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The Track Record of Stock Market Experts

Every year well known industry commentator Larry Swedroe, Principal at US wealth management firm Buckingham Strategic Wealth, assesses the hits and misses of market pundits who predict the year’s “sure things”. He scores +1 for a true forecast, -1 for a wrong prediction and 0 for a draw. Below are the “sure things” that were heard from investors and stock market experts in 2017. We use the US, the world’s largest economy and stock market, as the measure of successful predictions.

The Eighth Wonder

For many investors it can be tempting to focus only on equity prices when thinking about the returns from their portfolios, particularly during turbulent periods such as the one we have witnessed since the start of February this year. The media often fosters this behaviour through the use of dramatic headlines that are designed to grab the attention of the viewer. Recent headlines in this vein that I have seen include, “The Stock Market is Having its Worst Second Quarter Since the Great Depression”. This sounds scary but the reality was more prosaic. As you can see here, this story was written two days into the new quarter and all because of just over 2% move in the S&P 500 index!

My Money’s on the Women

The recent Time’s Up and #MeToo movements have given me reason to reflect on the role of gender in the financial industry. When it comes to investing, common stereotypes plague women. For example, we’re too conservative or don’t understand enough about investments. We don’t save enough. We start too late. We lack confidence. I often (though not universally) see this in my own interactions with clients, especially married couples. Wives tend to defer to their husbands when it comes to making investment decisions and trust in the husband’s experience and decision-making. This is not a judgment, just an observation.

The Economics of Tariffs

Recently, President Trump unilaterally decided that the US is going to institute tariffs on both steel and aluminium. Tariffs have been used in the past by previous administrations and, indeed, other countries around the world. Tariffs, or customs duties, are taxes on imported products, usually in an ad valorem form, levied as a percentage increase on the price of the imported product. Tariffs are one of the oldest and most pervasive forms of protection and barriers to trade.

Trump tax reform and inheritance planning in The American

Andrea, Head of Advanced Planning, features in the March-April 2018 edition of The American discussing Trump tax reform and how it will impact inheritance tax for Americans living in the UK. A US domiciliary resident for gift and estate tax purposes now enjoys a lifetime allowance double that of 2017 thresholds. For the full article, please click here.

Impact of new US tax plan

Tax Overhaul or Economic Recklessness?

As the Trump Administration celebrates its legislative victory of “sweeping tax reform” (most notably the reduction of corporate tax rates), there is reason to be wary of the economics underpinning the new tax plan. The assumptions as set forth by the administration’s economic advisors, such as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, depend in part on corporate growth projections and the belief that the tax breaks at the top will trickle down to middle class wage earners.