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It does not feel too long ago that we witnessed the last intercontinental, ballistic missile test by North Korea, followed by a subsequent bout of raised tensions and school-yard rhetoric with the US administration. Closer to home, general elections in Europe also kept political risk firmly on the investment radar.
Fast forward to now and the Korean peninsula appears to be a different place with reports of cohesion and cooperation. A historic summit between the US and North Korea is also expected to take place, which many would have thought inconceivable just months prior.
European political risk has not abated as much, as true to form, hopes of an orderly formation of an Italian government look dashed and a return to the polls could take place by summer. It may be considered unlikely, however, the risk of an anti-EU mandate in Italy could see the union tested once more.
Of course, some might argue that politics and the macro environment are not directly correlated with market returns, however, it is also fair to consider what influences corporate profits, which ultimately play a large part in the relative health of investment markets. Key policy decisions such as US taxation and foreign policy on trade (tariffs) can and have influenced investor sentiment.
The current environment feels somewhat more benign than previous and investors have been given some respite to consider the macro economic issues without recently heightened volatility. We remain very aware that this landscape can change quickly and our investment team are maintaining a very broadly diversified approach, mixing discipline and flexibility.
If you have any queries or wish to review your investment strategy, please do not hesitate to contact your usual point of contact or our Senior Consultant, James Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 01772550615).