After a busy first three months of the year, I expected April to be quieter as the Easter holidays kicked in. I was wrong: business continued at a rapid clip! My latest feature for Professional Adviser examined the future of the traditional 60:40 portfolio − this piece was fascinating to write because so has much happened in financial markets over the last year. I also hosted a panel discussion at the launch of ESG Experts, when we examined if sustainable policies can add value to a business. Early next month I will be chairing a couple of sessions at the PDI Europe Summit where we will discuss how to make debt investing more sustainable. And my latest networking event will take place on Wednesday, 17th May; do get in touch if you would like to attend. I thoroughly enjoyed the launch of the IFS pensions policy review – it was pension geek heaven! It feels like the right time to start building on the success of auto-enrolment to ensure our pension system is fit for the future.

Examining the 60/40: Building diversified portfolios in 2023

What is the best diversified portfolio for today’s uncertain times? That’s the question I address in my latest article for Professional Adviser. A greater chance of inflationary shocks, the reversal of globalisation, the green transition and ageing population could all have a significant impact on the rate of economic growth. I enjoyed writing this piece and wrestling with questions such as whether bonds have ever been better value, if equity prices reflect current recessionary risks and the role alternative assets can play in a balanced portfolio.

Will ESG add value to your business?

I was delighted to be invited to the launch of ESG Experts. In a packed room at The Shard, I chaired a panel discussion on whether ESG adds value to a company. It was fascinating to learn more about the sustainable policies companies are adopting and the challenges with getting to grips with such a complex area. It was also a delight to chair an event I hadn’t organised! I’m looking forward to chairing two sessions at the PDI Europe Summit in early May where we will discuss how to make debt investing more sustainable. Do contact me if you are looking for an independent chair for your event!

Making pensions fit for the future

It can be frustrating to be a pensions journalist. I know there are important issues which need to be fixed to ensure future generations can enjoy a happy retirement, but it is difficult to get people to pay attention to a problem which will only emerge many decades in the future. So it was great to wake up one morning this month to the Today program talking about this very issue ahead of the Institute for Fiscal Studies launch of its pension policy review. Auto-enrolment has done so much to improve occupational pension coverage with around 18 million people now part of a scheme. But there is still much to improve. For example, contribution levels are too low to provide adequate retirements. The launch itself was pension geek heaven and I’ll be very interested to see what policies the IFS develops to address issues like inadequate pension coverage for the self-employed.

Networking events

The next networking event will be taking place on Wednesday, 17th May – please get in touch if you would like attend. We will be taking a break over the summer and returning with another event on Wednesday, 13th September.

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