2018: a good year that changed gear

2018: a good year that changed gear

John_Campbell_BlogLast week, I reviewed my first newsletter of 2018: Zuma out, Ramaphosa to be inaugurated, the rand strengthening 11.65 to the dollar (the best in four years) and our stock market at an all-time high. Sentiment was positive, and it looked like 2018 was going to be a good year.

Now, looking back, we wonder what went wrong …. Clearly, the rot caused by the Zuma era runs deeper than we imagined. Our economic challenges were already set to make a 2018 a tough year, but our local corporate issues have magnified the negative impact on our markets: Steinhoff’s share down more than 90%; Tiger Brands’ Listeriosis crisis; irregularities at Resilient and NEPI with a huge share price drop and impact on the Property Index; debt and sale of a division of Aspen Pharmaceuticals; MTN’s Nigeria woes;
and, more recently, the drop in Naspers share price on the JSE, amounting to 6% of the 10% loss we have suffered to date. (Naspers is the largest share on the JSE and it has lost
23% this year.)

Fortunately, our commodities have softened this blow, without which we would be close to 15% down for the year. The Global markets and South Africa have enjoyed the longest run of positive returns in the history of share markets, so a correction was expected – though it is never well received and timing is uncertain.

Where Financial Planning fits in
I attended the annual Financial Planning Association Convention in Chicago, the largest gathering of Financial Planners from around the globe with 35 countries represented … and one South African delegate! It’s my fourth global conference in a decade, and I apply the insights, practical strategies and knowledge in our business.  I noted a digital billboard stating that 837 lives had been
lost in road carnage since 2011, as a warning to drive carefully. I arrived at the Hyatt to find a large group of employees striking, playing drums and making a racket (we are definitely more vibrant!). I was reminded that every nation has its problems – often we think we have it much harder in South Africa. To top it, my hotel room faced a Trump hotel, so I was greeted by the word TRUMP in massive lights as I opened my morning curtains.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference, listening to the most incredible speakers, many of whom are very highly qualified specialists in their fields – I met my first Doctor of Financial Planning! I learned from the Global Head of HSBC that their planners write over a million plans a year.

The Americans have the most interesting organisations; I met the founder of the Financial Psychology Institute, a researcher from the Stanford Centre of Longevity, and so it went. My takeaways are that our business, strategy and planning techniques are right up there with global standards and we shall continue to ensure that our Retiremeant™ Specialists and our business exceed this benchmark.

At Chartered House
I am excited to say that, on 1 November, Chartered Invest went live. This is a business we have formed to implement and consolidate your investments. For years, we struggled with clients having investments spread across various businesses like Old Mutual and Investec, with perhaps a few unit trusts at Allan Gray and Coronation. Every month they would receive from each business a different statement, difficult to read and understand.

We can now accommodate all your investments on one platform and give you one statement reflecting everything you have. This not only simplifies your life and removes clutter and confusion, but also allows us to access all your information on our system – no more dealings with numerous inefficient call centres.

So, you can receive one statement with your Living Annuity invested through Old Mutual and your tailored portfolio invested with PMX – all on one report. You will learn more about this in your next review meeting.

Warm regards,
John Campbell

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