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By accessing this website (the ‘Site’), you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions (the ‘Terms’). Before using this Site, you should read carefully the Terms, our Cookie Policy and also our Privacy & Security Statement. If you do not agree to these Terms & Conditions, please do not make use of this Site.

The Site has been approved for issue in the UK by AHR Financial Planning Limited trading as AHR Private Wealth. AHR Financial Planning is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), and is entered on the Financial Services Register with the firm reference number 208467.

AHR Financial Planning is part of a global group of businesses known asThe AHR Group. AHR Financial Planning Limited is registered in England and is established at 56, Wentworth Road, Blacker Hill, Barnsley, United Kingdom, S74 0RP, which is its registered office.

Unless otherwise stated in relevant sections of the website, this website is targeted at investors who are generally classified as qualified, professional, accredited or institutional. The information contained in this website is directed only at persons in a country or jurisdiction where access to the information and the use thereof is not contrary to local law or regulation. It is your responsibility to be aware of and to observe all applicable laws and regulations of any relevant jurisdiction when accessing the information contained in this website. In particular, no offer or invitation is made to any US persons (being residents of the United States of America or partnerships or corporations organised under the laws of the United States of America or any state, territory or possession thereof), who are excluded from the services, funds and products included in this site. There will be no public offering of services, funds and products in the United States.

The services, funds and products will not generally be available to U.S. Persons.

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In these Terms

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Terms

These Terms cover your use of this Site. All products and services provided by members of the AHR Group have their own terms and conditions (the ‘Product Terms’). You must read both the Product Terms and these Terms. To the extent that the Product Terms conflict with these Terms or any Local Sites’ terms and conditions then the Product Terms will prevail.

We are required by law to tell you that the terms and conditions are in English and that we will communicate with you in English.

From this Site we may provide information or hyperlinks to other websites or pages provided by other entities within the AHR Group (‘Local Sites’) and other parties. Your use of Local Sites and other parties’ sites may be subject to their own terms and conditions. You should read them.

This Site is intended for those who access it from within the United Kingdom. Because of this we cannot guarantee that the Site, or the information thereon, complies with the local laws or regulations of, or is appropriate for use in, any other jurisdiction from which you access it. If you choose to access this Site from a jurisdiction other than the United Kingdom you do so at your own risk and the AHR Group will not be liable for any breach of local law or regulation that you commit as a result of doing so.

Please make sure you read carefully all applicable terms, conditions and disclaimers relevant to your use of the products, services or information that may be offered to you from time to time.

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Changes to our Terms

You acknowledge that we may amend these Terms from time to time, at our sole discretion. If we elect to amend these Terms, the revised version will be posted on the Site. You undertake to check the Site regularly for any changes we may have made since your last visit to the Site, since any such changes will be binding on you. By using the Site after we have changed or amended these Terms, you acknowledge that you will be accepting those changes or amendments.

These Terms & Conditions were last updated on 6th February 2019.

Availability of site, products and services

The Content, including layout, of this Site or products or services available via this Site may be wholly or partially suspended, withdrawn or changed at any time.

We also reserve the right at any time to immediately suspend the provision of all or any part of this Site to you and/or block your access to this Site.

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If you choose to enter a website outside your country of residence, you are advised that it may not be legal in that jurisdiction for you to access or use the facilities available on that site and the legal requirements of that jurisdiction may prohibit you from dealing or otherwise transacting in that jurisdiction. No member of the AHR Group will be liable for any breach of local law or regulation that you may commit as a result of using and accessing a website in a country in which you are not resident.

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All of the above exclusions apply even if you have advised us or any other member of the AHR Group of the possibility of the above types of damage, loss or liability.

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You must tell us immediately of any unauthorised access to the Site using your Password or any unauthorised transaction or instruction which you know of or suspect of if you suspect someone else knows your Password. We will need you to help us and any law enforcement agency in trying to recover any losses. We may disclose information about you or your account to a law enforcement agency or other third parties if we think it will help prevent or recover losses.

You are wholly responsible for use of the Site by any person using your Password.

We reserve the right to suspend access to the Site in the event that we suspect that an unauthorised person is attempting to access the Site using your Password.

Your obligations

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    • redistribute any of the Content (including by using it as part of any syndication, content aggregation, archive or similar service); or
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Internet and e-mail communications

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Neither we nor any other member of the AHR Group are responsible for any such messages nor liable to you or anyone else for any damages or otherwise in connection with any messages sent by you to us or any other party or any messages sent or appearing to be sent by us or any third party to you over the Internet (including e-mail). You should not include any sensitive or confidential information in such messages.

Our monitoring of communication

To help us improve our service and in the interest of security, we may monitor and/or record communications (whether over the Internet, telephone or otherwise) between you and us. All recordings are our sole property.

Data protection and Privacy

Cookies

Governing Law

These Terms are governed by and are to be interpreted in accordance with the laws of UK.

The courts in England and Wales will have non-exclusive jurisdiction in respect of any dispute which may arise in connection with the Terms or your use of this Site.

CIO Note to Clients

Low Interest Rates, a 15-Year Story

The recent announcement from the Federal Reserve that interest rates were set to be held at their current levels until at least 2023 poses several key questions and observations. 2023 will signal a 15-year period since the Federal Reserve began the process of aggressively cutting interest rates resulting in unprecedented lows. Despite a brief period of small hikes, it looks very much like we shall end the 15 year period at the lowest point on record. This stark fact leads us to consider a number of questions:

  • What does this suggest about the effectiveness of monetary policy as a tool for economic control?
  • With ultra-low interest rates in place for 15 years what affect has this had on asset prices and what can we expect up until 2023?
  • What are the key risks associated with the monetary policy adopted by the Federal Reserve?
  • How do investors navigate this environment?

Since the Financial Crisis, expansive monetary policy has helped fuel a global economic recovery, supported asset prices and prevented any significant credit issues that might lead to another systematic financial market failure. Therefore in many aspects, much of the economic global recovery since 2008 can in fact be owed to such measures.

However, in recent years we have seen the implementation of continuous quantitative easing measures and flat to negative interest rates across developed markets, coupled with little to no direct impact on economic growth or inflation, the European Union being a prime example. This then poses the question as to at what point do quantitative easing measures become ineffective and when does a disconnect between economic growth and asset prices occur.

With the latter point in mind, a great example of this has been the sharp interest rate cuts applied and indeed partnered with wider quantitative easing measures, across developed markets since the onset of Covid 19. These actions have again helped fuel a sharp recovery in asset prices but interestingly, this has not correlated with real economic recovery or growth.

As a result, it was indeed no surprise that Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, has called upon the US Government several times in recent weeks, to take greater action in the form of expansive Fiscal policy to support the actions of the Federal Reserve. This commentary is perhaps a clear indication of the concerns around a lack of government spending that can directly impact the ‘real’ economy and that the effectiveness of monetary policy alone may be becoming diminished.

One thing for sure is that ultra-low interest rates and aggressive bond buying programmes by central banks has helped fuel an attractive period of asset returns since the financial crisis. From developed market equities, high yield debt or commodities, all asset classes have benefited from the abundancy of available capital.

In short, the ability for corporates to borrow at such low rates provides an attractive opportunity for them to invest in growing their own business or in many cases by further investment into assets in which the year on year return will far outweigh the prevailing rate of interest they are paying on their debt. Whilst this has be of great benefit to investors, it does come with a number of risks. It is these risks that it is important to make investors aware of.

In the environment outlined above, we believe it is imperative for investors to understand where their money is invested and what corporations they have exposure to. The reasoning behind this is that, whilst this environment has helped support the rapid expansion of successful businesses, it has also acted as a life support machine for many failing and inefficient businesses.  Our belief is therefore, that when interest rates do rise (eventually) or indeed, these businesses cannot re-finance their existing debts at the same level, they could well enter financial distress leading to reduced share price values and/or credit defaults.

he same principles can be applied to the finance of individuals. It is as critical as ever that individuals avoid excessive borrowing, maintain a sensible level of emergency reserves and understand how affordable their lifestyles are should the current financial environment change. Understanding the current financial environment and considering the risks that may be forthcoming is something we commit considerable time to understanding, liaising with our selected Fund Managers and Research Analysts regularly to then come to our conclusions as to the best course of action.

An example of this is the threat of an inflation spike and despite the risk of this remaining low,  this cannot be ruled out ahead of the 2023 provisional rate adjustment date stated by the US Federal Reserve. Furthermore, currency depreciation, increased import costs, weakening investor sentiment or demand pressures all have the ability to increase inflation sharply and should this happen Central Banks may have no option than to…….. raise interest rates!

Whilst all the above may seem daunting to investors it is important that we highlight our belief in the long-term value that remains in effectively allocating to equity markets. Holding shares in companies that prove to consistently grow earnings remains an effective way to ensure long term returns over and above inflation levels. Although the current environment may offer many potential pitfalls, for those companies able to effectively employ capital, it offers the perfect platform for accelerating growth.

My advice to our Investment Committee and to our clients is therefore as follows:

  • Know where you are invested
  • Understand the risks that may lie ahead
  • Remain well diversified

On top of the above key principles we believe that at present a focus on quality will help clients navigate the current uncertainty. Focusing on developed, global companies with strong balance sheets, in both the fixed income and equity space allows investors the comfort that should financial conditions tighten, their investments will remain resilient to any stress. 

Iain Ramsay
Chief Investment Officer (CIO)
www.ahrprivatewealth.com