2016 what a massive year of global change
I just wanted to write to you with Christmas almost upon us and provide you with a review of the last 12 months and most importantly and our thoughts moving forwards.
2016 has been a year of shocks and the unexpected outcome of the US Presidential Election is a fitting end to the year. However, investors are increasingly adept at swiftly digesting these upsets and markets recovered their initial losses very quickly.
Of all the events that happened in 2016, the Donald Trump election is likely to have the quickest and biggest impact. Brexit will catch a headline or two, but there are no meaningful outcomes expected for some time, barring the initial fall in sterling. Investors have made the assumption that a Trump led government will implement fiscal stimulus which is likely to result in higher growth and inflation albeit at the cost of increased debt.
As a consequence, the US dollar has strengthened, some interest rates have risen, gold has fallen sharply and equities have been volatile but ultimately well under pinned.
Looking ahead, we believe that Trump will spend big and make a noise about doing so. He is unlikely to carry out many of the outrageous campaign promises that offended so many and will most likely appease those voters who may be disgruntled about broken promises with spending borrowed dollars.
We believe that the next few years, fuelled by fiscal stimulus could be a favourable environment for global equities with the focus on developed markets. Emerging markets have benefited enormously from globalization over the past 20 years and it would appear that this may now be on hold as developed nations begin to look more internally and question how they interact internationally going forward.
Co Fund Portfolios
Coming to the end of a very volatile year, I am very pleased to confirm that our individual investment portfolios have had a volatile, but ultimately very rewarding 12 months.
Our typical individual moderate portfolio on the Co Funds platform, will this year have seen a rise of close to 16.10% (12 months to 19th December 2016), with our favoured JP Morgan US fund achieving an amazing 38.30% over that same period. That said, it should be remembered that the FTSE100 is only at the same level now as 17 years ago in 1999!
Interestingly our two main UK funds have outperformed the FTSE100 over 5 years by 17% and 19%, after charges.
Concerning our property syndicates which are of course controlled by the members, we have seen a steady year with some rents achieving excellent review increases (Syndicate 36 Fareham, achieving a 15.35% increase in annual rent at review and Syndicate 18 in Fulham an 11.20% increase at review).
Alastair Warwick-Smith our property director has been very active on purchases with over £25 million acquired in the 12 months, but also making the most of the existing assets. For example, the upper floor offices of Syndicate 22 in Lymington, were converted to 12 residential units which were then sold and after costs this achieved an 87 % return for the members.
Of course some of our property assets and investment funds require additional work, but with low bank account returns, the property syndicates are looking great value for achieving long term income. Membership of a number of different syndicates is always beneficial!
We are now up to 67 syndicates in number and therefore I have been working on a suitable way forward for the AGM’s. I will be writing to you early in January with a view to organising face to face AGM’s for those syndicates with significant activities. The remaining syndicates will likely be some form of internet or telephone dial in, held during the month of February 2017.
Of course we will continue to request members votes where a decision needs to be made.
LCM Multi Asset Fund
Our own LCM Multi Asset fund has had a good year with a likely positive return of 4% after annual charges, achieved while very defensively positioned – a good job by Darren in very volatile times, outperforming the similar Standard Life fund by 8% over the 12 months. Growing steadily, this fund is now over £7 million.
We continue with our steady progress and I am very pleased to confirm that it is almost 30 years since I started this business in my bedroom! We have always worked hard to help our clients and friends find solutions to financial issues – the largest being how to replace earned income with unearned income!
We have a team of 30 that make me extremely proud and this year I was delighted to welcome Lee van Hoyland to the board of Lewis Investment. Lee has achieved chartered status and is already proving his worth to the board.
In February 2017, Marie Northover will be heading up the Lewis Master Trust for company auto enrolment pension schemes. Marie has joined us after 29 years with RBS, where she was running a team of 15.
Our own Matthew Piggin, who many of you will know, is still very ill and we would like to wish Matthew and his family our very best wishes for a full recovery in 2017.
It leaves me to thank you, our clients for your loyalty and trust over 2016 and we very much look forward to advising you in the years to follow. We try to bring common sense and security to investing and most importantly aim to achieve a steady annual return from real assets.
Best wishes to you and your family this Christmas.
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