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Aspen

Website goes live

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Our new website finally goes live!

Has been like pulling teeth, not down to the website designers, but trying to think about and get the content done, that we hope will be engaging

If you spot any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, or indeed have any recommendations for content let us know and we will send you a packet of your favourite biscuits*

*as long as they are available in Sainsburys and cost less than £3 (not falling for any “but they are only sold in Fortnum & Masons” trickery)

Bedfont & Feltham Football Club

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We are proud sponsors of the Under 7s youth team

Grassroots sports clubs play a vital role in the local community.   Helping people stay fit, healthy and develop an individual’s sporting talents, they also bring people from the local community together. Giving young people the opportunity to meet new friends from different backgrounds, as well as providing parents with the opportunity to meet with other parents, who they otherwise may not have met.

Sports clubs can also provide adults with the opportunity to share their talents and learn new skills, whether it be helping with coaching, administration,  transport or sourcing sponsorship or funding. Grassroots sports clubs offer so much more than just the sporting activity they are involved with.

Bedfont & Feltham are a local grass roots team and we are pleased to support them in their journey

They are currently seeking aspiring footballers for their under 8’s team

www.bedfontandfelthamfc.com

(Photo has been shown on our social media feed – has parent permission)

Twick Mums

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This is a great website for mums, dads and carers in the local area.

The site provides useful sections and guidance on local amenities, where to find the best restaurants, education, activities for kids (and adults)

The Twick Mums membership card, which is absolutely FREE to apply for, entitles members to special offers from local businesses and shops

Aspen pays for the costs associated in producing and providing the cards

Local businesses are the backbone our our economy and communities.  Small businesses, shops and service providers add great value to your high street, Research has shown that spending £1 with a local business, means that around 63p stays in the local economy.

High streets populated with thriving independent businesses boost the prices of nearby homes.

The local shops in Teddington and Twickenham have those unusual, one-off gifts, cards.  Our Farmers Market boosts your ethical credentials and adds some vibrancy to your diet

For more info and to get your discount card:

http://www.twickmums.com/aspen-financial-services

Tedd800

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During 2017, Teddington reached its 800th birthday and Aspen celebrated its 10th birthday

To honour this very significant anniversary (the Tedd800 one), Teddington held a big festival of events throughout the Summer and Autumn. Encompassing all the many interests and aspects of our town, whether that is sport, fun, art or history, recognising our sense of belonging and togetherness.

“The Teddington 800 has been made possible thanks to the amazing generosity of so many people and organisations, in terms of time, money, expertise, enthusiasm, facilities and sheer hard work. We’d like to say a huge thank you to them all.”
— Anne McTear, 800 Chair

Our Amazing Sponsors Who Made Tedd800 Possible

What is happening to stock markets

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Why have the markets fallen?

Social Media celebrated the end of January, after a month that felt like a year.  It also heralded in the start of results and outlook season

The investment and bond markets, however, ended an extended period of growth with a return to some sharp falls.  Here’s our view as to why;

  • For weeks, stock markets and bond yields had been rising steadily
  • Bond yields (profit when selling, increased cost when buying) have been increasing around the world due to a mixture of better prospects for GDP growth and higher expectations of inflation
  • Ten-year gilts jumped 13 basis points to 1.57% last week; they started the year at 1.19
  • The 10-year US treasury yield finished 18bps higher for the week at 2.84%; it started the year at 2.41%

 

Why this is important;

  • Rising yields mean that borrowing is getting more expensive for companies, which can flatten growth and profit

 

State of the Nation

  • The net number of jobs added in the US (excluding farm workers) – came in at 200,000 for January, 20,000 more than forecast
  • US Wage growth, also released on Friday was 2.9% higher than a year ago (30 basis points ahead of expectations)
  • Historic tax cuts and the Jobs Act Reform, essentially saw corporation tax cut from 35% to 21%

 

But, these are good things?

  • Rather than focusing on the first effect of stronger US jobs growth, investors appeared to fixate on a potential future downturn that may be sparked by faster and steeper interest rate hikes from an attempt by the Federal Reserve to curtail rampant inflation driven by higher wages
  • To stem an over-heating economy, Central Banks could increase interest rates faster and steeper than already planned and priced in
  • Historically, Economists and fund managers take the view that sharply rising inflation creates recessionary environments
  • During these cycles, fund managers operate a ‘risk off’ process, where they sell off holdings to maintain higher cash positions, to hedge against short-term issues

 

So, what should investors do?

  • Expect more volatility during 2018, with further falls in equity and bond markets in the immediate term
  • Maintain a diverse portfolio and maintain cash reserves for short-term / expected expenditure

 

In summary

There is a lot of commentary and data passing across my desk and taking stock of the build up to the current volatility, the consensus views from fund managers looks like this;

  • In the short-term fund managers have curbed some equity holdings, but generally remain ‘overweight’ in the asset class
  • The correlation of bond yields and equity prices has long been established. Even if rates rose one or two more times than the three forecast by the Fed and the market, equities can recover.
  • The US economy looks strong, as does Europe and the East
  • It is also important to note that global monetary conditions are barely tightening at all as yet. Of the 21 central banks monitored, only four have raised rates over the last 12 months, while five are still cutting
  • Most are simply sitting on their hands: the Bank of England (BoE) is one of them. UK inflation has plateaued at roughly 3% since August (it is forecast to remain flat when the next figure is released next Tuesday)
  • UK consumers have had a tough time of it and they’ve gobbled up masses of credit in recent years. The BoE will be reluctant to raise rates to curb inflation when in doing so it risks a solid portion of households being unable to repay what they owe
  • If a recession occurred in the US, it would have less of an impact on equities compared to bonds

 

All of the above is short-term outlook and will, therefore change as and when fiscal policy makers make their moves.

Maintaining a cautionary approach in these cycles is prudent and understanding the overall ‘risk profile’ of your savings is a must

If you are investing for the longer-term, do not panic, but make sure you review and invest with the economic backdrop in mind

 

Michael Bower

*stock market falls are a natural phenomenon, I have experienced a few in my career, some worse than others.  Review – Consider – Carry on

Welcome to our new team members

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We are proud to announce the launch of new offices in Brighton, Bournemouth and Gloucester

Bespoke Business Protection joins the Aspen Group, headed up by David, Vicky and Claire, all of whom are specialist advisers to employers, employees and the self employed.

This is a strategic part of our organisation giving owners of Small Companies and their Employees, Sole Directors and Sole Traders the ability to obtain the type of work place benefits historically only available to large corporations

Our clients will benefit from Financial Health checks and Personal Health and Well Being rewards and programs.

Our strategic partnerships within the industry give access to heavily discounted gym memberships, discounted or free fitness trackers (Fitbit and iwatch), Spa weekends, Active wear for adults and kids, to name but a few.

We are changing the place Financial Advice has in your life, making it accessible and putting it at the heart of your family and work place