WELCOME to issue 12
I know we say it every year, but how is it Christmas time already?! It has been a very busy year for the SK Team and Issue 12 of SKQ marks three whole years of publishing and we are very proud of the work so far.
A big thank you to everyone who has contributed over the years and to Grove Park Design for pulling it all together.
In this issue:
• Introducing SK Hub and the importance of data security
• Richard discusses investing in a ‘Permacrisis’
• Inspirational Speaker, Nick Elston, shares his journey and how attitudes have changed towards mental health
• Sarah Adama lets us know what she has been up to since being part of the SK Client Focus groups and Women of the City magazine.
As always, the SK Team is here for you.
We encourage you to share our magazine with those you think may ﬁnd it useful.
If you have any feedback or would like to contribute to our next issue of SKQ, send Chloe an email at chloe@skﬁnancial.net
“Kunle, everything is all in order. I can only imagine there being an argument over one item. The kitchen table. Why? Because that is where so many fond family memories were created.”
I love the fact that the most sought after item was one that symbolised family memories. This got me thinking about memories, about what
we remember or perhaps what we ‘choose to’ remember and of course, what we forget.
There is no doubt that, from a nancial point of view, this year has been a di cult one. Since December 2009, base rates have been 0.5% or less and in the last few months alone it has risen to 3%, which is a considerable hike.
But it’s easy to forget that for the 15 years prior to 2007, the base rate uctuated between roughly 4.5% and 7%. Rates were considerably higher than they are now and that was the norm. Having a base rate at the level it is now is an adjustment and may not necessarily be the anomaly you might be tempted to think it is.
Similarly, the investment markets have uctuated more than ever. Yes, investments do fall in value as well as rise, but it’s also worth remembering that investment markets tend to fall 25% of the time and rise 75% of the time. And already, at the time of writing, the FTSE 100 is 300 points o its 12 month high, although the FTSE 250 is still lagging behind its 12 month high.
Interest rates and the investment markets are two areas that have caused a lot of panic and upset amongst many of us. But it’s in times like this that I remember Dr Martin Luther King’s quote:
clients are and increasing the level of communications, which have centered around the two aforementioned topics plus the impact of in ation.
The priority was to refocus attention back on their long term plans, what they want to achieve – the important things in life - and making sure everything is still in place to make that happen. When turbulence hits, it can be easy to forget the plan, to forget that we can adjust and that we can adapt. And while some of the conversations were di cult and some of the stories alarming, we were able to remind people of the plan, focus on facts (not just media hyperbole) and to remember what really matters.
moments of convenience and comfort,
measure of a man is not where he stands
Here’s to better memories. Wishing you all a better 2023.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King
INTRODUCING SK HUB
Over the next few months we will be offering our clients access to SK Hub .
SK Hub gives you a clear, uncomplicated view of your finances - your investments, savings, pensions, insurances, mortgages, loans and property.
It keeps your important financial documents safe, secure and accessible, allowing you to store all your paperwork in one place, including wills, property deeds, insurance contracts, policy documents, valuations and statements. We can also share documents and reports with you via SK Hub, so that you can read them when it’s convenient.
On your desktop and as an app on your tablet or smart phone, your finances are brought together under a single login, accessible to you at any time, wherever you are.
Our privacy controls allow you to decide who your information is shared with, for example your partner or your adviser. You can set your privacy defaults when you first log in and easily change this for individual financial items as you add them to your account. The SK Hub ensures that you are always in control of your data.
We take the security of your personal and financial information very seriously and the SK Hub makes sure that your data is safeguarded using bank level security and encryption. Our mobile app is further protected with your own six-digit pin and registered to your personal device.
So if you haven’t already done so, give SK Hub a go!
Q&A WITH SARAH ADAMA
Sarah is a part of a new generation of politically engaged and motivated future leaders. We ﬁrst met her when she took part in one of our Client Focus Groups linked to the EY Foundation in back in June 2020. She is a current law undergraduate, hoping to pursue a master’s degree and leave a mark on the political and economic landscape.
We’ve not seen you for a couple of years. What have you been up to?
I am now in the ﬁnal year of my law degree and have spent the last few years working to provide alternative solutions to people, particularly the youth in the U.K. Many are from communities that lack the necessary exposure, access and leadership to achieve good outcomes in life.
I work on projects with the objective of economically empowering people to prosper. I focus on community building at a grassroots level and cultivating relationships with stakeholders at all levels, the public and private sectors. Alongside a strong community of partners, I devote ﬁnancial resources, mentorship and support to young entrepreneurs, anything that provides an alternative to a life they already know.
This takes many forms. Law City, a legal organisation, is one of these projects for the legal sector. Founded by a close friend who is a trainee solicitor at a magic circle ﬁrm, Law City develops and connects aspiring lawyers from low-socioeconomic backgrounds to mentorship and careers in the city. We have a network of over 3,000 aspiring legal professionals across the globe.
In January 2020, I became a youth adviser on the Bank of England Youth Forum. I conducted a year-long study on the eﬀects of Covid-19 on youth unemployment in the labour market.
The report was presented to the monetary policy committee and has also been published on the website.
In March 2020, I joined the Women of the City Magazine as one of the Editors. I write to inform our expansive network of readers about politics and the economy and proﬁle women trailblazing their industries.
Tell us a bit more about ‘Women of the City’ Women of the City is a global platform for women who are inspirational in their daily lives. WOTC is a large community of trailblazers, women doing extraordinary things who can be recognised on a platform. We have a vision to put value on all woman across the world and introduce a new class of inﬂuencers, who have real impact in politics, business and community.
Since 2020, we have featured 100+ cover girls, hosted city-wide and virtual summits, marked important weeks such as Fashion Week, the Now Woman Summit and The Big Beauty Summit and supported women with the resources to start or grow their businesses. WOTC launched its New Faces Awards (NFAs) in December 2021 to recognise the work of new trailblazers and highlight opportunities to foster new partnerships, build alliances and upli female entrepreneurs, professionals and creatives.
The problems that I am presented with in community building push me out of my comfort zone. It has given me a high level of responsibility, ability to solve problems but an invisible drive that keeps me going on a daily basis. Of course, this is mainly because I have the right mentorship and guidance.
I do everything with the belief that nothing is beyond reach, or “impossible is nothing” as my mentor says. You are never too young to change your community.
I have contributed to fundraising millions that went back into investing in communities through various endeavours, both in the U.K. and Africa. I have seen the impact of this investment, with many families being helped and young entrepreneurs being able to expand their business and create more jobs.
What’s next for you ?
A er graduation, I will pursue a master's degree in the area of social sciences at an Oxbridge University or London School of Economics and Political Science and later qualify as a solicitor.
I see myself advising governments and companies and supporting new, young leaders to take up political positions. Philanthropy is good but one policy changes a million lives in a minute. I want to inﬂuence the way policies are made and write policies that are forward-looking and inspire transformational leadership.
GET TO KNOW NICK ELSTON
Nick has shared his words of wisdom in our previous issues, as well as assisted the SK team with what we call our ‘Mind Gym’. For this issue, we thought it would be great to get to know a bit more about Nick.
Tell us more about what you do
I am an inspirational speaker on the lived experience of mental health and a transformational speaking coach. Having lived my own journey of ‘transformation through speaking’, my mission is now to help as many people as possible achieve development, inspiration and empowerment through the use of ‘emotional storytelling’ and creating the courage to be vulnerable, in the most positive way.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The most enjoyable part of what I do has to be to see the transformation in people that I am coaching or speaking to, as they see their own lives reflected in a wholly different viewpoint than they had before. It’s not about me, it’s about them. My ‘job’ is purely to sow the seeds of as many questions as possible – we have all the answers we ever need, we just need to ask the right questions, then move the hell out of our own way.
How have you seen
over the course of the last two years in terms of mental health?
I have to say, one of the silver linings of the last couple of years, that have been brutal for many, has to be the rise of mental health awareness solutions and initiatives – coupled with a shift in perspective that many of us have not had before. We started to see everything through new eyes. Even though we are not there yet, we seem to be heading in the right direction.
What coping mechanisms do you use and how do you switch off?
I like to picture my general wellbeing as a battery. So, out of ten – how do I feel today? Very rarely is it a 10! Which means it’s essential for me to know what nourishes me, what depletes me – even who nourishes me and who depletes me. The awareness of this allows me to be able to bring my energy up by doing what is right for me at that point – what I call my ‘playbook’. Some days it’s gaming, sometimes it’s walking in nature – my most positive mechanism that I have started again this year is a morning swim, it really invigorates me. I also like to listen to as many audiobooks and podcasts as possible when travelling –usually I listen to people or subjects that are not like me, to avoid the echo chamber effect.
What’s your favourite quote?
‘Every storm runs out of rain’ – a quote I use every day when speaking, it resonates with me so much and it’s also the title of a great country music track by Gary Allen. Every storm you have ever been through, you have at least survived and wherever you find yourself now, this will pass.
What would you now like to have known that you didn’t know before?
I’d like to have known how fast time flies. I don’t have many regrets in life, as every lesson – win or lose – has led me to where I am now. However, I will probably never shake the regret of losing decades to mental illness, mental health challenges, anxiety and subsequent bad life choices. It’s one of the few things that can really make me sad. I try not to go there too often.
Would it have been important for you to have learnt about personal finance at school?
Absolutely, yes – 100%. My relationship with money was skewed. My parents were entrepreneurs and I wanted for nothing, we weren’t mad millionaires, but we did and had nice things. When I started work, I realised how lazy I was and I had little respect for money – easy come, easy go. This led to credit, debt and financial problems for many years. Thankfully those days are behind me –plus, with there being such a strong link between money and mental health, it’s always been a roller-coaster area for me.
What is the best money tip that you have been given?
When I launched my self-employed journey as a professional speaker, the first time someone asked me what my fee was, I felt frozen. To me, £200 was a lot of money, but I had no point of reference – even though that is a fraction of my fee today – my confidence, self-worth and personal value were not yet in a great place. So, I called my first mentor, Brad Burton, and asked him, as he had been speaking for many years prior. He asked me how much I would be happy with, I said £200 and he said, well, charge £500 and at worst you can use it as point. I told the client £500 and they booked me straight away. The next week I had the same conversation with a London firm, I quoted the same and got declined, as I wasn’t charging enough. The thinking was I would not be a good enough speaker. So the message is this – don’t allow your lack of confidence to drive your pricing, build up the value in your offering, be bold and have a set menu of prices that you get comfortable saying, even if at the start of your journey it triggers that imposter syndrome.
• Inspirational Speaker
• Award Winning Mental Health Engagement
• Transformational Speaking Coach
• Founder of Forging People www.nickelston.com
The Collins English Dictionary has just announced its word of the year is ‘permacrisis’. Actually, I’d not heard the word used in everyday discourse either by friends and acquaintances, or even in the media. A permacrisis is ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity, especially one resulting from a series of catastrophic events’ and for many, will feel like a very diﬃcult time to invest.
But the reality is, that through all the noise, the fundamentals of long-term investment still hold true. Agree a plan with your ﬁnancial adviser, rebalance the investment portfolio regularly, but not too o en as that can get expensive, and have the conviction to see it through. This sounds simple enough, but as many of us will have experienced, taking this more measured approach doesn’t always come easy. Why?
What really drives our decision-making
Behavioural ﬁnance is a relatively new area of theory. It shines a light on how investors make decisions in the ever-changing world of ﬁnancial markets, challenging the traditional theories that suggest markets are rational and that investors generally make rational decisions. Findings show that it is in fact emotions and personality traits that are much more likely to drive investment behaviour and success.
Let’s take overconﬁdence, for example – a common personality trait that can dominate ﬁnancial decision-making. An overconﬁdent investor will believe they have more control over their investments than they actually do. This may have been borne out of a successful trade or taking proﬁts before a downturn.
Studies in the United States, where personal investing is more embedded in the culture, show that like gambling (deliberate use of the word there) a self-investor, who has experienced some initial success, will believe that success can be repeated by continuing their active trading. However, these studies* also show that the over-active traders earned the lowest returns, compared to other more passive investors within the same retail brokerage. It’s therefore useful to have someone you can trust to help keep you in check.
Acknowledging the role emotions play
Another common emotion experienced by investors is fear. In some instances, it’s the fear of committing a lump sum investment for the long term and watching the market drop immediately a erwards. According to James Norton at Vanguard, this may lead to decision paralysis. They decide to wait for the right time, but that time never arrives. For those that do feel this fear, drip feeding amounts into the market from cash on a monthly basis can be a way of gaining exposure, while avoiding bigger losses, if markets did subsequently take a tumble.
When you consider that cash rates still lag way behind inﬂation, over the longer term having some money in the market is o en better than none at all.
We therefore must acknowledge that rational thinking doesn’t always drive our decision making, not least when we’re in a ‘permacrisis’ and that the best investment you can make will be some informed advice and a steadying hand.*Barber & Odean 1999
THE SK INVEST PODCAST WITH CHRIS FLEMING INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, SQUARE MILE
Every quarter we interview our investment partner, Square Mile, asking them questions raised either by our clients, our colleagues or within our community.
For our winter podcast, we had the pleasure once again of speaking to Chris Fleming, Investment Director at Square Mile.
Here we discuss Square Mile’s expectations now for interest rates in the UK over the next 6-12 months and if they expect recent events in that area to impact on the way the portfolios are structured.
We will also be discussing the year to date performance ﬁgures on our range of portfolios, which generally show the higher the equity content, the better the performance. In a declining market you would normally expect the opposite. We asked Chris why he thinks this is and is it an anomaly or something more permanent?
Listen here for the full conversation between Chris and our Client Director Neil Bower
GET TO KNOW: GROVE PARK DESIGN
Grove Park Design, is a design and content company and we have been working with SK in one form or another for over a decade now. We helped them design and build their website, we design each issue of SKQ (and here we are contributing too) and work with them on their regular online articles, which are deﬁnitely worth a read.
But our relationship started way before that. Jason was working in the Design team at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and we needed a mortgage. Enter Neil and Kunle. They were used to working with rather larger mortgage budgets than what we could aﬀord back then, working, as they did, with investment bankers. But they were the consummate professionals, they listened and guided us through our ﬁrst house purchase with ease.
Fast forward twenty years and we’re still their clients and they continue to guide us through the ups and downs of the investment landscape – no mean feat considering the last few years, let alone the last few months, we have lived through.
As a business, we work with a wide range of companies from start-ups to long standing consumer brands, from ﬁnancial ﬁrms like SK to charities and school meal providers. It is a broad church for sure.
But what remains a constant is that we really enjoy the relationships we have with our clients. We get to know the people and the businesses, what they want to achieve and where they see themselves in the future and through creative design and words help them achieve these goals. I think that’s why we get on so well with the team at SK – it feels like a very similar way of working.
Although we now live in rural Lincolnshire, London – and more speciﬁcally Camberwell – is our spiritual home. We bought our ﬁrst home there, our children were born there. But if we had to live somewhere new, Berlin would top the list.
SK CHRISTMAS CLASSICS
It t p fect ti of year f hun ring d n, hot choc ates and a film. e SK team sha their fav ri Chri mas films.
Chloe – The Santa Clause 1,2 and 3 with Tim Allen aka ‘Tim the Toolman Taylor’ – he was a big favourite in our house
Kunle - It’s a Wonderful Life. Sometimes all we need is what we already have…we just need to be reminded. Plus you get what you give.
Michael – Elf, of course!
Richard - The Polar Express. A lovely family ﬁlm ﬁlled full of faith and hope.
Jade - The Grinch, I used to watch it a lot when I was young and just thought it was so magical and wanted to live in Whoville.
Emma - The Polar Express. Stunning animation, a real Christmas feel all the way through. Perfect for all the family, a classic!
Beth - I love Elf as it’s a ‘feel good’ funny family ﬁlm. And Love Actually, just brings out all the emotions! I watch these 2 ﬁlms every year without fail.
David - it‘s got to be Elf for me
Neil - Home Alone, takes me back to a happy place!
Lesley - A boy called Christmas, Kindness and courage!
Tracey – Muppets Christmas Carol, love Kermit and Miss Piggy’s take on an old classic!
"Winter is not a season, it is a celebration"ANAMIKA MISHRA
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