Latest insights

Keeping up to date with financial market and industry news can be difficult. To help you make sense of it all, our research team produce regular articles on current affairs and other topics that may interest you as an investor. You can read our latest articles here.

How to give your investments a sustainable advantage

Published on 23 Oct 20 by Liz Rees

Giving your portfolio a better chance to outperform should warrant a closer look. Strong returns from many funds which have environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies means they are being taken more seriously than ever. At the start of Good Money Week, an annual campaign to promote sustainable, responsible and ethical investing, we look at why it may be worth including them in your portfolio.


How to protect your portfolio from the cost of Covid

Published on 20 Oct 20 by Liz Rees

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been praised for his efforts to support the UK economy during the pandemic. However, he will eventually have to find ways to finance this largesse. We look at how you might be affected and suggest steps to preserve your assets.


The outlook for stock markets: navigating the headwinds

Published on 16 Oct 20 by Liz Rees

In the final quarter of 2020, investors face a number of hurdles. As well as a resurgence in Covid-19 cases across Europe, political uncertainty is high. This may tempt some to stay on the side-lines but we believe it is important to look beyond short-term disruption.


Does the US Election result matter to investors?

Published on 13 Oct 20 by Adrian Lowcock

The US Presidential election is due to take place on the 3rd November 2020 and because of coronavirus many voters have already posted their votes. Politics used to be a sideshow for financial markets, but recently has been having a greater impact. We consider the policies of the two leading candidates and the impact on markets.


How to use cash as insurance against volatile markets

Published on 06 Oct 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Stock markets have been volatile this year as investors reacted to the impact of global lockdowns on companies. With the fear of coronavirus continuing to affect sentiment, along with other uncertainties, volatility in markets is something investors need to consider. Having some cash savings can help.


Is October’s reputation for volatility overdone?

Published on 02 Oct 20 by Liz Rees

The tenth month of the year has a reputation for volatility, with seven of the worst 10 one-day falls for the FTSE 100 occurring in October. We consider whether this simply coincidence or should investors be more cautious at this time of year?


Why consider a multi-asset fund?

Published on 29 Sep 20 by Liz Rees

Unless you have a very large portfolio it can be difficult to achieve optimal diversification. One way to address this is to consider a multi-asset fund, which aims to provide an all-in-one solution. We look at some of the different approaches available and highlight some well-regarded funds.


Property funds start to reopen - what is the outlook for investors?

Published on 25 Sep 20 by Liz Rees

As some of UK’s direct property funds start to lift the dealing suspensions imposed during the Covid-19 crisis, we consider the different ways an investor might access this asset class.


Are you ready for negative interest rates?

Published on 22 Sep 20 by Liz Rees

The Bank of England held interest rates at 0.1% last week but hinted it is prepared to take them below zero if necessary, for the first time. We look at the potential impact negative interest rates might have on savings and investments and give some ideas on how you might prepare for such a situation.


It is important to look beyond the UK when investing

Published on 18 Sep 20 by Liz Rees

A well-diversified portfolio can help reduce volatility. There are several ways to diversify but many investors have a noticeable bias to their home market. What opportunities could you be missing out on by focusing on the UK?


Making the most of your investments online

Published on 15 Sep 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Investment platforms are an important part of managing your investments online. Over the years the services offered by platforms have expanded and improved so it is important to make sure you are getting the most out your platform.


Investors would have missed out on market rally if they had followed the ‘Sell in May’ adage

Published on 14 Sep 20 by Adrian Lowcock

  • Best summer for the UK’s 100 largest companies since 2016
  • This followed the worst winter period since the 2008 market sell off at the height of the global financial crisis
  • 4th year since Brexit that ‘Sell in May’ has failed
  • ‘Sell in May’ adage becoming increasingly less common


Child Trust Funds come of age – five things to consider

Published on 11 Sep 20 by Adrian Lowcock

This September millions of pounds invested in Child Trust Funds launched 18 years ago, finally start to mature, becoming accessible to teenagers for the first time. We look at what your children or grandchildren should consider.


What next for Japan?

Published on 08 Sep 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Shinzo Abe’s resignation at the end of August due to ill health marks the end of Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister. We look at Abe’s legacy and what his resignation means for investing in Japan.


Where have Willis Owen clients been investing so far this year?

Published on 04 Sep 20 by Adrian Lowcock

With all the disruption caused by COVID-19 in the world and the impact it has had on markets and peoples’ investments, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at which funds our clients have been buying.


Child Trust Funds turn 18

Published on 27 Aug 20 by Adrian Lowcock

5 things teenagers should ask themselves before deciding what to do with their money.


Is the outlook for dividends improving?

Published on 26 Aug 20 by Liz Rees

Many companies around the world have cut or suspended their dividends this year as profits were hit by lockdowns. We consider the outlook for income investors.


Is inflation set to return?

Published on 25 Aug 20 by Liz Rees

Inflation was higher than expected in July as consumers splashed the cash after lockdown restrictions were lifted. So could this mark the start of a trend and what do rising prices mean for our investments?


A bright future for healthcare?

Published on 21 Aug 20 by Liz Rees

The search for a Covid-19 vaccine has highlighted the important research done by pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, healthcare has defensive characteristics; we don’t stop needing medical services in a recession. Here we look at the themes driving this large and diverse industry.


Make the most of your lockdown savings

Published on 18 Aug 20 by Adrian Lowcock

With some people finding they are financially better off because of lockdown, we look at why now could be the time to use that money wisely.


Do companies that ‘do good’ do well?

Published on 14 Aug 20 by Liz Rees

In the past, little attention was paid to the social aspect of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) analysis. Now that the Covid-19 crisis has raised awareness of ‘doing the right thing’, we look at how social factors can be incorporated into investment decisions.


Start saving for your holiday

Published on 11 Aug 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Many of us spend a lot of time planning and looking forward to our next holiday. It can be one of life’s biggest expenses so by setting money aside early and getting the best return possible on your savings, you could have more to splash out.


Is it time to revisit value investing?

Published on 05 Aug 20 by Liz Rees

The value style has performed poorly for a long time and the pandemic has only made matters worse as investors favoured companies with resilient growth characteristics. However, with depressed valuations and tentative signs of economic recovery might value return to favour?


Can the rally in technology continue?

Published on 03 Aug 20 by Liz Rees

Sparkling results from some leading US technology companies helped power their shares to record highs. So does this mean the fourth industrial revolution is gathering pace or is the good news already in the price?


5 tips to make the most of your Willis Owen Account

Published on 03 Aug 20 by Adrian Lowcock

We are constantly improving our website and now have a dedicated area where you can see the latest feature on the Willis Owen Platform. You can take a look at the latest changes.


Going for gold

Published on 31 Jul 20 by Liz Rees

Gold is often seen as a safe haven in uncertain times and it has proved to be so again so far this year. As the gold price hits record highs, we consider whether the conditions are ripe for further gains. 


What are you saving for?

Published on 28 Jul 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Whether you are saving or investing it is important to keep in mind the reason you are doing so. This can have a big impact on the types of saving products or investments you choose.


Capital Gains Tax under review: Make the most of your ISA allowance

Published on 24 Jul 20 by Liz Rees

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had barely got his feet under the table before the events of the COVID-19 crisis became a priority. As that crisis eases he is turning his attention to other areas. First up is a review of Capital Gains Tax. We consider if this might pave the way for tax rises in the Autumn budget?


The outlook for UK dividends

Published on 22 Jul 20 by Liz Rees

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on dividends paid to shareholders but can companies which took swift action to protect their businesses now look forward to a brighter future?


The different types of savings accounts

Published on 17 Jul 20 by Adrian Lowcock

There are a range of savings accounts out there and it is important to pick the right one for you to make sure you get the most out of your savings and allow you to meet your goals. We consider the pros and cons of each:


Five tips to boost the returns on your cash savings

Published on 10 Jul 20 by Adrian Lowcock

With interest rates at record low levels it is essential to make sure you get the best rate you possibly can for your savings, not just now but in the future. We look at five simple tips that could help you to get your money to work harder for you.


Sunak splashes the cash to boost the economy

Published on 09 Jul 20 by Liz Rees

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered his Summer Statement, outlining a £30bn package of measures aimed at getting the economy back on its feet. We highlight the key initiatives that it is hoped will restore consumer confidence and business investment as we emerge from lockdown.


The US in the spotlight

Published on 03 Jul 20 by Liz Rees

As the US celebrates Independence Day on Saturday 4th July, investors in the country’s stock market also have reason to cheer. We reflect on the strong out-performance by US shares over the last decade and give our views on the outlook for the region.


Taking control of your retirement plans

Published on 30 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

The UK government will begin to look for ways to pay down its debt, which has ballooned this year as a result of the lockdown. One option garnering attention is a review of the triple lock formula, which determines the state pension. This could make prudent retirement planning more important than ever!


The importance of saving

Published on 25 Jun 20 by Adrian Lowcock

We save because we can't predict the future. It can help you become financially secure and provides a safety net in case of an emergency.


Four long years since the Brexit vote - where next for the UK?

Published on 23 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

It has been four years since the Brexit vote, and whilst the coronavirus crisis has knocked the topic off the headline news trade negotiations continue. Boris Johnson promised to ‘get Brexit done’ so what does this mean for the UK economy and investors?


Celebrating 25 years of AIM

Published on 19 Jun 20 by Adrian Lowcock

AIM, formerly the Alternative Investment Market, celebrates its 25th anniversary today. It opened its doors on 19th June 1995 to investors and has grown considerably in size since then. We look at how the market has changed over the years and what investors should consider.


Preparing your portfolio for a second wave

Published on 17 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

When stock markets are rising it is all too easy to become complacent and assume the global economy is rebounding strongly, and the bear market is history. However, there are nearly always setbacks on the path to recovery. So how can we position portfolios for the uncertainties that remain and a possible second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic? 


Is the Emerging Markets growth story intact?

Published on 12 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

With signs that companies in the West are looking to reduce their manufacturing dependence on China, the world’s second largest economy, we review the outlook for Emerging Markets. Can the region continue to produce high levels of economic growth and are there attractive investment opportunities?  


Are we entering a period of deglobalisation?

Published on 09 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, many of us may not have considered where the goods we consume come from. However, the pandemic has raised questions about the ability of supply chains to function effectively in times of disruption. We look at what might change and the implications for investors.


FTSE indices review - a reflection of the times

Published on 05 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

The latest quarterly review of the FTSE indices, has brought a more substantial overhaul than usual. Some of the changes illustrate the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis on certain industry sectors and companies. We look at the movers and shakers and what they might tell us about trends in the economy and stock market.


Blending passive and active funds in a portfolio

Published on 02 Jun 20 by Liz Rees

Passive funds have seen a huge surge in inflows over the past decade. They have enabled investors to participate in a long bull market at very low cost. Today we are facing a much tougher economic backdrop and some think an active approach, to identify the winners and losers, may prove effective. We look at the arguments for and against each style.


Keeping an eye on liquidity

Published on 29 May 20 by Liz Rees

As we approach the 1st anniversary of the suspension of the LF Woodford Equity Income fund, it might be a good time to remind ourselves of the risks associated with illiquid investments. We take a look at how different investments may face liquidity constraints and what investors can do to help protect their portfolios.


Paying for the Pandemic

Published on 26 May 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Government manifesto promises and years of austerity were shoved to one side when Coronavirus spread across Europe and resulted in the UK going into lockdown for nearly two months. Whilst many things remain uncertain, the one thing that seems beyond doubt is that taxes will have to rise. We consider some of the possible options.


Where in the world can you find dividends?

Published on 22 May 20 by Adrian Lowcock

The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis has had a huge impact on UK dividends with whole sectors cutting their payments. The impact on the income people draw from their investments will be felt for years to come. Whilst the UK has been a leader in paying out dividends, other regions are also affected. We look at the impact of the crisis on the rest of world and consider where the best equity income opportunities lie.


What to do if your fund manager leaves?

Published on 19 May 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Recently, several companies have announced changes to management responsibilities for their funds, with some well-known fund managers stepping back from their roles. Fund managers are often a big part of the reason investors hold a particular fund so their departure can be unsettling for investors. We consider why fund managers leave and what it might mean for your investments.


Can gold continue to shine?

Published on 15 May 20 by Adrian Lowcock

The price of gold has rallied during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis as some investors swapped riskier investments in shares for the perceived safety of this precious metal. Having offered investors protection during the crisis we consider the outlook for gold and the role it can play in your portfolio. 


How quickly can the UK economy recover?

Published on 12 May 20 by Liz Rees

Last week the Bank of England suggested that the UK economy was set for a rapid rebound in the second half of 2020 following an unprecedented collapse in activity in the first half of the year. With Prime Minister Boris Johnson laying out his plans to get Britain back to work, we look at whether a V-shaped recovery is realistic and what obstacles stand in the way.  


It’s time in the markets, not timing the markets that matter

Published on 07 May 20 by Adrian Lowcock

At this time of year the “Sell in May and go away, don’t come back until St Ledger’s Day” adage gets some attention and, like all good sayings, there is some truth behind it...


Investors shrug off lockdown to send global markets soaring in April

Published on 05 May 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Following the rapid decline in markets in March, stock markets rallied strongly in April.


What does a low oil price mean for investors?

Published on 01 May 20 by Liz Rees

Oil helps power global growth and last week’s collapse in the oil price shocked markets. Oil has been under pressure since Saudi Arabia launched a price war in February. We look at what is going on with the oil price and the implications for your investments.


Three investment themes for lockdown

Published on 28 Apr 20 by Liz Rees

While many companies have seen sales evaporate as a result of the lockdown, a few sectors have actually seen demand for their products and services take-off. Some will just benefit in the short term and others may experience a longer lasting effect from the coronavirus crisis. We consider the trends and ask whether they are sustainable.  


Are corporate bonds the place to be?

Published on 24 Apr 20 by Liz Rees

The lockdown due to the coronarivrus (Covid-19) is having a huge impact on companies as economic activity collapses. One aspect has been the cut in dividends. Up to half of company dividend payments are estimated to be at risk this year. With this in mind, we ask if now is a good time to revisit the fixed interest appeal of corporate bonds?


Seven tips for keeping safe from scammers

Published on 21 Apr 20 by Liz Rees

With most of us in lockdown in our own homes, fraudsters are still working and looking for new ways to exploit any opportunities they can find to relieve us of our money. We suggest some key points that could help you avoid falling victim to some of the scams doing the rounds.


Is it time to start investing for the recovery from lockdown?

Published on 09 Apr 20 by Liz Rees

The coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis has shut down large parts of the global economy and had a huge impact on many people’s jobs and personal lives. However, with markets typically forward looking and hope that the end is in sight, we look at how companies and fund managers are addressing the risks and opportunities that arise.


Investing monthly could help you become a better investor

Published on 09 Apr 20 by Adrian Lowcock

A lot of people invest monthly as it lines up nicely with the fact that the majority of us get paid monthly.  So you can put any spare cash into your savings and investments as soon as you get paid and aren’t tempted to spend it. 


Investor behaviour in bear markets

Published on 07 Apr 20 by Liz Rees

In the short term markets are driven by the collective emotions and thoughts of all their participants. The negative news surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the fear it has generated is likely to influence your investment decisions. We take a look at some of the common behavioural biases that we all might experience and offer some tips to help you deal with them.   


Who are the winners and losers in March’s sell-off?

Published on 03 Apr 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Given the extent to which markets have tumbled, it may come as a surprise that some funds and sectors performed well during the crisis. 


Market rebound gives us the first rays of hope

Published on 31 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Last week brought a glimmer of hope that there may be light at the end of the tunnel for investors. Stock markets around the world rallied on optimism that huge fiscal stimulus programmes announced by governments would support the economy through these difficult times. Nevertheless, a high level of uncertainty will remain until there are signs that the coronavirus pandemic is under control so volatility is likely to continue.


Protect your income from dividend cuts

Published on 27 Mar 20 by Adrian Lowcock

Dividend cuts seem inevitable as many companies look to conserve cash in the short term to protect their business. We look at five tips to help protect your income from the dividend shock set to come.


The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis - learning from history

Published on 20 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Sudden and steep falls in stock markets are usually caused by unexpected and often major ‘geopolitical’ events. These range from pandemics and natural disasters to military conflict and financial crisis. What lessons can investors take from history?


Central banks take action to tackle coronavirus

Published on 16 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Following the Bank of England’s decision to cut interest rates last Wednesday, central banks around the world have announced further measures to tackle the slump in economic activity caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus.


Saudi Arabia’s oil price war hits markets

Published on 09 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Stock markets continue to experience high levels of volatility as investors worry that the spread of the coronavirus will put a temporary brake on global economic growth. This week, concerns have intensified with the news that Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil producer, is to step up its output of crude oil and unleash a price war, triggering a slide in markets.  


Three income ideas for your portfolio

Published on 06 Mar 20 by Adrian Lowcock

It is not easy to get a regular income from your cash savings these days. After more than a decade, interest rates are still languishing at very low levels and we think they are unlikely to rise much in the short term.


Five tips for volatile markets

Published on 04 Mar 20 by Liz Rees

Volatility returned to markets last week as worries about the impact of the coronavirus led to steep falls in share prices. This week started with a tentative rebound in shares prices after central banks promised swift action to support economic growth. Despite attempts to calm markets, further volatility is likely. We suggest five investment strategies to cope with volatile markets. 


Is the inflation genie out of the bottle?

Published on 28 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

Last month the annual rate of inflation, using the Consumer Price Index, reached 1.8%, a significant increase on December’s figure of 1.4%. Although one month’s data does not signal a trend, we look at what a continued upturn in prices might mean for savers and investors.


Coronavirus fears spread to stock markets

Published on 26 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

Until last weekend the coronavirus had largely been confined to China and expectations were that it could be contained. However, an escalation in cases around the world, particularly in Italy and South Korea, has led to a sell-off in stock markets this week.


All aboard HS2

Published on 21 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

The government has finally given the green light for HS2.  The project will provide high speed rail links between London and major cities in the North of England, and is expected to be completed by 2040. This could be the start of a significant investment in infrastructure from Boris Johnson’s government.  We look at what other programmes might be rolled out to drive UK growth in the post-Brexit world, and how it could affect your investments.


Markets resistant to coronavirus

Published on 14 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

The coronavirus has infected over 60,000 people in China and caused massive disruption for people and businesses across the country. The cost to society has been significant with over 1,000 lives lost. With the world's second-largest economy returning to work this week after an extended Lunar New Year holiday we look at what the disruption might mean for stock markets and your investments.


Hey Google

Published on 06 Feb 20 by Liz Rees

Alphabet, parent company of Google, followed in the footsteps of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon when it briefly broke through a $1trillion market valuation in January. Here we look at its development, the latest earnings report and where future growth prospects lie.


Responsible Capitalism

Published on 31 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

Last week, two events illustrated the extent to which Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are taking centre stage. The first was the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland, which adopted the theme ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’...


Where next for the oil price?

Published on 23 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

The new decade began with a surge in the oil price, and a corresponding wobble in stock markets, as news broke of the assassination of Iran’s top military commander by US forces. The situation escalated when Iran retaliated, firing rockets at US bases in Iraq and accidentally bringing down a civilian aircraft, and the US imposed additional economic sanctions on Iran.


UK retail: is it just another winter’s sale?

Published on 16 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

We seem to hear nothing but tales of woe about trading conditions on the High Street. But what do the all-important Christmas sales figures really tell us about the state of the UK economy and which companies are bucking the trend?


No more splashing the cash - payments go digital

Published on 09 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

When stocking up over the festive season, the chances are that you paid with a swipe or tap rather than the increasingly outmoded cash or cheque. The rapid growth in digital payments has provided growth opportunities for providers with superior technology and service offerings.


From pessimism to optimism

Published on 02 Jan 20 by Liz Rees

Many of us will have made resolutions to help start the New Year on a positive footing. As families get together to plan their next holiday or perhaps a new home (residential property websites get a surge in views over the Christmas period) it may also be a good time to review your investment portfolio.


Climate Action - investors have a part to play

Published on 20 Dec 19 by Liz Rees

Global stock markets enjoyed a belated Santa rally after the US and China called a halt to their lingering trade spat. At the same time, British investors welcomed the election of a business-friendly Conservative government. Most geopolitical concerns are short-term but one that is set to remain firmly in the spotlight is global warming.


Beauty in the eye of the shareholder

Published on 12 Dec 19 by Liz Rees

With Christmas festivities around the corner, well-known beauty brands are on many people’s wish lists. This made me wonder what opportunities high-end cosmetics, skin-care and luxury fashion present for investors and which funds might invest in the companies that make them.


AIM high: the market for growth companies

Published on 06 Dec 19 by Liz Rees

Companies listed on AIM are popular with, though by no means exclusive to, UK Smaller Companies funds. So what's the pros and cons of listing on this alternative market?


Smaller Companies - are the sleeping beauties awakening?

Published on 28 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Smaller Companies in the UK have had a tough time since the EU referendum. The uncertainty over the outlook for the economy put these more domestically focused business under pressure and also made it hard to plan for the future. However, with polls pointing to a Conservative victory in the General Election, and a possible resolution to the Brexit saga, is it time to revisit the sector?


Is it best to back winners?

Published on 22 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Two of the most popular funds on our platform this year have been Fundsmith Equity and Lindsell Train Global Equity. Both have delivered exceptional returns since launch and while the philosophy of their managers is similar, their portfolios have little overlap. Here we take a look under the bonnet at what has driven their outperformance and ask whether they can continue to shine. 


How low can interest rates go?

Published on 15 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Central banks are again cutting interest rates in an attempt to counter a slowdown in economic activity. The US and the UK have capacity to cut rates further but in other regions, such as the Eurozone and Japan, rates are already in negative territory. A decade on from the financial crisis, with economic growth still lacklustre, there is growing concern that monetary stimulus has run out of steam. Here we look at what alternative policies might be available.


Microsoft - something old, something new

Published on 07 Nov 19 by Liz Rees

Third quarter results reported by US companies have been closely watched for pointers of how the world economy is faring. Multi-nationals dominate a wide range of industries and rely on global demand. Highly valued companies which disappoint are seeing their share prices harshly punished. However, one company that stands out as a beacon of steady growth is Microsoft. Here we take a look at the broader picture for US corporates as well as what Microsoft seems to be doing well compared to others.


Calculated Risks

Published on 31 Oct 19 by Ian Taunt

Having recently launched a new ‘portfolio risk score’ tool for users of our :review service, I thought I’d take a closer look at investment risk and share with you some of the things we’ve learned about Willis Owen investors.