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On the Road: 9 wealth managers share their 2018 new year's resolutions

It’s that time of year again where we ask our readers about their new year's resolutions. Nine of them bravely told us what’s on the agenda for 2018. New year, new me… or something like that anyway!

James Horniman

Portfolio manager, James Hambro & Partners

'My main new year’s resolution is to cancel all meetings in January, except those with clients. Hopefully this will mean I can avoid the flu and colds going around at the moment. If my colleagues need me I shall insist we walk and talk around St James’s Park. I suspect productivity will soar!

I am told I should try to improve the quality of my jokes to ensure they are at least mildly funny, but I think a resolution is something you should have a chance of keeping.

In terms of investments, as it’s business as usual, I am rationing myself to reading just one "the end of the bull run is nigh" article a day.'

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James Horniman

Portfolio manager, James Hambro & Partners

'My main new year’s resolution is to cancel all meetings in January, except those with clients. Hopefully this will mean I can avoid the flu and colds going around at the moment. If my colleagues need me I shall insist we walk and talk around St James’s Park. I suspect productivity will soar!

I am told I should try to improve the quality of my jokes to ensure they are at least mildly funny, but I think a resolution is something you should have a chance of keeping.

In terms of investments, as it’s business as usual, I am rationing myself to reading just one "the end of the bull run is nigh" article a day.'

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Sophie Kennedy

Head of research, EQ Investors

I try not to think of these as resolutions, more like a new year plan:

1.       Ramp up the fitness regime and run a few half marathons.

2.       Supplement the traditional asset allocation framework, with further focus on thematic-investment opportunities that are becoming more and more prevalent in the market.

3.       Continue with a wide range of volunteering activities. At EQ, we’re all encouraged spend two days a year volunteering through  initiatives and events we can participate in as a team.

4.       Relearn French; my GCSE in the subject seems a lifetime ago.

5.       Finally stop smoking; eight days and counting!

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Guy Foster

Head of research, Brewin Dolphin

'In the new year most people try to change something about themselves but we should also recognise what is changing about the rest of the world.

For example, although growth rates in China and the US have been a path of convergence these past few years, the dollar impact of China on the rest of the world is now growing faster than the US. It is hard to overstate how totemic this change is.

Over the last year, Chinese imports grew by about three times as much as US imports did. This is a unique feature of the current cycle as at any other time stretching beyond living memory the US was the biggest source of demand for the global economy. 

So I hereby resolve to spend at least as much time watching the PBoC as I do watching the Federal Reserve.

I also plan to go on a diet.'

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Haig Bathgate

CIO and joint CEO, Tcam Asset Management

'For many, the new year offers an opportunity for change, however, my resolution this year involves quite the opposite.

The bull market celebrated the advent of its ninth calendar year with a further leg up, while the absence of a short-term catalyst for decline has seen bullishness reach its highest level in the past five years. However, history shows us that such euphoria often precedes a correction and accordingly my resolution is to maintain the same approach.

We continue to invest in those areas of the market where valuations remain supportive and have added explicit tail-risk protection. We are avoiding those areas where late-cycle enthusiasm has driven significant multiple expansion.

From a personal standpoint, my new year’s resolution is to visit some new places, starting with a trip to Corfu in the summer.'

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Katie Tasker

Investment manager, Charles Stanley

'For 2018, my new year's resolution is to read more on behavioural finance, which fascinates me. I have covered the concept in my studies and attended a number of seminars over the past few years, but I have always wanted to learn more as I feel it would help to deeper understand my clients’ thinking.

Concepts such as the Gambler’s Fallacy and Hindsight Bias have been particularly relevant when analysing investor’s reactions in light of the referendum and US presidential election result. I hope that by educating myself further, I will also start to recognise in myself when I am guilty of unconsciously taking part in one of the recognised concepts.

Outside of work, I am hoping to learn to cycle in cleats, which will hopefully make me more efficient when I compete in my third triathlon later this year.'

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Peter Sleep

Senior investment manager, Seven Investment Management (7IM)

'My new year’s resolution is to take back control, not of my loft space (now occupied by old suit cases and my grown-up childrens’ old clothes), but of the pensions I have built up from different jobs in the past.

I think this is even more important to be in control of my pension, especially now with the new Lifetime Allowance of £1 million. There is a chance that I could go through this and suffer tax of up to 55%.  

From time to time I get letters from my old firms offering o-line access to my pension accounts with my old firms. My new year’s resolution will be go through the Quality Street tin where I throw these letters, set up passwords and, if I have to, be patient when I speak to helplines. 

There is a chance I may be able to consolidate my pensions down into a few easier to manage accounts and even cut the costs I am paying and that are eating into my returns.'

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Jonathan Bell

CIO, Stanhope Capital

'Every year I write my objectives for the following year. These include targets for a wide variety of areas from investment performance to exercise and family time. I have kept a copy of these resolutions for the past 20 years and have to admit that the same themes keep cropping up. So as I get older, it is easier to spot which objectives I will achieve easily and which will continue to be a struggle.

Last year, we increased our capability to invest in accordance with clients’ ethical views, by focusing more effort on the ESG (ethical, social and governance) analysis we undertake. This had two elements; first to be able to offer clients a service that is consistent with their beliefs and second to encourage more responsible investing.

We are not prescriptive in our approach. Different clients can have contrasting views on acceptable ethical policies, but an objective for me this year, is to continue this work so that we can support clients to invest in a manner consistent with their own new year resolutions.'

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Edward Park

Investment director, Brooks Macdonald

'As markets and the economy matures I would suggest three investment resolutions for 2018:

Ensure portfolios are balanced: Though equities still look attractive to us compared to other asset classes, make sure portfolios contain a blend of risks so you are not overly exposed to the path of the broader market.

Invest thematically: If the current goldilocks environment continues, growth sectors such as technology may outperform and if inflation returns then relatively cheap areas like financials should do well. Investing thematically rather than based on geography allows a more precise control of the risk and rewards in a portfolio.

Research alternatives: If markets do have a correction one possible cause is central banks tightening monetary policy, in that situation fixed income is unlikely to prove a safe haven asset. Researching alternative assets that can provide returns that are uncorrelated to equities may prove key in 2018.'

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Joel Dungate

Investment analyst, Redmayne Bentley

'Usually, new year’s resolutions encourage us to be daring, to move out of our comfort zone and embark on something new. However, my main resolution is to play it safe from an investment perspective.

I think there are reasons to be optimistic about 2018: the global economy seems fairly buoyant and inflation is generally picking up. Therefore, major central banks are starting to tighten their monetary policy, but this is not unexpected. This supports investors remaining well diversified across both geographies and asset classes.

Furthermore, in our increasingly interconnected and globalised world, the delicate harmony of the global economy can be all too easily disrupted. In this case, the investor who remains disciplined and sticks to their goals and investment principles will be best rewarded.

Also, staying safe obviously entails avoiding being too tempted by the latest "hot" investment (dare I say it – bitcoin!).'

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