George Michael fans will remember this song Freedom, written by him in 1990 after breaking free from WHAM and deciding to do things his way. As 2021 draws to a close, I think it’s worth taking a moment to look back at this time last year when we were all faced with a Christmas without our freedom, unable to spend the festive period with those we love due to the tight Covid restrictions in place at that time. In the UK, depending on what ‘tier’ you were in, your Christmas bubble lasted only for Christmas Day itself, with many areas under a stay-at-home order and non-essential shops remaining closed. Without action, Johnson said, “infections would soar, hospitals would become overwhelmed and many thousands more would lose their lives”.
In Spain each autonomous region had its own rules, and at times in 2020 we were only allowed to leave our homes on essential journeys for groceries or for work if our occupation was considered ‘essential’. Life as we knew it had gone. More of us are now Amazon shoppers than ever before and Zoom has definitely come into its own! We were all living under a state of emergency with regular police patrols watching for those who couldn’t help but try to maintain their freedom rather than putting their faith in the system and following the rules imposed upon us!
Whilst 2020 was dominated by how COVID-19 spread across the globe, 2021 has been about ending the pandemic through vaccine distribution in order to give people back their freedom. In January 2021 the United Kingdom led the fight against COVID and began to inoculate its population with the COVID-19 vaccine.
As the vaccination programme was rolled out worldwide, people began to feel some hope, or at least cautious optimism that the pandemic could recede to the background, but there was still the threat that new mutations of the COVID-19 virus could bring it back, and it might be even stronger.
First identified in India in December 2020, the Delta variant swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain before reaching the U.S in March this year, where it quickly surged. it’s estimated that the average person infected with the original coronavirus strain will infect 2.5 other people. In the same environment, Delta will spread from one person to maybe 3.5 or 4 other people.
We’ve all been asked to trust the vaccines, but the coronavirus maze, it seems, continues to become more complex without an exit in sight and a variant round every corner! Here we are at the end of November 2021 digesting the name and potential implications of the most recent variant … Omicron.
According to disease experts interviewed by Reuters, Omicron shares several key mutations with two previous variants, Beta and Gamma that made them less vulnerable to vaccines. In addition, Omicron has 26 unique mutations, many of them in regions targeted by vaccine antibodies.
Apparently, earlier variants, such as Beta, also had mutations that rendered the vaccines less effective, but the vaccines still helped prevent severe disease and death. Even if neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccines become less effective, other immune system components known as T cells and B cells will likely compensate… let’s hope the experts are right!
You may at this point be wondering why I am focusing my editorial on the impact of Coronavirus … the answer? Monitoring the pandemic and its potential impact on the global economy is all part of my job! The pandemic has proved that planning for the unexpected is key, and that makes your task of finding the right financial adviser critical.
Whilst it’s impossible to predict what the future holds for investors, one thing I can say with certainty is that change creates opportunities. For instance, in America there were 4.3 million new business start-ups in 2020, an increase of 24% from the year before and by far the most in the decade and a half that the government has kept track. The numbers are expected to be even higher this year. Start-ups are a key source of job growth, innovation and economic resiliency. The S&P 500 (the index tracking the performance of the 500 largest companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States) grew by over 8% in 2020. So the US has been a great place to invest during the Pandemic, even if you’re invested in a passive index tracker fund.
By comparison, an actively managed American fund held by many of our clients grew by over 110% in 2020… that’s the difference active management can make …
(please note that past performance is not a guide to future performance)
Diversification is key …
Whilst we are extremely pleased with many of the tactical equity funds our clients hold, we remain strong in our belief that diversification is key. We are not ‘fair weather’ Financial Advisers following the latest trend one year, only to be disappointed with returns the following year. That’s NOT how managing risk works. We build and then regularly review bespoke, well diversified portfolios for our clients based on their goals and the level of risk they feel comfortable taking along with other factors specific to their personal situation.
If you are wondering how to make the most of your savings talk to us. We can assess what you have in place and help you keep ahead of inflation. Whether you’re looking for income or investment growth, we have a number of options available that could be exactly what you’re looking for.
At Speed Financial Solutions, our focus is to ensure that our clients are able to enjoy life knowing that they are set up in the most tax efficient way for their particular circumstances. If you are considering alternatives to leaving money sat on deposit please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Speed Financial Solutions are a highly qualified financial services provider looking after clients throughout Spain and the UK. We provide a discreet and comprehensive service to individuals, and our service is tailored to suit your needs taking advantage of tactical opportunities as they arise in respect of your pension planning. We seek innovative solutions for our clients and employ our skills, based on many years of experience, to apply tax legislation to your advantage. Our relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. We are ready to answer your questions, giving you the confidence you want when dealing with a sensitive issue such as discussing your pensions, investments and savings.
Our Principal, Andrea Speed, is a qualified Discretionary Investment Manager specialising in Investment and Risk, Taxation and Trusts, and a qualified Pension Specialist. Andrea is also a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world.
Fellowship is the highest qualification awarded by the CII (Level 7) and is universally regarded as the premier qualification. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels. Along with a Fellowship, Andrea is a CII Chartered Financial Planner.
Please take a look at our website – www.speedfinancialsolutions.com
For further information contact us on Tel 951 315 271 or 951 318 529
We are happy to discuss your own situation in more detail. One of our advisers would be pleased to spend some time with you either in your home or at our office to review your current savings, investments and pensions, so do call to make an appointment. Our Financial Review is completely free of charge and without obligation. Follow us on Facebook for regular updates.
This communication is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.
Andrea J Speed FPFS (DM), M.A.
Principal, Fellow and Chartered Financial Planner
Speed Financial Solutions
30 November 2021