With hype around AI, geo-political challenges and an almost win from the Lionesses, what’s been the highlight of 2023? This year’s ‘Your Year in Review’ is brought to you by Co-Founder and Director of Finura, James Herman.
As we approach the end of another extraordinary year, we would firstly like to wish all our Clients and their friends and families a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.
The year started with significant hype around ‘Artificial Intelligence’, with ChatGPT at the forefront. The conversation has caused both optimism and fear in equal measure. It’s clear that technology will prove transformative for many sectors but would need effective regulation and planning to not cause economic issues. At Finura, we believe that the power is in augmenting the human experience, not replacing it. Our role for Clients is often to provide comfort and reassurance that plans are on track and financial security achieved, which is not easily replaced by technology. That is not to say that we are not exploring the use of AI; primarily where it can bring efficiency to the Client experience, we are always looking at ways to improve our Clients’ financial journey.
It has been a year of escalating geo-political challenges. 2023 saw a continuation of the conflict in Ukraine, seemingly with no near-term resolution. The momentum and optimism over Ukraine’s spring offensive failed to produce the blow to Putin that was hoped. Just last week, Putin doubled down on his resolve to achieve the ‘denazification’ and ‘demilitarisation’ of Ukraine. Zalensky’s response was equally resolute. None of us should expect a swift end to the conflict.
We also saw the perennially tense relationship between Israel and Gaza lead to all-out war. There have been atrocities suffered on both sides, and the complex history leading up to this point makes a simple solution albeit impossible. The risk of escalation across the region remains.
Alongside this, Central banks have continued to tighten monetary policy. In the US, which acted most swiftly and aggressively, a ‘soft landing’ has seemingly been achieved, meaning inflation has come down, whilst the economy has shown resilience. Politically, this has been touted by the democrats as ‘Bidenomics’. However, recent polling has shown that whilst this is a significant feat, voters do not feel the benefit directly, which puts the Democrats hold on power at risk in 2024.
In the UK, we have not seen the same degree of success. We have had similar and proportionate rate rises, but have suffered more persistent inflation, along with lacklustre economic growth. We have had the additional challenge of navigating the trading environment in a post-Brexit world, with additional trade barriers to our closest trading partner.
On a positive front, markets have proven to be resilient in 2023, especially in the US, with new highs being reached in the S&P 500. Bonds have also worked back to being an attractive proposition, with yields providing consistent returns to investors. In light of these global economic challenges, now, more than ever, we have been encouraging Clients to take reassurance from the data that exists. Equities and property remain the best placed to outpace inflation over time, notwithstanding shorter-term volatility in the market – as we have said on many occasions, no action is often the best action.
2023 also saw the large economies around the world reaffirm their commitment to ‘net zero’ at COP28, with the opening statement being delivered by King Charles – a lifetime advocate of environmental protection. At Finura, we believe that personal accountability and action is important, as we are all custodians of the planet for our future generations or, to put it like King Charles, ‘The Earth does not belong to us’. We continue to seek green initiatives for the business, and benefit from residing in ‘London’s greenest office’.
This year, the nation was gripped by the success of the Lioness’s campaign, coming off the back of winning Euro 22. Unfortunately, Spain proved too good in the final. It was great to see the nation coming together for women’s football. Hopefully 2024 will bring us some more wins in sport!
Finura was delighted to have won a few awards throughout 2023. We are very proud to have been voted one of ‘The Best Financial Advisers to Work For’ in 2023, and our colleague and Chartered Financial Planner, Nicky Barclay, won ‘Financial Adviser of the Year – London’ at the ‘Women in Financial Advice Awards’.
To finish the year on a high, we are also proud to have made our second acquisition in the past three years and are pleased to welcome the wonderful team and Clients of Tenacity into the Finura family.
All of us at Finura are looking forward to seeing our Clients in 2024 and wish you all a wonderful break over the coming couple of weeks.
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