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New Year's Resolutions: 19 wealth managers' promises

19 Wealth Manager readers reveal their New Year's resolutions both in and out of the office

Robert Race, head of wealth management

WH Ireland, Manchester

‘With no sign of the factors that led to such weakness in world markets at the end of last year abating, it looks as though 2019 is going to be another tricky year.

‘Other than the usual (and doomed) diet wish, my New Year’s resolutions are to try not to overcommit my time and to arrive on time for meetings a bit more often!’

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Robert Race, head of wealth management

WH Ireland, Manchester

‘With no sign of the factors that led to such weakness in world markets at the end of last year abating, it looks as though 2019 is going to be another tricky year.

‘Other than the usual (and doomed) diet wish, my New Year’s resolutions are to try not to overcommit my time and to arrive on time for meetings a bit more often!’

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Rupert Phelps, partner, family office services

Smith & Williamson, London

‘My New Year’s resolution is to seek the best practical combination of spending time, both professionally and personally. Time with both clients and family is clearly fundamental, and, in my mind, being busy is fruitless if one is not busy productively.

‘On a lighter note, I feel that Anthony Trollope, wonderful as he is, should not dominate my reading, so I have begun reading the Bond books in order of publication. He is almost unrecognisable from the films.’

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Sandra Dailidyte, private client manager

7IM, Edinburgh

‘This year, I will be revisiting my academic background as a behavioural investor. We’re going through a rough patch in the markets, and it is paramount to ensure that my clients are happy with the level of risk, understand the current market gyrations and have faith in me as a long-term partner in the stewardship of their wealth. Returns come and go, but trust should span multiple investment cycles.

‘Away from the markets, I hope to make some Lithuanian national records in powerlifting, before getting married in September! What a roller coaster year we’re going to have!’

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Jenny Mills, portfolio manager

BRI Wealth Management, Meriden

‘My resolution for 2019 is to try and ignore short-term market sentiment and maintain well-diversified client portfolios to manage risk and volatility. In conjunction with this, I intend to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into our investment decisions.

‘Outside of work, I am planning to focus on my health and wellbeing. Hitting the gym more often, eating healthier foods and putting greater emphasis on striking a better work/life balance’.

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Lucinda Johnson, investment manager

Tilney, Birmingham

‘One of my resolutions is to be more of an optimist. The first way I plan to embrace this is by being more optimistic about current market conditions. I’m hoping that all the experts who say equity markets are oversold will be proved right and we do see a good recovery in them, whether that’s after a hard/soft or no-deal Brexit.

‘On a more personal note, I have the resolution to eat better. I have a real weakness for carbs and sugar, so this year I am going to embrace the vegetable.’

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Louisiana Salge, impact specialist

EQ Investors, London

‘Impact investing has the potential to raise trillions to address the world’s most pressing development needs, from mitigating climate change to delivering the health and education services needed for lasting prosperity. We also know that many of these challenges present great investment opportunities.

‘Therefore, one of our resolutions is to bring impact investing further into the mainstream and provide new firepower to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (the 17 most pressing global issues).’

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Colin Mackenzie, director, investment management

Arbuthnot Latham, London

‘My New Year’s resolution would be to recognise that, like golf, global investing is not only a very serious matter, but the pursuit of perfection in both of these highly competitive worlds tends to elude even the best participants.

‘With both global growth rates and quantitative easing on the wane, markets are likely to remain highly sensitive to short-term news.

‘I would hope to be up to the challenges of the coming year, both on and off the course.’

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Richard Morley, senior investment manager

Brewin Dolphin, Manchester

'I’m hitting an age milestone this year and “Fit for 40” is my new mantra (whispered under my breath whilst at the pub).

My office has committed to a cycle and climb challenge of the Three Peaks in June for charity, so maybe time spent in the gym will be worth it in the end.

Professionally, I have resolved to cutting out the noise associated with short-term moves in investment markets. It is easy to be caught up in day to day economics, especially after the last few years of low volatility, but what matters more to our clients is a sensible, long-term approach to wealth advice.'

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Cynthia Bowring, portfolio manager

Sanlam, London

‘My resolution for 2019 is to increase personal communication with my clients. A single phone call can take the place of a days’ worth of emails, and in the face of increasing volatility, regular contact and reassurance may just make 2019 an easier ride for them.

‘Outside of work, I intend to avoid injuring myself, or anyone else, at my new boxing gym. Fingers crossed I can keep this resolution beyond January!’

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Bill Hunt, branch principal

Raymond James, Cardiff

‘Over the years, pundits and market commentators have, more often than not, gotten predictions about the market in 12 months’ time wrong. It is not surprising, as no human alive can predict the future – those claiming they can are charlatans. Predictions are, at best, informed guesswork.

‘With this in mind, my resolutions are to eat and drink too much and do no exercise, as I’ll likely end the year fit, healthy and teetotal.’

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Deon Gouws, chief investment officer

Credo Wealth, London

This year, I will:

  • Continue to ignore forecasts as well as most of the daily news flow
  • Try not to fall foul of a narrative fallacy, which is either overly bullish or unnecessarily bearish
  • Keep focusing on the longer term and investing in quality assets obtained at reasonable prices
  • Enjoy the ICC Cricket World Cup on home soil in the summer
  • Try to keep up with my wife when running the Berlin Marathon together in September

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James Gardner, head of propositions

Alpha Portfolio Management, Bristol

‘This year has the makings of a big year – Brexit is looming, there are ongoing global political shenanigans, another royal baby, and, in the meantime, I’m moving home and expecting my third child. I’m aiming to stay true to my life and investment goals – be prepared for the unexpected and don’t get (too) distracted!

‘From a market perspective, we are temporarily engulfed in a series of depressing headlines. While there appears to be plenty of risks abound, for the first time in a while, market expectations don’t appear unrealistically overhyped. Further “flash crashes” seem inevitable and would unnerve many, however, more realistic valuations should offer attractive opportunities for longer-term investors.’

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Richard Philbin, chief investment officer

Wellian Investment Solutions, London

'I am not an individual who does New Year’s resolutions or “dry January’s", as my ability to maintain the good intentions usually falls flat on its face very early into the first month. 

'I will strive to eat less chocolate, though, and increase my fitness levels – my legs are carrying a bit too much weight, and I regularly find myself 25 minutes into the hourly dads football match on a Thursday night asking if it’s time to go to the pub.  It can’t be good.

'From an investment perspective, I would like to see some semblance of “normality” returning to capital markets. Normality doesn’t necessarily mean low volatility though... I am not a fan of the “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to fund management. 

'I hope that this year central banks manage their economies sensibly, corporate management manage their companies competently and politicians manage their countries well, too. I don’t ask for too much… Happy New Year!'

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Neil Blankstone, director

Blankstone Sington, Liverpool

'My New Year's resolution is to remain positive.

'It is common for equity bull markets, in tandem with economic expansions, to draw to a close at the end of the decade, with bear markets/recession setting in during the first or second year of the new decade. This decade looks to be no different, particularly in the US.

'The UK is out of kilter somewhat due to the "Brexit factor".  We are convinced that a hard Brexit is, to some extent, priced in to UK equities, and it is beginning to feel like the balance of risks are shifting to the upside.'

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Najib El-Rayyes, portfolio manager

Rivers Capital Management, London

'With the final quarter of 2018 bringing volatility back with a vengeance, my resolution is to change focus from growth to value.

'Whether the causes are tariff fears, slowing economies or an inverting yield curve, there probably hasn’t been a better time to look again at previously out-of-favour value funds.

'The opportunity to buy recently high-flying growth stocks at much lower valuations offers much better risk adjusted returns in what is likely to be an uncertain year for equities.'

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Peter Sleep, senior investment manager

7IM, London

'I read John Rentoul’s The Banned List over the break about over-used and meaningless phrases we all use. 

'My New Year’s resolutions will be in Retoul’s spirit. I will ban myself from mentioning trade tensions or algorithmic trading whenever the market drops the smallest amount. End-of-cycle and inverted yield curve are overused and are also out. 

'If asked for my outlook, I will not say the market will be volatile, returns will be lower and that you should be selective.'

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Alex Sumner, portfolio manager

Blackfinch Wealth, Gloucester

'Following a successful 2018 for Blackfinch, my objective for this year is to build on that success. We will continue to deliver the support and service we provide to our financial planning partners.

'But as we move further into this era where political activity is driven by social media, with sentiment seeming to change by the minute, another goal of mine is not to get too caught up in factors completely out of my control.

'Maintaining a continued and rational focus on the fundamentals, while taking a balanced and calculated approach to risk management, can help to ensure that portfolios deliver their objectives over the longer term.'

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Paul Keiser, wealth management director 

Barclays, Midlands

'In 2019, when it comes to investing, it is vital to remain nimble. The current economic cycle is very mature, and as a result market falls can occur more regularly, as concerns the current cycle is coming to an end are heightened.

'In short, investor sentiment – which for so long has been positive – is now much more prone to swinging the other way. Therefore, being flexible in order to take advantage of opportunities is now much more important for investors.

'As for myself, following running in the Amsterdam Marathon in 2018, I will be looking to embarking on another challenge in 2019 to raise funds for charity.’

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Andrew Spence, investment director

Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

'This year sees the launch of our “All Weather” investment strategy as a service, at Charlotte Square, after a successful eight years as a fund.

'In evolving All Weather, my goal from an investment perspective this year is to continue to simplify our investment world by working to core principles – anchoring decisions based on academic rigour and sound fact, rather than market noise and sentiment.  

'From a personal perspective, I wish to reduce screen time and read more.

'My reading list includes: Pioneering Portfolio Management, David Swensen; Principles, Ray Dalio; Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb; Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our Future, Ashlee Vance.'

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