I hope, despite the unusual circumstances caused by the pandemic, that you managed to enjoy the Christmas break, and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy new year.
So, here we are in Lockdown number 3. On reflection, the first lockdown did not seem to be as bad, probably because it was Spring, and the weather was good and there was an element of uniqueness to the situation. I am sure, like me you are all finding the current position tough and challenging – this does affect us all and I am reminded daily how mentally difficult this is by watching my own sons’ experiences in education, a new career, and the lack of social interaction. I hope you are all finding ways to stay positive and keep mentally stimulated.
As I stand back and look beyond the current situation to the year ahead, there are reasons for optimism.
The development of multiple vaccines means there is now, hopefully, an end in sight to the disruptions we have all experienced over the past ten months. We do not know exactly when the full benefits will be felt and we can return to a more normal life, but I am confident it means the second half of 2021 will be markedly – and positively – different to the first. In Somerset, the feedback I am getting from our clients and my family is the vaccination roll out has gathered pace, with 80-year-olds now having received 2 doses and 70-year-olds now receiving their first injection. Well done to everyone delivering the vaccines!
There are other causes for optimism in the longer term too.
Looking around the world, there are changes taking place which the markets see as opportunities. For example, a new administration in Washington, a new basis for the UK’s relationship with Europe, and greater international commitment to the sustainability of our planet.
2020 was of course a remarkable year. The pandemic is a unique experience that has affected all our lives in different ways and to different extents, and for which there has been no roadmap. Our role has been to be by your side throughout; to guide you through the short-term market fluctuations; and to maintain an eye on the longer-term horizon. I do not underestimate the impact that those fluctuations had on your finances, but I hope you can take assurance from the fact that events bore out our confidence that markets would in due course recover.
I trust you already know this, but we continue to be here for you.
I hope that you managed to enjoy the Christmas break and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy New Year.
With tightening restrictions across the world and not just the UK, it is understandable that our attention is focused on the coming days and weeks, whether it is concerns about loved ones catching the virus or waiting to receive the vaccine, children being able to return to school or a broader sense of life continuing to be interrupted, there remains much to occupy our minds.
From our viewpoint we try and look beyond the current situation and we can see reasons for optimism. The development of multiple vaccines means there is now, hopefully, an end in sight to the disruptions we have all experienced over the past 10 months. We do not know exactly when the full benefits will be felt and we can return to a more normal life, but we remain confident it means the second half of 2021 will be markedly and positively different to the first.
There are other causes for optimism as well. There is a new administration taking over in Washington, a new basis for the UK’s relationship with Europe and greater international commitment to the sustainability of the planet – 2020 will be seen as the start of the great Energy Revolution. IronBright is already playing its part with the launch of the IronBright Sustainable portfolios at the end of 2020.
2020 was a remarkable year with the pandemic; a unique experience that has affected all our lives in different ways and to different extents, for which there has been no road map. Our role as financial planners is to be there for our clients and help when we can to guide you through the short term madness but also to keep an eye on the longer term; events did bear out our confidence that markets would indeed recover, and that short term tactical calls in 2020 would be dangerous to your wealth.
As in 2020 we remain fully operational and open for business in 2021. We continue to work remotely save for a few brave souls that man the office daily, and we remain confident that not before long life will return to something more familiar.
All my very best wishes for the forthcoming year.