January 2021 Investment Review

2020 ended up being the most difficult investment period I can remember in my 33 year career. I could be wrong, as you do tend to remember only the good times and conveniently forget the bad. Both 2011/12 and 2018/19 were years where we lost some of our profits, so the difficult conditions encountered last year were eased by the fact “this wasn’t our first rodeo”.

That said 3 of our portfolios actually ended the year in profit whilst the other two ended broadly level. It seemed like a huge amount of work for very little return.

The scores on the doors.

Portfolio1 Year %Max Drop in March %
Cautious-0.01%38.24%
Moderate3.81%28.45%
Adventurous-0.30%40.41%
AIM2.57%46.28%
Go For Growth20.86%55.31%
FTSE 100-14.34%*33.99%
FTSE 250-6.38%*41.37%
Interestingly trying to be safe by holding a much higher percentage of a portfolio in cash, still resulted in our Cautious Portfolio falling almost as far as our Aggressive Portfolio. This is due to the mandated higher percentage holding in “lower risk” property shares and the inability to hold smaller shares higher up the risk scale. We manage very little for Cautious clients and have not taken onboard any new clients we have classified as Cautious for 7 years now. * Some dividends were also still paid on top in 2020, but these were very limited.
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Jason and The Argonauts

Happy New Year!

I almost never watch the television, but on Christmas Eve I watched the original film of Jason and the Argonauts from 1963. As a child the special effects were convincing and frightening. It was certainly not a classic and the ending was a total letdown, but nevertheless I enjoyed it.

The film ended as Jason set off for home, complete with the Golden Fleece, with Zeus proclaiming he would let him live for now as he had more plans for Jason. Unfortunately for Jason, by the time the film was released the world had changed. There was never the sequel because Yuri Gagarin had been launched into space by the Russians and the US were in shock. America became focussed on the quest to reach the moon and so gladiator films and greek mythology was replaced with a robot called Robbie and Captain James T. Kirk.

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A December to Remember

As we focus on the issues that have still to be resolved by the end of this year, it’s easy to forget what has already happened so far. It has been a stand-out year for all the wrong reasons. Currently we are focussed on;

  • Tiers for Fears. Even the mighty metropolis of “that there London” is now experiencing the kind of lock-in that most of us have been forced to live with for the majority of the year. How long will lock-down London last and what effect will it have on some of the recovery shares we own? Covid numbers are rising in some places and falling in others, perhaps due to the type of test and the number of tests performed? Funnily enough that has been going on all year up and down the country, but it’s now seen as more important as London and its media centre can no longer go “down the pub”. East-Enders will be without an “Old Vic” Christmas Day family punch up, as the punters are not allowed out. With Scotch egg or no Scotch egg.
  • Remember Donald Trump? There’s still some fight left in him but he shouldn’t be US President for much longer. More importantly now are a couple of run-off contests which will decide the potency of the future Democratic President Biden.
  • And Brexit. Yawn. There will be a deal, right at the last minute, it won’t be the one anyone wants, but the globe won’t stop turning at midnight along the Greenwich Meridian. Hopefully the French won’t throw their veto into the hat, but I wouldn’t put it past Emperor Macron following the example set by General De Gaulle.
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