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Office Spotlight: Philip J Milton & Co, Barnstaple

Office Spotlight: Philip J Milton & Co, Barnstaple

Date office opened: 1985

Number of clients: 1500

Number in team: 33

Assets under management: £155m

Average portfolio size: £50k

Top fund picks:

• Aberdeen Smaller Companies Income Investment Trust

• Miton Global Opportunities Investment Trust

• New Star Investment Trust

Q&A with Philip J Milton, managing director, Philip J Milton & Co, Barnstaple (pictured below):

What is your typical client demographic?

Early retired, aged 62, requiring a balanced income to complement other income streams.

What differentiates your region?

North Devon is a beautiful tourism and retirement area. Average incomes are among the lowest in the country, but many live here for the lifestyle, which doesn’t always reward financially. There are still many dynamic businesses here and agriculture is also very important.

What challenges are facing your local area?

Businesses are suffering from increased costs – especially those in tourism and retail – and this is likely to impact employment in due course.

Customers are less inclined to pay more for their services simply because the provider has to pay staff more.

Lack of available low-cost housing is also a serious problem, as prices are inflated by holiday and retirement home purchases. The property crash, when it comes, will rebalance things.

What is the best thing about living in your region?

It is a lovely place to live, with beautiful countryside and some of the best beaches in the country. I live two miles from TripAdvisor’s oft-voted best beach, Woolacombe, but, of course, I only end up going there about twice a year.

We have long sandy expanses and the highest sea cliffs in the country, too, on North Exmoor.

I work from home now – my trip to the office is a walk along the corridor from my bedroom. I often forget that I have not been downstairs for breakfast.

What is a typical regional saying in your region?

‘I’ll do that dreckly.’ That means ‘later on’ and not ‘directly’.

Bullish or bearish?

I am sanguine. There is plenty of value out there, especially in UK-centric stocks worth buying ‘regardless’ of the prospects.

But I am very wary at the overblown valuations on certain global sectors, especially US tech, and that could bring the whole pack of cards tumbling down, as the speculative excesses revert to a ‘norm’. Interest rates will have to rise at some point, too, and that will have an impact on bonds, and thus possibly other investment types.

What is your office motto?

‘We respond to the opportunities we create in the first place.’

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