeship

Remember there are no exemptions from paying the NMW on the grounds of the size of the business.

Using Multi-Asset Funds in Client Portfolios

If the recent volatility in stockmarkets has demonstrated anything, it is that holding a diversified portfolio of investments rather than relying on any one asset class for returns is usually a wise approach.   So says the Investment Association.

It is no wonder the popularity of multi-asset funds is soaring, they say, with trade body, the Investment Association, reporting its Mixed Asset sectors have been taking in significant inflows.

We’ve been following this formula for many years now and we are pleased that our views are receiving the approval of the IA.

And one other thing to remember, particularly in times of volatility;  “It’s not the timing of the market, it’s the time in the market!

‘Forgotten’ funds to be released by banks/building societies –

An estimated £300m in forgotten and unclaimed money is to be released by banks and building societies in order to support disadvantaged people and those trapped in spiral debt.

The money will be sourced from unclaimed bank accounts which have no owner or have been left ‘forgotten’.

An estimated £2bn is currently sitting in these accounts – £330 million of which the government plans to donate to charity.

Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch said: “By unlocking millions of pounds from dormant accounts for a range of good causes, we can make a real difference to lives and communities across the country.”

No mention of what is happening to the rest!