Date: November 20, 2017
The week saw huge swings in global markets, particularly in the U.S. as shares saw the biggest drop in two months after touching record highs a week earlier.
Last week we notified our clients regarding our decision to move 100% to cash and in hindsight, this looked to have been perfect timing to avoid the volatile environment markets saw this week. Our timely decision, meant that our Safety First funds avoided such volatility and protected our annual returns, which are exactly in line with our goals.
We continue to monitor events and look for suitable opportunities to redeploy our funds. Markets are currently sensitive to tax cut reform progress in the U.S., the Senate election in Alabama, and earnings reports. This week saw lofty valuations, the flattening of the yield curve and a selloff in junk bonds adding to global investor concerns.
Date: November 13, 2017
Over the last year I have been honoured to serve as the Chief Investment Officer of Frenkel Topping Investment Management, being tasked with the incredibly important job of preserving your capital, outperforming inflation after costs and protecting you from the volatility of financial markets.
The DNA of Safety First has always been to first preserve and protect your capital. We are never afraid to move out of markets and to transition to one hundred per cent cash, when there is a global event that could give rise to unpredictable volatility. Safety First’s incorporates a vitally important benchmark unconstrained approach, which is a crucial investment tool available to enable me in my capacity as Chief Investment Officer to protect your capital from the dangers posed by uncertain markets. Safety First’s purpose is to deliver a smooth investment experience, where volatility is managed in a way that preserves capital over the longer term. As Chief Investment Officer, it is my responsibility to navigate Safety First through the potential dangers posed by any number of geo-political or macro-economic events, which appear to be occurring ever more frequently.
Here you will find a year book of Chief Investment Officer’s weekly newsletters enclosed that covers my thoughts over a tumultuous investment year, which I hope you find of interest.
Date: November 13, 2017
On Monday 6 November 2017, I took the decision to move all our Safety-First portfolios to 100% cash. Since I launched our Safety-First range of portfolios I have taken them to 100% cash several times to dampen volatility and avoid geopolitical risks where those risks were foreseeable. It is a unique approach which has served our clients well. Even our most adventurous Safety-First portfolio has less than [5%] volatility throughout 2017, protecting and preserving our client’s capital – our first priority.
We avoided the volatility and potential losses of Brexit, the US elections, the European elections and other geo-political events through 2017.
We are now perfectly positioned to redeploy our client’s capital as asset classes find lower levels and global macro risks recede. If that does not happen in 2017, we have locked in strong risk adjusted returns across all our Safety-First portfolios for our clients.
Date: November 7, 2017
There was no shortage of potential catalysts for investors this week. However, the response was relatively muted as things turned out to be as per expectations. Fed stayed, indicating a hike in December, BOJ kept on hold while the BOE, though pursued a rate hike as per consensus, the dovish tone resulted in GBP selloff, falling 1% to $1.31.
Federal Reserve officials reinforced expectations for a December interest-rate increase by subtly upgrading their assessment of the US economy while staying on hold this month. Pricing in federal funds futures contracts implied an 85% probability of a quarter-point move next month.
Date: October 31, 2017
The ONS on Friday morning, 27th October 2017 released the provisional data set for ASHE 6145 & 6146 (6115 equivalent). This is the second year in a row that the data has been made available before mid-November. This will certainly help with the recalculation process for all Periodical Payments due to be paid on or before 15th December 2017. The noticeable headline for 2017 is the fact that from the 70th percentile the % increase in median wages has not been as high as the rate of inflation measured by both RPI and CPI. Having spoken to the ONS I have confirmed that that the 12 month increase for these measures of inflation are 3.9% and 3.0% respectively.
Date: October 31, 2017
In the US, as investors witnessed the busiest days of the earnings season at the same time the political wrangling in Washington persisted at a breakneck pace. House Republicans adopted the budget resolution unlocking a process to cut taxes by the end of the year. The next step will be releasing a draft tax measure on Nov. 1.
President Donald Trump continued to string out his decision on the next Federal Reserve leader this week, giving mixed signals on his preference. By the end of the week, stakes of Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell being appointed were high, as President Trump seem to prefer him over others. The speculation is soon going to end in the coming week, as the Fed chair is expected to be announced on Nov. 3.
Date: October 23, 2017
The rally in risk assets extended this week. Major market moving events included Trump administration’s significant step towards tax overhaul, as the Senate narrowly approved a budget vehicle for tax cuts with an all-Republican vote of 51-49. The House and Senate tax-writing committees plan to release draft legislation by early November, which will set off a furious lobbying battle, as Republicans attempt to enact a bill by the end of the year.
Regarding attempts to defeat Obamacare, Trump’s administration showed leniency this week, as senators stated they have reached a bipartisan deal on fixes to stabilize Obamacare. Should the deal become law, it could alleviate the chaos for insurers, following last week’s moves including a cut in subsidies. The two-year deal would allow crucial subsidies to health insurers to start flowing again, potentially lowering insurance premiums for those in the program next year. This comes just two weeks before Americans start signing up for 2018 coverage.
Date: October 16, 2017
Global stock markets this week rose to record highs amid various economic releases reiterating global economic strength and multiple geopolitical developments including Catalonia crisis, rising tensions between US and Iran, upcoming elections in Europe and Japan. Particularly, US stocks climbed to record highs and 10-year treasuries rallied after a core inflation reading slowed, adding to evidence that economic growth continues apace without stoking price increases. The hurricane-driven boost to the US cost of living in September fell short of projections, as the September CPI rose 0.5% month on month. The less volatile core CPI rose 0.1% month on month, following 0.2% gain; up 1.7% year on year. Another Commerce Department consumer-inflation measure, preferred by the Fed, is running below the central bank’s 2% target, with a 1.4% gain in the 12 months through August.
Date: October 9, 2017
Just as positive economic releases were bolstering confidence in global economic strength, markets again changed course as geopolitical tensions returned with a Russian news agency reporting that North Korea may test a missile this weekend. This dampened demand for risk assets and led a rally in safe havens. The CBOE Volatility Index rose 10%, the most in a month, after closing at a record low Thursday. Earlier in the week, global shares were on firm footing, amid strengthening economic data. US investors also considered the prospects that Congress will enact a pro-growth tax plan and ongoing speculation that President Donald Trump will opt for a Fed Chair who might pursue more aggressive policy tightening.
Date: September 26, 2017
The major event earlier in the week was the Fed policy meet. The central bank stood pat on the interest rate and continues to forecast a hike by year end, saying hurricane damage won’t derail an otherwise healthy expansion. This caught markets by surprise, as can be reflected in the implied probabilities of an interest rate hike in December, which jumped from near 20% to above 60% in a matter of minutes. In the statement, the Fed set October for the start of their previously announced plan to shrink its $4.5 trillion balance sheet becoming the first central bank in history to reduce its QE program. Officials announced the reduction process will start next month at a pace of $10 billion a month, which will gradually increase to $30 billion a month. This would take over 30 years to finalize the process.
Date: September 18, 2017
Fears that North Korea may launch another missile test on its founding day waned as the country choose to issue threats against the US ahead of a vote in the United Nations on further sanctions. North Korea threatened to sink Japan into the sea with a nuclear strike and turn the US into ashes and darkness for agreeing to the latest UN sanctions. This did not preclude the UN member nations to intensify the protest against North Korea as the United Nations placed further sanctions.
Date: September 11, 2017
Markets pursued a risk off approach with havens including gold and the yen rallied as North Korea tensions and natural disasters unsettled investors. The Trump administration is seeking to ratchet up pressure on North Korea after the country tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb on Sunday, following several successful tests of ballistic missiles with intercontinental range. The geopolitical threat lingers as it is widely anticipated that Pyongyang may test a missile this weekend to coincide with its founding day on Sept. 9. President Donald Trump stated it’s not inevitable that the US will wind up in a war with North Korea over its continued development of nuclear weapons, though military action remains an option.
Date: September 4, 2017
The week started with renewed geopolitical tensions after reports that North Korean fired a missile over Japan. President Trump said that all options are under consideration in response to the latest provocation. The United Nations stated that it strongly condemns the action, but did not seek to escalate sanctions against the Pyongyang regime. The initial market reaction to the test was a sharp rush into haven assets, which saw the yen and gold rallying, while the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries dropped below 2.1% for the first time since November.
Date: August 28, 2017
There was little top-tier economic data out this week with much of the attention towards this year’s economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The two major Central bankers whom are expected to speak were Janet Yellen from Fed and ECB’s Mario Draghi. While Mario Draghi is due to give his speech, Yellen delivered a less hawkish tone than expected.
Date: August 22, 2017
Markets are settling down after a tumultuous few days spurred after terrorist attack in Barcelona, policy paralysis seen in the US and lingering tensions over North Korea. President Donald Trump is facing growing criticism within his own party for remarks equating neo-Nazis to counter-protesters in Virginia. In a heated press conference on Tuesday, he also criticized CEOs who are quitting his advisory council. Speculation that President Trump’s top economic aide Gary Cohn, was poised to resign also contributed to the market roil Thursday as US stocks plunged 1.5%. Traditional havens including gold and the yen gained with core bonds across the euro region, and the dollar weakened. Later reports that he’d opted to stay on board brought some market calm. Cohn has been leading the president’s efforts on tax reform.
Date: August 14, 2017
Markets started to stabilize by Friday after US-North Korea tension rattled global assets, as investors were seen switching to risk-off mode, with gold, bonds and the yen all rising. President Trump stepped up his campaign of pressure on North Korea, promising a response to any strike against America or its allies. It has shaken global markets, a sell-off was seen in Asia. The CBOE Volatility Index climbed to the highest level since Trump’s election victory, while gold hit a two-month high. While Korea tensions still remain in focus, US stocks halted a three-day slide, volatility eased and Treasuries slipped.
Date: August 7, 2017
While strong economic growth boosted optimism with positive jobs report and growing consumer confidence, markets continued to shrug at mounting signs that President Donald Trump’s policy agenda has run aground, with assets from stocks to the dollar largely looking past reports Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election has intensified. The likelihood of a grand jury being named could potentially indicate that there is enough evidence of a crime. The Dow Jones Industrial Average initially fell, but only by 0.2% and it promptly resumed a rally that this week saw it charge through 22,000 points.
Date: July 31, 2017
The Nasdaq 100 endured an uncontrolled selloff, with Amazon leading the way lower. Broader equity gauges were spared major pain as a rally in energy helped pick up the slack; the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a fresh record. Economic data revealed the U.S. economy rebounded in the second quarter, however, results for the first three months of the year showed the economy had slightly more tepid growth than previously reported. Before Friday’s selloff, signs of economic recovery had boosted stocks in the U.S. and globally to records. Technology shares have led the charge, with companies in the sector soaring 22 percent this year for the best performance among 11 groups in the S&P 500.
Date: July 24, 2017
Increased hawkishness from the ECB has helped the euro rally from lows last seen near the start of the millennium, with investors expecting tapering to start in the new year and pricing in a 10-basis point rate hike by September 2018. In the US, politics are again at the forefront, with reports that US special counsel Robert Mueller is expanding his investigation of Trump less than a day after the president told the New York Times that any digging into his finances would cross a red line.
Date: July 17, 2017
Fedspeak took center stage this week as Fed Chair, Janet Yellen emphasised the Fed’s narrative that the economy is healthy enough to withstand further rate increases and the process of balance sheet reduction is expected to begin this year.
Date: July 10, 2017
The hawkish tone from developed-nation central banks continued to roil financial markets, with U.S. stocks falling the most in seven weeks, Treasury yields rising to levels last seen in May and crude settling below $46 a barrel.
Date: July 3, 2017
Volatility is making a comeback, though still low by historical standards, as the debate on normalizing central bank policy intensifies after nine years of unprecedented stimulus. That suggests some investors are growing concerned about the economy’s ability to withstand a tightening cycle, even as data remains supportive.
Date: June 26, 2017
Changes to the benefits system since 2010, has mainly meant cuts with more to come. Between 2010-2015 there was a large scale change meaning £23 billion in cuts.
Frenkel Topping Welfare Benefits and Personal Injury Trusts Manager, Tracey Atkinson provides an invaluable update on Welfare Benefits and changes to entitlement and allowances.
Date: June 26, 2017
Weakness in energy prices were the theme of the week, with oil in New York and London dropping into a bear market on concerns that expanding supply in the U.S. and Libya will counter output cuts from the OPEC. This led energy stocks and the main indices lower, which were just bolstered by a rebound in tech shares. With little in the way of economic data, Fed speeches took centre stage, as markets continue to expect a September pause and a December interest rate hike.
Date: June 19, 2017
Soft economic data in the US and UK spurred concerns over economic fundamentals, however, this did not impact the central bank decisions. Fed raised interest rates for the second time in 2017, even after inflation pressures remain subdued. The BOJ kept rates unchanged amid worries of rising inflation and absence of a corresponding wage growth. The BOJ and the SNB also kept rates unchanged.
Date: June 14, 2017
Following the 'shock' announcement about the discount rate, effective from 20th March 2017, when Liz Truss, the then Lord Chancellor reduced the rate from 2.5% to -0.75% there have been many developments, not least of which her replacement as LC by David Lidington. The attached article will tell you a little more about the man responsible for publishing the governments findings following the latest consultation.
Date: June 12, 2017
Markets have reacted with relative calm to the UK election resulting in a hung parliament.
Date: June 5, 2017
The British pound was the stand-out mover amid muted moves in many markets, weakening on the prospect of a hung parliament in next week’s UK election and handing a boost to stocks.
Date: May 30, 2017
Oil remained below $50 with WTI crude at $49.11, as OPEC agrees on extension of output cuts by member and non-member nations.
Date: May 26, 2017
Andrew Ritchie QC and Ed Lamb, 9 Gough Square, enlighten the audience at Deputy Day with their presentation on Supported Capacity. Whilst a light hearted delivery keeps the delegates enthralled the information is particularly pertinent and the presentation can be downloaded here. Andrew Ritchie QC's presentation now available for download
Date: May 22, 2017
Growing concerns over the turmoil engulfing President Donald Trump’s administration weighed on risk appetite, as investors rush towards havens. Gold rebounded following Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey a week ago, as well as reports he shared intelligence with Russian officials. In the latest twist, Trump is said to have asked Comey in February to drop an investigation into a former national security adviser, raising questions he may have obstructed justice. The administration’s problems are seen as taking its focus away from policies to aid growth, hurting the US currency.
Date: May 16, 2017
Tracey Atkinson, Head of Welfare Benefits and Trusts Team, Frenkel Topping, delivers an invaluable update at the annual 'Deputy Day' conference on recent changes to Welfare Benefits which could have an impact on all claimants eligibility. To read her presentation download here.
Date: May 16, 2017
Alan Eccles, The Public Guardian delivers a superb update at Deputy Day on changes within the OPG. He discusses new procedures and processes that have been implemented and updates the 'Deputies' on further developments to be expected over the next 12 months and offers an opportunity to contribute to a 'Beta' application. Read his presentation by downloading here.
Date: May 16, 2017
Andrew Ritchie QC and Ed Lamb, 9 Gough Square, enlighten the audience at Deputy Day with their presentation on Supported Capacity. Whilst a light hearted delivery keeps the delegates enthralled the information is particularly pertinent and the presentation can be downloaded here.
Date: May 16, 2017
Julie Cattell opens the 11th Annual Deputy Day Conference with an insightful look into funding care for the elderly. Download her presentation here.
Date: May 15, 2017
Populist concern over Europe wanes with the victory of centrist candidate Macron in Sunday’s French Presidential election.
Date: May 15, 2017
On Thursday 11th May 2017 Frenkel Topping hosted the 11th annual 'Deputy Day' entitled "In Best Interests" at 30 Euston Square, London. The day was fully subscribed and we had a record number of delegates attend. The feedback forms have been collected and the overall message is that the day was "a resounding success" with speakers and participants delivering some pertinent updates and developments in the "Vulnerable Client Space". All of the presentations have been collated and are available for download here.
Date: May 8, 2017
U.S. nonfarm payrolls surged by 211,000 jobs last month after a paltry gain of 79,000 in March, and unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 %, near a 10-year low. Labour market continued to strengthen even as growth slowed.
Date: May 2, 2017
President Trump approaches 100th day in office as the administration tries to revive major campaign promises and attempts to achieve solid developments ahead of the day. Tensions with North Korea remain.
Date: April 24, 2017
Investor sentiment remained relatively upbeat on constructive economic data, positive earnings reports and hopes for near-term pro-growth policies with the latest announcement being information on massive US tax cuts to be released next week.
Date: April 18, 2017
Geo political concerns rose, with President Trump said to have offered to ease friction over US-China trade in exchange for help dealing with North Korea. US dropped a non-nuclear bomb in combat on ISIS positions in Afghanistan. US Russia relations continued to worsen on Syria attack issues.
Date: April 10, 2017
Caution spread across financial markets as US jobs data disappointed and geopolitical angst intensified after the first military strike undertaken by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Date: April 6, 2017
Based on these proposals, an individual aged 25 today can expect to receive a state pension at age 70, an individual aged 35 it is likely to be 69 and an individual aged 45 it will be age 68.
Date: April 4, 2017
Bad news can strike at any time; our clients know that more than most.
When looking at financial planning, investments get all the headlines; however, protecting your family’s financial future is paramount and should be prioritised, like the saying goes “protect before you invest”.
Date: April 3, 2017
The key highlight of the week was the triggering of Article 50 by UK Government. Focus now shifts to whether the UK will be able to pursue divorce talks and trade talks in parallel.
Date: March 27, 2017
GOP pulls the healthcare bill vote as it anticipated lack of votes. It drew much of markets attention as investors viewed it keenly as a key for reflation trade.
Date: March 20, 2017
The Fed raised its benchmark lending rate a quarter point without accelerating the timetable for future hikes. The outlook was less hawkish than market participants foresaw. Global equities were on course for the best week since January, even though the initial rally lost some of its momentum.
Date: March 17, 2017
Following the recent and unexpected slash in the discount rate, we have been asked by many of our introducing firms to provide specialised training on the subject matter to fee earners. This has been mirrored by professional organisations requesting the same. Therefore I have written a new training module which covers all aspects of the implications of the discount rate shift. See attached PDF for content.
Date: March 13, 2017
Frenkel Topping Limited cordially invites you to a seminar on ‘Avoiding Professional Negligence & Maximising a Claimant’s Schedule & Income’ - The first of many road shows will take place in Liverpool on 4th April 2017
Date: March 13, 2017
The increasing possibility of a Fed rate hike this week continued to dominate markets with further support coming from a strong US jobs report on Friday.
Date: March 6, 2017
The most awaited President Trump’s address to Congress, like earlier instances, turned out to be low on policy detail. He set out his main areas of policy focus but left for later the details of what specific measures he wants to take, how they will be funded, and when they will be implemented.
Date: February 27, 2017
The wait is finally over as the Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss announces reduction in the ‘Discount Rate’ to -0.75%.
Date: February 27, 2017
Amid looming trade war concerns with the US, Chinese economy is slowing, domestic real estate is becoming increasingly unaffordable and the yuan is depreciating. While attempting to minimize yuan depreciation, China’s foreign currency reserves fell for a seventh straight month in January to $3 trillion, the lowest in almost six years. The government is making persistent efforts, as it acknowledges a rapid slowdown in growth could create social and political instability. China is now prioritizing growth over economic and structural reform as its key objective. The further expansion of credit is expected to ensure the economy’s growth target of 6.5% to 7% is achieved in 2017.
Date: February 20, 2017
It was a strong week in equity markets which rose 1.1% reaching record highs mid-week. This optimism was spurred on by hard data showing retail sales, as well as consumer and producer inflation metrics surprising to the upside.
Date: February 13, 2017
The week saw various currencies move based on political developments. USD ended a 6-week losing streak. We remain positive on the USD. GBP is facing a double whammy of economic and political environment, as UK edges closer to triggering Brexit negotiations with the EU next month. The euro weakened over Europe's upcoming election concerns.
Date: February 1, 2017
Due to the huge success of previous years' Deputy Days and by popular demand, Frenkel Topping will host the industry leading Deputy Day on Thursday 11th May 2017. Full details are available here.
Date: January 30, 2017
Executive orders of President Trump grabbed the markets attention throughout the week with the major highlight being memoranda reviving construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and withdrawing from Nafta. USD is again down this week. US Equities showed positive performance and the 10-year Treasury yield fell below 2.5 %. Oil traded around $52 a barrel, Gold headed for its longest slump in 3 months closing at $1,189.60 an ounce.
Date: January 30, 2017
In the last 6 months alone we have identified an additional £406,000 in welfare benefits for our clients.
Date: January 23, 2017
The week’s major events were Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony, and the World Economic Forum at Davos. USD, GBP remained volatile as Theresa May delivered her long expected address on her Brexit strategy. US futures climbed with the USD and bonds fell as investors awaited the start of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Date: January 17, 2017
Alison Taylor, a highly experienced Advisor and Business Development Consultant at Frenkel Topping explains methods of avoiding professional negligence claims and maximising quantum. An article published in the 'Personal Injury Law Journal'
Date: January 13, 2017
Volatile USD closed the week with a 0.8% fall, marking the third consecutive week of decline. Stocks globally advanced, particularly the FTSE 100 Index, which completed 14 straight daily gains.
Date: January 3, 2017
As we approach 2017, I thought it may be helpful to offer an insight into our investment outlook. Our goals for the Safety First portfolios remain unchanged; to achieve above inflation and volatility risk adjusted returns, to preserve our clients’ capital, to achieve low volatility, and to deliver these returns on a low cost basis.
Date: January 3, 2017
It has been a year of the unexpected, a volatile year for the markets. Most of the time market predictions were wrong; stoking short term reactions. We have, throughout the year, maintained our Safety First approach.
Date: January 3, 2017
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 25 basis points. This was as expected, but the Fed’s projection of three rate hikes in 2017 came as a surprise. The move led to USD rally, bond yields surged while stocks retreated.
Event date: October 28, 2016
The team at Frenkel Topping's Manchester head office today took part in our very own Bake Off with the proceeds from the sale of our bakes being donated to the Frenkel Topping Charitable Foundation.
Event date: July 1, 2016
AvMA’s ACNC aims to brings the clinical negligence community together.
Event date: June 30, 2016
The reception at the Alfresco Bar, Brighton Beach, starts at 6.30pm and offers our guests a complimentary bar and hot fork buffet.
Event date: June 29, 2016
Frenkel Topping consultants will be there to showcase our new Investment Management.
Event date: June 22, 2016
Frenkel Topping is delighted to sponsor the Brain Injury Social Work Group (BISWIG) conference in Manchester on the 22 June 2016.
Event date: June 15, 2016
BABICM holds its 2016 Summer Conference and 20th Birthday Celebrations.
Event date: June 13, 2016
FT is sponsoring Bush & Company Rehabilitation's Annual Conference on the 13 June.
Event date: May 12, 2016
Save the date! Our headline annual Deputy Day Conference will be held on 12 May 2016 in London. The event will focus on the wellbeing of vulnerable individuals.