SKQ Issue 7

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issue 7

SKQ A publication from


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Is Halloween really just around the corner? This year seems to be flying by. The SK team came together for the first time in over a year for our quarterly team social, our last time was Christmas 2019. As much as we enjoyed the online Zoom ‘pub quizzes’ and bingo, it was fantastic to all be back together. In this issue: l Kunle discusses cash, inflation and savings • Samuel Townsend from Independent Health Care Solutions Limited breaks down the myths and tips surrounding private healthcare. • Kunle interviews Jackie Boylan, Head of Fidelity FundsNetwork to discuss her career and her personal values. • Smruti Hiremath shares her experience of leaving university and entering the work force As always, the SK Team is here for you.


Editor 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

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CONTENTS 04 Is Cash always King? 06 Quarterly Market Commentary 08 Q&A with Jacqui Boylan 10

Healthcare Myths & Tips


Leaving university with Smruti Hiremath


Get to know Beth


SK Invest Podcast – Introducing Martyn Cuff


SK Recommends – App Edition

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is cash always king? By The simple answer here is no, but the reality and reasoning is much more nuanced than this. There is no denying that having cash readily available is a must have in life. In the event of an emergency, you will want to be able to access money fast. With this is mind, it can be tempting to squirrel away as much cash as you can. But there really is such a thing as too much cash. And here’s why…. While there are rumours of change at the Old Lady where interest rates are concerned, the best instant cash rates are still currently less than 1%. (0.61% the last time I looked). Compare this to the current rising rate of inflation and you’ll quickly see why the purchasing power of your cash will be on the way down. The three types of inflation have different rates, but all well exceed the 1% mark. The Retail Price Index, which includes mortgage payments and which is largely influenced by house prices and interest rates, stands at 3.9% - six times the best instant access interest rate we found.

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The Consumer Price Index takes no account of housing costs and just factors in all the other goods and services and stands at 2.5%. Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index does include housing costs, but uses an approach called “rental equivalence”, essentially calculating how much rent a tenant would pay for an equivalent property. This one is the lowest at 2.4%. Whichever way you look at it, your cash will not hold its value in an instant access account, meaning that if you keep too much cash aside, you won’t just be losing out on investment opportunities, you will actually be losing serious money. So how much cash should you hold? The amount of course depends on your own situation but as a rule of thumb, we recommend a minimum of six months total expenditure.

Beyond that, there are an unending number of things you can do with your money. When we spoke to our colleagues, clients and industry peers, we found though that there were three main categories for how people spent their cash. Of course, people looked to invest it in alternative options to the low interest, instant access accounts or to pay off accumulated debt, a mortgage perhaps. Others, meanwhile, were more focused on doing the things that were important to them – putting it towards grandchildren’s education, donating it to charity or going on more family holidays to make lasting memories. But there were also those who looked for a bit of both – an investment but in something that they were passionate about. Art lovers buying great art, wine buffs investing in fine wines and petrol heads splashing out on classic cars, all of which will bring joy and (hopefully!) a bit of money to boot.

“If you keep too much cash aside, you won’t just be losing out on investment opportunities, you will actually be losing serious money.” The main message here then is, of course make sure you have enough cash to cover your expenses in an emergency, but for the cash over and above this, don’t let apathy be your decision maker. Take the time to be a bit more creative and find the right way for you to spend and invest it. It’ll be well worth the effort.

savers need to work harder to reach their goals Interest income no longer keeps pace with inflation

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QUARTERLY MARKET COMMENTARY By Mark Harries, Chief Investment Officer, Square Mile Recent UK economic signals have remained broadly positive and the June GDP numbers indicated a stronger recovery than forecasted and the Bank of England now expects the economy to regain its pre-COVID size by the end of this year. While growth in the UK’s service sector has slowed to its weakest level since March overall, it has been a much more positive story for manufacturing. The Bank also found costs were rising at their fastest pace in 25 years, raising concerns of inflation. Inflationary pressures within the labour market were also evident, with UK job vacancies rising above 1 million for the first time ever. The list of anecdotal reports of labour and product shortages continued to grow, including McDonald’s milkshakes, chicken-based products at Greggs, bikes at Halfords and decaffeinated coffee at Costa. The well-documented semi-conductor shortages alongside labour shortages from the ‘pingdemic’ and Brexit migration away from the UK resulted in an almost 40% fall year-on-year in UK car production, which is the worst performance seen since 1956. In fact, efforts to plug labour shortages led to the highest number of job vacancies on record. It is ironic that for most of the pandemic period policymakers were worried about too much unemployment. Now the fear is that there are not enough workers to fill all of the jobs. However, there are still some lingering concerns that when the government furlough scheme finishes at the end of this month, unemployment will jump. We will have to wait and see. So, as we move into the Autumn, we remain positive on the outlook but expect returns to be a little more volatile than we have seen so far this year. Our thoughts expressed in this update relate only to the portfolios we manage, or advise on, on behalf of our clients and as such may not be relevant to portfolios managed by other parties.

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JACKIE BOYLAN Kunle managed to entice Jackie Boylan to the Oval cricket ground for the first time to learn more about the lady who is driving many positive changes at Fidelity Funds Network. We managed to avoid questions on Australian cricket! Tell us more about what you do? I help advisers look after their clients’ financial wellbeing by providing a “platform” that enables them to invest and transact easily and efficiently. What do you most enjoy about your role? Definitely the client interaction, even when it isn’t always positive. I get great satisfaction out of knowing we help people in such an important area of wellbeing. Having financial understanding and ideally financial security is so important. I also like to get a bit creative - what’s coming in the future that could help advisers and clients, how do we ensure we understand problems and how can we solve them, how do we look at other industries and apply that to financial services?

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I couldn’t work on my own. I love being surrounded by my team. I have on occasion worked in more siloed roles and I didn’t really enjoy it. I am still learning about diversity in society. What positive changes are you seeing in diversity of thought? I’m still learning too! Every time I speak with someone who is different to me I find it interesting and thought provoking. When you ask questions and truly listen, your wisdom develops something that I expect is only a realisation you get as you get older?! Key things I’m seeing are a better understanding that all perspectives are relevant (not just the ones that match your own).

People accepting and even embracing the view that recruiting in your mirror image (because you want someone as good as yourself) is not the best outcome. You already have one of you, do you really need another? And finally an openness to question long held personal beliefs or perspectives (we ran unconscious bias training with our team, and then facilitated discussion groups). We all have biased opinions, that’s human nature, but being aware of them and then working out how to manage them is really important. How can the financial services profession improve the financial education that students receive? We have been throwing around ideas on this with a competitor of mine. Just because we are competitors doesn’t mean we don’t share the same values. The key thing really is to get the Government to agree it’s important enough to be part of the school curriculum. After having conversations with some industry colleagues, I believe this has been lobbied for over the years without much success. So there are a few things we could do if we can’t crack that way. Firstly, we could support other groups that do offer financial literacy in schools. But we could also band together and do something ourselves and continue what we do now which is ad hoc career days and advice sessions (is something better than nothing?). What tips would you have for anyone starting a career? • Work hard • Be curious • Don’t be afraid to try something different • Get on LinkedIn and connect with people

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• Read (or listen) to articles/podcasts • Find something you feel passionate about/something you connect with/something that makes going to work not actually feel like working How do you deal with disappointment? I’m quite positive and competitive, so if something disappoints me, I reflect on why and what I can do to make sure I’m not disappointed again. That sounds really simplistic, however I do think it’s something that is possibly genetic? With all of the issues around mental wellbeing, particularly being highlighted during the COVID lockdown period, I do think I am extremely fortunate to have strong mental health. Although from what I’ve been reading, I shouldn’t just assume that will always be the case. I am generally optimistic and I think being a leader who embodies that is really important. What's your favourite quote? “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” by Maya Angelou I really love this one because it gets to the heart of that human connection, that care we need to show our clients. What would you now like to have known that you didn’t know before? That being myself is ok. As a female in a male dominated industry, for a long time I felt like I had to act and dress in a certain way to be successful. I was also told I needed to be more like certain people I worked with; louder, more dominant. I wish I had understood that there are more paths to success than just one. I hope I’m showing people that now!

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Private Medical Insurance (PMI) is intended to treat acute medical conditions. Most providers can now replicate the full care pathway from an initial GP consultation all the way to treatment, essentially, you may not need to call upon the NHS at all. PMI is often provided by employers, but as a consequence of Covid-19, we are seeing many more individuals purchasing it for the first time and companies are expanding existing policies. Both individuals and employers are doing this with the aim of maximising their ability to have treatment with as little delay as possible and guaranteeing access to treatments not offered by the NHS. Below are some of the more frequent misconceptions about this subject and tips of how to get the best value from a private healthcare policy. 1.Myth – Historical conditions will not be covered under a new policy. This is a common assumption, but most providers will cover historical ailments, if you have been symptom and treatment free for the last 5 years. 2. Myth – Making a claim means that you are “locked-in” to your current provider. Again this is untrue. Pre-existing conditions will remain covered, if you transfer to another provider, subject to being able to meet their medical transfer declaration.

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3. Myth – It is often believed that self-funding treatment is cheaper. This is not always the case. What becomes apparent as we get older is that the cost of self-funding increases considerably because of the frequency and complexity of medical treatment that is required. If you are now considering PMI, here are our three top tips on finding the best option for you. Tip 1 – Having separate policies for a couple will allow you to independently obtain the best premiums from the market each year following a market review. Tip 2 – Even a basic policy from most providers will cover all in and day-patient appointments, scans (CT/PET/MRI) and cancer care in full. This type of cover will allow members to circumvent the NHS surgical waiting times and to access some cancer treatments that are not available on the NHS. Tip 3 – Always ensure that you obtain independent specialist advice because the healthcare insurance market is complicated and many people have pre conceived ideas about what is and is not covered. A private medical insurance specialist will be able to offer a bespoke policy that suits your specific needs. As with all aspects of financial planning it is always sensible to explore all options before disregarding a possible solution. With the importance of health being greater now than at any point in the past, medical insurance represents a cost effective way to guarantee the best care possible. Telephone: 01274 693020 Independent Health Care Solutions (IHCS) is a specialist independent intermediary dedicated to making their clients better off. IHCS was established with one objective – to give customers a better deal. We aim to offer a wide range of great value healthcare products that are easy to understand and perform as you would expect them to, with no hidden surprises.


Leaving university doesn’t mean the end of learning! After wrapping up three great years doing Maths at the University of Exeter and starting to work for a FinTech startup, Smruti Hiremath discusses life after university, finding work and money tips that she has learned through the transition from student-hood to the ‘real world’.

Worst case, they don’t reply. Or they do reply, we have a great conversation, I learn loads about the industry, get advice about next steps and maybe even make a new friend. This even helps with job applications as roles I was more proactive and passionate about were the ones I got.

I found the true learning curve came when entering the real world as an adult, I’m learning so much about myself and about how things work.

Sometimes, it feels like they’ve been so helpful that I’ll never be able to repay them, usually I can’t and that’s okay. The only thing I can do is pass it on. It is also nice to chat to younger students going through the things I just went through. After all, meeting so many new people both professionally and personally was the best part of university, I’m glad it continues after too.

With basically no responsibilities in a world ‘that is my oyster’, I’ve found there are lots of opportunities to learn. Whether this means working extra hours to pick up more cross-business tasks at work or spending spare time reading around interesting subjects, throwing myself into keeping busy seems like the best use of my twenties. I’m almost certain the best part of life after university is the exploring, so I’m enjoying making the most of it. I am grateful to the many people who were so willing to share their experiences. This was particularly useful when thinking about a career and finding work. Turns out the best thing to do is talk to someone. The hardest part about getting this help is the actual ‘asking’ bit, reaching out to a recent alumni from the same university or a senior in the industry feels really unnatural. However, I found if there’s someone I want to know more about, a nice message or email never hurts.

People don’t tend to talk about the taboo topic of personal finances but we should change that. The two best things I have learned are 1. spend using the 80:20 rule

“The rule of saving at least 20% every month means I always have a buffer and something to start investing with.”

2. start putting money to work early The rule of saving at least 20% every month means I always have a buffer and something to start investing with. It is also so important to start investing in the market when we’re young because even small amounts early on can make a difference in the long term, thanks to compounding - we’ll thank ourselves later. Smruti Hiremath SKQ issue 7 | 11

GET TO KNOW: BETH A member of the SK team tells us a bit more about their life, loves and future plans… I’m the newest recruit to the SK Financial team. It was a call from Kunle that led me to join as a New Business Administrator in 2021. Having previously worked closely with Kunle, Emma and Tracey at Kleinwort Benson as a Business Administration Manager, I had no doubts about accepting the role. The SK ethos is very much what I believe in, providing a quality personal service to clients with a big emphasis on aftercare.

Like many of the SK Team members, I enjoy travelling. Some of my favourite places are New Zealand, Bali, South Africa, and Las Vegas. Going on Safari in Tanzania was a particular highlight.

Work aside, my three children Amelia 11, Ella, 9 and Arthur, 6, keep me on my toes, along with our errant dog, Barley. I enjoy long walks with the family, as long as we get to stop off for some lunch and a beverage.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

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For now, my travels have been slightly downgraded to camping trips with the family, something I never thought I would have enjoyed but have embraced on all levels.

New Zealand, particularly the South Island. I got engaged in Wellington in 2005, to my now husband Matt so this country holds a special place in my heart.

On our second visit to NZ I came back with a bump, and for once it wasn’t food related! Sport I play: My newfound hobby is boxing. I can be found in the ring of my local boxing gym being put through my paces by my personal trainer. I am yet to knock him out! Most daring thing you've ever done; Sky jumped off the Auckland Sky Tower Favourite Time of Year / Season Summer – although I’m not convinced about this year’s British Summer!

THE SK INVEST PODCAST Introducing Martyn Cuff

Every quarter we interview our investment partner, Square Mile, asking them questions raised either by our clients, our colleagues or within our community. We also aim to build a collection of “money tips” which may help some of you with the way you either save or invest your money. Our second podcast is now live with Martyn Cuff, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Martyn provides some candid stories about the challenges he has overcome in his career and 100 books that he would recommend. A very good guest to interview. Thank you Martyn. This is available to listen to here.

We hope that you enjoy this podcast. We always want to hear from you so please do get in touch with any comments that you have on these podcasts.

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The SK team recommends their go to mobile apps. TODAY TIX A one stop shop for all theatre tickets, including discounted last minute tickets.

HOUSE PARTY A social networking app that allows up to eight people to video chat at once in a “room.”

BEEN For avid travelers, record all of the destinations you have been to and see what percentage of the world you have seen

GET YOUR GUIDE Find, compare, and book sightseeing tours, attractions, excursions, things to do and fun activities from around the world.

TOO GOOD TO GO Grab a food bargain in a bit to reduce food waste

DUO LINGO Learn any new language you want for free and in a fun way

THE ATHLETIC A subscription service for football fans. Sports coverage across every team you care about and every league you follow.

SHAZAM Identify any song in seconds. Discover, artists, lyrics, videos and playlists, all for free

TOUCHNOTE Send printed, personalized postcards, greeting cards and other photo products as well as gifts.

VIVINO Choose wine with confidence. Scan any bottle or menu for instant ratings, reviews and prices. Build your taste profile and order directly from their marketplace. SKQ issue 7 | 15

“The living moment is everything.” DAVID HERBERT LAWRENCE

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. This document is distributed for information purposes and should not be considered investment or other advice or an offer of any product / security for sale. This document contains the opinions of the authors but not necessarily the firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. Please contact us before you transact. Errors and omissions excepted.

SKF Trading Ltd trading as SK Financial. SK Financial is directly authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority.

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