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Conversations with Kate

To kickstart the new year, Kate Leppard, Head of Client Service, is reviewing her financial health, while taking on board new advice on maintaining a healthy body and mind.

10/01/2024
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Authors

Kate Leppard
Head of Client Service, UK Wealth Management

As we lurch into 2024, it’s a natural time for reflection on our progress. Just as you get regular health checks and MOT your car, it’s important to also review your financial health. We enjoy meeting you, or at least having a meaningful call, to review your portfolios at least once a year. It nudges me to do the same.

We predicted a greater slowdown than materialised over the last 12 months, which kept us cautious on equities. Our equity exposure has benefitted from the 2023 rally, but our caution meant we missed out on some gains.

In the last few month, we have started building our clients’ exposure to bonds. Despite a weak performance in much of 2023, bonds today are possibly the best value that they have looked for the last 10-15 years. And depending on how you hold them and which bonds you own, they can be extremely tax efficient.

Thankfully, in the UK 2023 was a more politically stable year, which was welcomed. However, 2024 brings with it elections in the UK, US, and in India. In fact, a remarkable 40 countries will vote next year, encompassing four billion people and over 60% of the global population. There’s going to be more political noise and rhetoric. With this backdrop, it’s important to revisit fundamental questions. What is the state of the economy? Are we investing in good businesses? Do they have strong management teams and balance sheets? Have we got diverse portfolios so that our clients are best positioned to weather any upcoming storms that we might have? We will be monitoring this all very closely and keep you regularly up to date with our thoughts and outlook. If you do have any concerns, please pick up the phone to us.

My role requires me to live and breathe the markets, so as I personally take stock, it’s important to make sure I am separating my emotions around market events from the financial implications, as I do for my clients. Is my cash working hard enough? Have I reassessed my time frames when I think about long-term investment needs versus short-term cash flow?

Planning for your children

This is particularly important when I’m investing on behalf of my children who have an even longer-term time frame than me. Investing on behalf of your children in vehicles such as JISAs or ISAs can be a good way to educate them about investing. I try to talk to them about their values and views on sustainability and whether they want these to influence what I invest for them.

Once they’ve turned 18, your children can access the money in one of these vehicles. I have a rule for my children that, if they ever touch it without my saying so, that’s it – they won’t get another penny from me. They know that it is theirs, but they dare not touch it!

My children are fortunate enough to have had a very comfortable upbringing, so I want them to understand that not everyone in London is as lucky. When they were younger, I would sit down every Christmas and show them how much I had saved in my charity account. I would ask them about the causes they care about to jointly decide where to give it. Whether it was to the lifeboat, a cancer, refugee or impoverished child charity, they had to be passionate about it.

Giving is an important aspect of my family’s financial and emotional health. Read about Tim Spector’s recent talk to our charity clients about the impact of the microbiome on your physical wellbeing. Needless to say, his advice was a balanced health diet and less processed foods. But, I am still allowed a cup of coffee and a square of dark chocolate. We were also fortunate enough to have Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield visit us recently. She’s a neuroscientist who has extensively researched dementia. Her top three tips for brain health were exercise, sitting around the dinner table having conversations with family or friends and reading a good book, as these are some of the best ways to encourage brain connections. I hope you all managed to do at least a bit of this over the Christmas season.

This article is issued by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroders Group and a trading name of Schroder & Co. Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. 

Nothing in this document should be deemed to constitute the provision of financial, investment or other professional advice in any way. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

This document may include forward-looking statements that are based upon our current opinions, expectations and projections. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements.

All data contained within this document is sourced from Cazenove Capital unless otherwise stated.

Authors

Kate Leppard
Head of Client Service, UK Wealth Management

Topics

Dialogue

The value of your investments and the income received from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount you invested.