Follow our news page for up to date Financial Market data and for the latest news at Brancaster House
17th September 2018
Hurricane Florence set to test President Trump’s leadership
This week, we got further support for the status quo. Positive economic data, including a higher than expected GDP data was coupled with a decision from the central bank to leave things alone and let everything carry on as it is. Unfortunately, our political leaders don’t have the same appreciation for inactivity.
10th September 2018
Rare ray of sunshine as Brexit negotiations continue
This week we had an announcement that Britain and Germany had agreed to drop specific sticking points around the shape of our future relationship with the EU, which was perceived to make an exit deal more likely. While the pound did strengthen on the news, reports of a surge were overblown as it remained far from its six-month high against the dollar. The positive sentiment has also been undermined by both the Conservative back benches and EU negotiators, who have decided to call time on Theresa May’s Chequers proposal, albeit for very different reasons.
3rd September 2018
Yet another company exits the UK
This week we had a reminder that while the ultimate outcome of Brexit is unknown, companies don’t have the luxury of waiting to find out. Panasonic became the latest company to move its European headquarters from London, adding to announcements from Unilever, EasyJet and Goldman Sachs to name but a few. Despite the consolatory tones from Barnier this week, even the softest of Brexit’s won’t reverse the cost of uncertainty already paid.
28th August 2018
Growing the Brancaster House team
As the need to support more clients across Norfolk and Suffolk grows, so too does the team at Brancaster House. In recent months, the organisation has recruited 3 members of staff to cover Mortgage Advice and Business Development.
28th August 2018
Time to worry Mr President?
Robert Mueller, the man responsible for investigating Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign, will be going into the weekend feeling particularly smug on the news that two of the President’s former associates may be facing jail time. Former lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to paying off two women on behalf of Trump using campaign expenses, while former campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces fraud charges.
20th August 2018
Italy passes the blame to avoid homegrown issues
A collapsed bridge in Italy this week that left 39 dead has further widened the cracks in the Italian government. The Eurosceptic League pointed the blame at the EU for restricting maintenance spending, while the Five Star Movement aimed its fire at the motorway operator responsible for the maintaining the bridge.
13th August 2018
GAM suspends star bond manager
This week has been thankfully quiet by recent standards, making it possibly the worst time for an asset manager to make the headlines. Without warning GAM suspended one of its star bond managers and gated his funds, preventing investors from withdrawing their money. This was followed by a period of radio silence and then a confusing series of press releases.
6th August 2018
Bank of England ushers in a “new normal”
This week felt like a throwback to a more innocent time, when simple things like the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee were all we had to worry about. Mark Carney surprised precisely no one on Thursday when he announced a hike in short-term rates to 0.75 per cent.
30th July 2018
Trump and Juncker bond at UK’s expense
This week we were treated to the now familiar show of Donald Trump taking credit for solving a self-induced crisis. After meeting with EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker, not only has there been an agreement to scrap the trade war, but the pair also signalled a reduction in all tariffs; including on politically sensitive farm goods.
25th July 2018
Brexiteer rebellion seen off for now
This week we saw the absurd spectacle of the government supporting attempts to wreck its own Brexit plan, as the hard Brexiteers struck back following the Chequers agreement. This leaves the government with no foundation for negotiations with the EU, as there is no position it can take that will command the support of the Tory party.
16th July 2018
Soft “Soft Brexit” plans draw hard criticism
This week we finally learnt what Brexit meant when the government published its white paper on what sort of deal it wants from Brussels. Sadly, the paper spells out a poorly conceived, unworkable compromise that fails to take in the complexities of the institutions involved or the practicalities of international trade; and which fails to protect the British economy or return any sort of real control.
9th July 2018
Trump and XI stick to their guns
This week, Peak Pegasus, a US cargo ship full to the brim with soybeans, raced across the Northern Pacific to beat a 25 percent import duty on one of the States’ most lucrative exports to China. Unfortunately, it arrived late, making it the latest casualty in the global trade war which now seems to be properly underway.
2nd July 2018
Conte makes a splash at EU summit
This week European leaders gathered in Brussels for the EU summit. While we might have expected Brexit to be the main topic of discussion, most of the drama has centered on how to handle the large numbers of migrants coming across the Mediterranean. This was in no small part the making of the new populist Italian Prime Minister, who basically threatened to derail the event unless the issue was addressed.
29th June 2018
Brexit “Peace Deal” eases UK political risk
This week the government won a hard-fought compromise in its Brexit negotiations. Following a series of standoffs and late-night crisis talks, it finally found some middle ground and with a dose of pragmatism, managed to come away with a win.
21st May 2018
Oil hits $80 a barrel for first time in four years
This week we’ve seen a significant jump in the oil price, no doubt to accommodate the production of souvenir plates and tabloid pull outs for the royal wedding. Lower than expected US oil production might also be part of the picture.
18th May 2018
The Big Question When Approaching Retirement – Annuity vs Drawdown?
Is it better to purchase an annuity or take regular income via drawdown?
If you’re approaching retirement, you’d probably love to know the answer to that one, unfortunately it is not always an easy decision to make.
In April 2015, the tax rules were changed to give people greater access to their pensions in retirement. As a result of this, where previously for many people, it may have been deemed unsuitable to access their pension via drawdown, this is now an option.
The first thing to understand is that you can’t make a straightforward comparison between annuities and drawdown. This is because they are very different plans, working in completely different ways.
An annuity is actually a type of insurance. Specifically, it insures you against running out of income if you live longer than expected. Hence it pays you a guaranteed income for life – there is no central pot of money that can ‘run out’.
By contrast, drawdown involves an invested pot of money from which you make regular withdrawals of income.
9th May 2018
Questions about cash holdings no longer cool
This week Elon Musk’s refusal to answer “boring” questions about Tesla’s finances cost the company $2bn in market value. Its first quarter revenue and earnings were better than expected; Wall Street analysts mainly wanted to know why he burnt through more cash than expected. However, “boring, bonehead questions are not cool”.
30th April 2018
Facebook brushes off Cambridge analytica scandal
The busiest week of earnings season has been an up-and-down, or rather a down-then-up, one for global equity markets. After Caterpillar, the biggest manufacturer of construction equipment in the world, suggested that its better-than-expected first quarter earnings will be the “high-water mark” for 2018, stocks rebounded after a display of resilience from the recently troubled US tech sector.
23rd April 2018
Markets reassess likelihood of May rate rise
This week the fickle nature of economic forecasting was at the fore, with just a handful words from Mark Carney enough to cloud crystal balls over the country. This pattern is well worn – the market gets too confident that it knows exactly when the Bank will raise rates and then freaks out when reminded that all it’s really doing is guesswork.
17th April 2018
War fears overtake trade fears
This week volatility has remained, with fears of a trade war being replaced with fears of an actual war. President Trump was incredibly vocal on Twitter at the start of the week, making the as yet unrealised threat that missiles would be coming in Syria. Personal legal issues seem to have taken his focus off the issue lately, so the market is taking the view that perhaps he won’t follow through. It seems traders are musing on a philosophical question: if the US starts a war in the Middle East and it isn’t on social media for everyone to see it, did it really happen?
9th April 2018
Tit for tat on trade causes market tremors
There has been significant volatility this week, mainly caused by the on-again off-again relationship between China and the US. The White House publication of an extensive list of tariffs on a multitude of products sent markets down initially, before reassuring briefings from senior officials caused some recovery.
26th March 2018
Trump sparks global sell-off with China trade sanctions
This week the late news that Donald Trump has singled out China for $60 billion in tariffs, after giving most other countries a pass, has led to a dramatic escalation in trade war fears. While the market had recently begun to tune out most of the news from the White House, this latest announcement has hit a nerve; global stocks began selling off hard, with US and Asian markets reacting especially badly.
20th March 2018
Attack in Salisbury threatens global stability
This week geopolitical tensions have heightened following an assassination attempt on a former Russian spy turned double agent. While this is pretty normal behaviour from the Kremlin, what makes this event so incredible is the method chosen.
12th March 2018
Trump accepts olive branch from Kim
This week markets have been reeling from a barrage of political events. Markets decided early on that Trump probably didn’t mean what he’d said last week about tariffs, but then took two on the chin when his chief economic advisor Gary Cohn quit, ostensibly because the president did mean what he said as we all found out when he signed an executive order to implement tariffs on Thursday. Before we could fully react to that, news broke that Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un, a complete break with decades of US foreign policy. The White House may have started a trade war and prevented a nuclear one within 48 hours.
Elsewhere, the Italian election, which has been talked about for months as a major political risk hanging over Europe, finally took place. The results were inconclusive, and while this is the norm for an Italian election, the outright winner and ultimately new leader is especially hard to predict. What this means for Europe and the Euro is also still up in the air.
6th March 2018
Introducing our Trainee Financial Planner, Shane Julian
We are delighted to announce that a current member of the Brancaster House team has begun his journey to becoming a Financial Planner.
Shane Julian started working with us in October 2016 as a Para-Planner / Technical Analyst. Since joining he has become an invaluable member of the team in more ways than one.
As a Technical Analyst he specialised in investment and retirement planning and produced financial planning reports for our Financial Planners, which made suitable and relevant recommendations to our clients considering their financial circumstances and goals.
As well as this he specialised in building personalised retirement and cash flow models to help clients visualise and understand their financial horizon and retirement forecasts.
Shane joined us from another Independent Financial Advice Company where he was an administrator dealing with high net worth clients.
He has worked in the Financial Services Industry since 2006 working for a large pensions and life company in Norwich servicing heritage pensions. In 2014 Shane moved to a medium/large based Financial Planning firm, starting as a Financial Administrator assisting the firm’s Director service their high-net worth client bank which required extensive, tax, investment and pension planning.
Here’s what Shane has to say.
‘Since joining the Independent Financial Advice profession, I have taken the approach that the best way to provide financial planning is by taking a holistic approach, looking at the whole picture, whilst ensuring the advice being given is clear, relevant, accurate and reflects the clients aims and objectives. My aim is to ensure the client goes away feeling confident and valued and knowing that they are in safe capable hands. I am looking forward to providing Financial Planning to my clients that will help them achieve their financial goals’
We are thrilled that Shane has taken on the role of Trainee Financial Planner in the Norwich office and is making great progress. He is enjoying dealing directly with our clients rather than being behind the scenes.
Well done Shane. We are proud to have you on board!
5th March 2018
Trump renews fears of global trade war
This week we have been rocked by two irrepressible forces of nature – the “Beast from the East” weather front and Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.
19th February 2018
Bond yields rise with inflation expectations
This week saw a small but significant rise in bond yields, continuing a trend which started in January and which is most likely due to increasing inflationary pressures and expectations of rates rising faster than previously thought. In the short-term equities have faltered too as investors reassess valuations of companies in the light of potentially higher discount rates. We would expect the direction of equity markets to change once there is a little more certainty about future rate hikes. Past Fed boards would have been quick to act to fix expectations, will the new chairman take a different attitude?
Only time will tell.
30th January 2018
Our Top 4 Recommendations to Take Control of your Finances in 2018
January – a new year and new beginning. For financial planners, January is one of our busiest months as people often want to start the year off right. To help you, here is our yearly checklist.
29th January 2018
Trump sweetens special relationship
This week our two favourite topics, Trump and Brexit, came together amid the snow and global oligarchy of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Apparently while embarking on an all-out trade war to Make America Great Again, the president will find the time to do the UK a favour on post-Brexit commerce. We’ll believe it when we see it; but given Trump has also just promised to testify under oath, as part of the investigation into possible Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, it might be wise to get Vice President Mike Pence on board as well, just in case.
22nd January 2018
UK Growth and inflation figures cast into doubt
This week we got the welcome news that inflation might have peaked, with the latest figures showing a slight decline. However, it seems we may never know the true effect of this on the UK economy after it was revealed that there are major flaws in the way the Office for National Statistics calculates growth and inflation. Given that their numbers govern everything from gilt yields to student loans, and even had a hand in last year’s interest rate rise, it would be nice to know they were correct.
15th January 2018
Fake news spreads to the Bond Markets and Brexit Negotiations
This week, like a many previous weeks, came with a lot of political noise, but largely saw markets continue to rise regardless. One of the more amusing bits of political theatre the markets ignored was the irritation of the Brexit secretary, seemingly over the EU warning British businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Despite months of rhetoric such as “no deal is better than a bad deal”, David Davis has apparently reacted badly to the EU taking the PM seriously. This is a reasonable point, the reshuffle this week showed that cabinet don’t take Mrs May seriously so it’s fair to ask why should anyone else.
9th January 2018
Happy New Year from all of us!
This week the new year started much as the old one left off. Global markets are shrugging off risk and continuing their upwards march. Much of the talk of the next few weeks will be if this can last the year as various bits of the investment industry publish their new year forecasts. While we’re tempted to call out the current bull run as hubris, there is nothing obvious on the horizon to halt it. Last year it survived rate rises, Trump and Brexit fears. If investors ignored those jumping off points, what will it take to change sentiment this year?
20th November 2017
Norway starts to sell out of oil
Norways sovereign wealth fund has announced it will sell out of oil and gas investments, subject to approval by the government and parliament. They justify this on diversification grounds, pointing out quite rightly that the country is already highly exposed to oil as a producer. However, that was true last year, so observers are asking what has changed.
Read this weeks Market Commentary to find out more…
17th November 2017
Confused by your tax return?
If you are a business owner or an individual with income from other sources, you will need to complete your tax return by 31st January 2018. Fines await those who fail to make the deadline. Don’t get caught out, we can help you complete your return with our quick and easy tax return service.
But we don’t stop there. If you’d like to, we can help you to avoid any last minute rushes next year by working with you over the year to help with your tax planning. Our pro-active strategy helps to avoid any nasty surprises. We’ll sit down with you regularly, review the past and plan the future. You get all the information you need to keep driving your business forward.
14th November 2017
Latest Financial Market Commentary
The UK Economy Hangs in the Balance
UK house prices are rising at their fastest since January, according to Halifax, but the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors suggests they are flat, with sales falling. Who to believe? This is the problem for watchers of the UK economy: different data sets point in different directions, and that is before you even attempt to deal with the politicising of that data.
10th November 2017
Trying to make sense of pension transfers? We can help cut through the complexity.
Having saved for your retirement, its important to make sure that the pension pot you’ve built up gives you the retirement you’ve dreamed of, when you finally stop working.
At Brancaster House, we are experts in helping our clients find the best ways to manage their money, now and in the future.
We can guide you through the complex pensions market, make sense of the options available to maximise your future income and help you enjoy the retirement you’ve worked hard for
6th November 2017
Reversal of the Brexit rate cut and a new head of Fed
This week we finally saw a rate rise, putting an end to what feels like years of scepticism on our part that it would ever happen.
Find out how this and other news this week has effected the financial markets by reading our full Market Commentary.
16th October 2017
Latest Financial Market Commentary
This week we have been treated to a further display of exactly what calibre of people we are currently governed by.
Read our Full Market Commentary to see how last week’s news affected the Financial Markets.
9th October 2017
May suffers mishaps on stage
This week we had the spectacle of Theresa May being given a P45 while the set fell apart around her during her Conservative Party conference speech.
Read our Full Market Commentary to find out how last weeks news has affected the markets.
2nd October 2017
Corbyn gaining momentum as Kim and Trump escalate tensions
This week we had the Labour party conference, which should have generated a few light-hearted stories to lead with, but Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in Brighton was a mixed a bag.
18th September 2017
North Korea Responds to Sanctions with Missile
This week has seen a rather aggressive end, with another North Korean missile flying directly over Japan in the early hour of Friday morning. The test flight is undoubtedly a defiant response to the additional sanctions imposed on the dysfunctional state this week by the UN in response to their earlier nuclear test.
29th August 2017
Bankers Gather at Jackson Hole
The US President continues to rile up the public with threats of shutting down the government if he doesn’t get his own way, and accusing the media of dividing the country in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville last week.
21st August 2017
Another Vehicle Attack Leaves Barcelona Devastated
News of another terrorist atrocity broke Friday morning, which as in too many weeks before, makes much of the rest of the week’s activity irrelevant.
7th August 2017
Carney Continues to Wait and See
This week the most interesting news was nothing. Specifically, the nothing done by the Monetary Policy Committee, which opted to leave interest rates at its current level.
1st August 2017
Markets Settle Down for Summer
This week has been a bit quiet by recent standards, as most of the western world slows down for the summer holidays.
26th July 2017
High Flying Tech Stocks Priced for Perfection
This week Travis Kalanick, chief executive of car-hailing and -sharing app Uber resigned following a string of controversies connected to the company’s practises and his personal conduct.
17th July 2017
This week we started to see the reality of Brexit as some of the mechanics of the transition become visible.
10th July 2017
Tension Surrounds G20 Summit
This week all the focus has been on the G20 summit that is taking place in Germany.
3rd July 2017
Government Focus Falls into Place
This week the fallout from the general election has come to some sort of a conclusion with the passing of the Queen’s speech on Thursday.
19th June 2017
Retail Sales On The Ropes
A few months ago, we noted that there were signs the British economy was starting to weaken, and this week brought the most worrying data yet: retail spending, the engine of recent growth, is looking decidedly ropey.
12th June 2017
May’s Election Gamble Backfires
This week, or rather the last hour and a half as this is being written, has come to be dominated by the shock election result.
9th June 2017
Some Excellent News from our Director, Scott Swift
On Friday 2nd June 2017, I found out that I passed my most recent exam. I have taken lots of exams, so that’s not really that unusual for those that know me. But this exam result was particularly special.
6th June 2017
UK Housing Prices Suffer Further Declines
UK house prices fell for the third month in a row in May, according to Nationwide, the first time this has happened since the financial crisis.
30th May 2017
Labour Cut Tory Lead to Five Points – Or Do They?
It seems like yesterday that we swore off opinion polls for life, but like addicts we are all back for more.
22nd May 2017
Brazil Recovery Story in Jeopardy
Brazilian President Michael Temer is being threatened with impeachment after recordings surfaced allegedly showing his involvement in corrupt payments to an already jailed former speaker of the parliament.
15th May 2017
There’s Only One Philip for May
This week the UK general election picked up steam, with leaked manifesto’s, a hit and run, and a detailed discussion of who puts the bins out being obvious highlights.
8th May 2017
Rising US Shale Takes its Toll on Oil
This week the late reporting of the drastic fall in the oil price, caused for the most part by a jump in US Shale production, proved to be the most interesting development.
2nd May 2017
Trump Proposes to Loosen Business Tax Rate and Draghi Keeps Rates Flat
This week we got another chance to see what a Trump Presidency might actually mean, with the much-anticipated release of his tax plan.
24th April 2017
UK Economic Picture Darkens
Friday morning saw another piece of poor economic data for the UK: retail sales slowed 1.4% quarter on quarter.
10th April 2017
US Launches Missiles and the FED Assesses Balance Sheet
This week geopolitics comes to the fore, with a potentially momentous meeting between Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping being overlaid with the US missile attack on Syria.
3rd April 2017
Hedged Fund Hero Crashed to Earth
He is estimated to have lost $4bn of his investors’ money on the trade.
20th March 2017
Populism’s Spread Cut Short
Political events continue to drive markets this week as the Dutch election and the UK government steal headlines.
13th March 2017
First and Final Spring Budget for Hammond
This week we finally have something new to talk about – the first budget from Philip Hammond as Chancellor.
6th March 2017
FED Pushes Forward in US
This week the market finally decided to listen the Federal reserves rate hike plans.
27th February 2017
Backtrack on Trump Trade
This week the driving factor behind most of the returns for the year so far has been thrown into doubt.
20th February 2017
Wally of the East and Questionable Governance
This week, aside from the on going train wreck of the Trump administration, we got a timely reminder that there is more than the one lunatic we ought to be worrying about.
14th February 2017
Greek Bailout Review Brings Trouble
This week we welcome back an old friend, the Greek debt crisis.
7th February 2017
UK Spending It While We Can
This week the standout event was the Bank of England’s move to keep interest rates at 0.25%. Fairly unexciting in itself, the guidance that came with it was illuminating.
30th January 2017
Trump Keeps Focus
This week, despite our best efforts, we are again obliged to talk about Donald Trump.
23rd January 2017
President XI Jinping Steals the Show
This week the World Economic Forum in Davos provided some refreshingly original news.
16th January 2017
Trump! Trump! Trump!
The headlines have been completely dominated by the president elect, with only a late flurry of snow providing any sort of distraction for the British media.
9th January 2017
Market Strength Continues
This week has mostly been dominated by predictions for the year ahead – which given the uncertain state of the world following a tumultuous 2016, seems like a particular folly!
19th December 2016
FED keeps focus
This week all attention has been on the US Federal Reserve, which decided to raise interest rates on Wednesday.
12th December 2016
Political Upset Remains the Norm
This week has been fairly routine, a couple of elections, a populist revolt and the toppling of a government, so far so ordinary.
12th December 2016
The Italian polls were right…
Italy will vote on Prime Minister Renzi’s political reform plan on Sunday.
28th November 2016
UK Economy still strong as political battle rolls on
The latest good news about the UK economy is a solid figure for business investment in the third quarter, the most recent one following the Brexit vote.
14th November 2016
Weekly Market Commentary
The moment that we never truly envisaged would arrive has done just that. Donald Trump’s ascension into the White House won’t actually take place until mid-January, but the preparations are already underway following his barnstorming election victory on early Wednesday morning.
11th November 2016
Weekly Market Commentary
A lot of attention has been given to the sell-off in government debt markets, although as ever the reality has failed to match up to the hype.
7th November 2016
Weekly Market Commentary
This week any hopes of finding something different to talk about were cruelly dashed when the high court ruled that the government couldn’t trigger article 50 without first running it by parliament.
21st October 2016
A New Accountant for BH Accounting
Brancaster House are delighted to welcome Gary Summons to our Accounting team.
19th October 2016
Excellent client feedback for our Mortgage Adviser
Our Mortgage and Protection Adviser, Matthew Metcalf has received this fabulous feedback from a recent client definitely worthy of a mention.
30th September 2016
Introducing Jason Cooper, our new Financial Planner
Brancaster House are delighted to welcome a new Financial Planner on board for our Sheringham Office. Jason Cooper comes to us with a wealth of experience and we’re really looking forward to him being part of the team.
27th September 2016
Aviva Final Salary Pension Scheme
Did You Work At Aviva / Norwich Union Prior To 2001?
If you did, then chances are that you were part of their Final Salary Pension Scheme.
17th July 2016
How To Boost Your Pension With Compound Interest
How To Harness The Power of Compound Returns To Boost The Value Of Your Savings, Pensions & Investments.
15th June 2016
3 Things You Should Protect In Your Financial Plan
Life can throw any number of unexpected events at you, and the value of financial security in the event that a “what if” actually happens cannot be overstated.