A week is a long time

November 2023

They say that as you get older, time seems to go quicker.  In which case, I am now officially an old man.

We seem to be bombarded by all sorts of news. It must be the 24-hour nature of news reporting these days. And the fact that we get news from all over the world as it happens.  

The war is Ukraine is still going on and we should not let that disappear from our daily news. There is still a lot happening and we should show our support of Ukraine by keeping it in the news.

But that is quite difficult with so much going on.

I do not know enough about the history of Gaza. So, I have no idea, which side is right. They are probably both right to an extent. But we seem to be witnessing one atrocity after another and I would think that any right-minded person would like to see those stop. The solution? God knows. And which God are we asking anyway?

Argentina has just elected an “interesting” prime minister. He seems to want change. Whilst we all want to encourage diversity of thought, there seems to be wide opinion that he may be a little bit too diverse.

On the home front, everything seems to be gearing towards an election. But we still seem to have politicians who open their mouth before engaging their brain. They certainly do not seem to have a reliable compliance oversight to stop them doing and saying stupid things.

My most worrying episode was Rishi Sunak describing inflation as a tax. And then doubling down on that when questioned. This is a man who has worked in financial services during his career and been Chancellor of the Exchequer. He seems not to understand basic GCSE economics.

Then we had the Autumn Statement, which was quite openly a sweetener towards the election with plenty of headline giveaways. Although on closer inspection, the number crunchers have proved that many people will be worse off.

There was a lot of speculation about Inheritance Tax being changed or even abolished. This did not happen as that was probably adjudged to be seen as offering benefits to rich people as so few people actually pay IHT.  But instead of that, the Chancellor went in almost the opposite direction.

From the Autmn Statement – The government also remains committed to ensuring early-stage, innovative companies have access to the investment they need to grow and develop. To continue supporting thousands of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) each year who face the biggest challenges in accessing growth capital, the government will legislate to extend the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) to 2035.

This is good news for all the contributors to my forthcoming reports on SEIS, EIS, VCT, BR and AIM Investments as it gives them certainty that their funds will maintain their tax efficiency for another 12 years.  A double-whammy, that may be a happy accident, is that many of these funds invest in new technology and Sustainable infra-structure, which should help our economy going forward,

And finally, having promised that it will happen some time in Q4, the FCA has finally Issued the Policy Statement PS23/16 – Sustainability Disclosure Requirements(SDR) and Investment Labels https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/sustainability-disclosure-and-labelling-regime-confirmed-fca  This will hopefully be the starting gun for advisers to finally be confident to start moving back to advising clients about the investments of the future.

With an estimated $18.4 trillion of ESG-orientated assets now being managed globally, the FCA is putting in place new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements and an investment labels regime after detailed engagement with a range of stakeholders, including industry, other regulators and consumer groups.

This package of measures, including the consumer-focussed labelling regime, will support the UK’s position as a world-leading, competitive centre for asset management and sustainable investment.

It will also protect consumers by helping them to make more informed decisions when investing and enhance the credibility of the sustainable investment market.

Research has shown that investors weren’t confident that sustainability-related claims made about investments were genuine. This isn’t helped by a lack of consistency when firms use terms such as ‘green’, ‘ESG’ or ‘sustainable’.

To tackle this issue, the FCA will introduce:

  • an anti-greenwashing rule for all authorised firms to make sure sustainability-related claims are fair, clear and not misleading.
  • product labels to help investors understand what their money is being used for, based on clear sustainability goals and criteria.
  • naming and marketing requirements so products cannot be described as having a positive impact on sustainability when they don’t.

There are already plenty of articles going into more detail on this matter. And I am not sure how much more excitement this readership will be able to endure in one go.