Follow our news page for up to date Financial Market data and for the latest news at Brancaster House

3rd June 2019

Trump threatens Mexico with tariffs over immigration row

This week markets have been rattled by a further escalation in Donald Trump’s trade war, when he opened a new front with Mexico. Despite renegotiating the NAFTA agreement more to his liking, he has now threatened to impose tariffs unless Mexico does something to stem the flow of immigrants crossing the Southern border. This comes in the same week that the confrontation with China spilled over into diplomatic channels, with the UK taking fire for defying American orders not to work with Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.


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29th May 2019

Brancaster House awarded Pension Transfer Gold Standard

We’re pleased to announce that Brancaster House has been awarded the Pension Transfer Gold Standard from the Pensions Advice Taskforce, a representative industry body set up by the Personal Finance Society. The ‘Gold Standard’ is a voluntary code of good conduct for Safeguarded and Defined Benefit Pension Transfers advice.


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28th May 2019

Theresa May confirms resignation

This week we witnessed another Conservative Prime Minister reduced to rubble over Brexit, whoever ends up replacing her in Number 10 will likely suffer the same fate. Ultimately, she was undone by refusing to acknowledge a simple truth; leaving the EU will be complicated, lengthy and painful. Until that truth is confronted we’re doomed to repeat the same pattern; construct a fantasy, have it blown apart by reality, fail, resign. All the while allowing the anger and betrayal vote to swell making the country ever harder to govern.


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20th May 2019

Markets remain unusually calm amidst escalating tensions

This week, despite the escalating trade war with China and a growing possibility of an actual war with Iran, US markets largely shrugged off rising uncertainty. While we are advocates for ignoring the noise and focusing on the long term, this still seems unusually zen. While it’s possible that the erratic behaviour of President Trump is now fully priced in, it could also be that the market has now become complacent and is too heavily discounting anything serious happening. The latter is more likely, which means a violent reaction to these events could still be on the cards if expectations shift.


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13th May 2019

New tariffs mark last gasp bid to force trade deal

This week the collapsing state of US-China trade relations has roiled markets. Talks appeared to have broken down after US trade negotiator, Robert Lightizer, accused China of reneging on what little the two countries had already agreed on. The opening shots in a new trade war have already been fired, with President Trump confirming he’s increasing tariffs on $200bn worth of imports.


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7th May 2019

Bury St Edmunds office is open!

It’s been a few months in the making, but our new Bury office is now complete and open for business!

Please come and visit us to talk about mortgages, equity release, financial planning and much more.

We’re open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.  Find us at The Barn, 98 Risbygate Street (behind Casa Restaurant), Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3AA.

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7th May 2019

Federal Reserve chairman continues to defy market expectations

This week, while we await the results from local council elections, there was a chance to indulge in the sport of interest rate speculation; an old favourite from “the before times” when simple things like the strength of the global economy were all we had to worry about. New Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powel is proving to be a difficult opponent, with a knack of contradicting himself every few weeks and shaking off the pack who might have been coming close to guessing his next move. On Wednesday he wrongfooted a market that had become over confident in an upcoming rate cut and sent equities into a bit of a panic.


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18th April 2019

WIN a night in beautiful Brancaster!

Help us to 1000 Facebook likes and be in with a chance to WIN a night in beautiful Brancaster! We’re offering one lucky couple Dinner, Bed & Breakfast at the White Horse Hotel, Brancaster, Norfolk .  Just like the competition post on our Facebook page to be in with a chance of winning.

Winner will be chosen at random when we reach 1000 likes or at 12:00 on Friday 31st May 2019. Please share with your friends and follow our Facebook page to ensure you don’t miss out on the winner announcement.

Good Luck!

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15th April 2019

Free financial drop-in sessions in Sheringham!

Following the success of two drop-in sessions in January, we’ve decided to make it a regular occurrence!

We will be hosting a free financial session at Sheringham Little Theatre on the last Tuesday of every month between 10am and 3pm.  Come and meet our advisers for a free introductory chat, with no obligation.

The upcoming dates will be:

30th April, 28th May, 25th June, 30th July

If you’re not able to make it to a session, please contact us to arrange a free, no obligation meeting at your convenience.

We are local and offer clear understandable, truly independent advice to both individuals and businesses so that you can be certain you are making the right choice.


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15th April 2019

Brexit delayed until October

This week the Brexit saga took another step towards its ultimate outcome, dragging on into infinity. A conditional delay to the end of October 2019 is welcome but unlikely to change anything. Hopefully government will use this time to come up with a workable solution, but don’t be surprised if we have to beg for another extension after this one. The hard-irreconcilable truth is that a desirable Brexit isn’t deliverable either by WTO, reopening the withdrawal agreement or any other means, and a deliverable Brexit isn’t desirable, as Theresa May discovered in three separate Commons defeats.

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8th April 2019

Europe’s largest money laundering scandal

This week we take a brief Brexit respite to focus on what could be the biggest money laundering scandal in history. Between 2007-2015 around €200bn of non-residential flows was passed through Danske Bank’s Estonian branch unchecked. The Danish firm bought Sabro bank in 2007 to expand its Baltic operations but was warned prior to purchase by Russia’s central bank of fraudulent activity which it ignored.

Subsequently, the branch wasn’t onboarded onto the groups IT platform in 2008 to save costs which meant the branch didn’t have to adhere to anti-money laundering procedures. In 2011 The region generated 11% of profits even though it accounted for 0.5% of the bank’s total assets.


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29th March 2019

Parlimentary votes make Brexit no clearer

This week we have had yet more votes on Brexit and are still no clearer about what will ultimately happen. As we write this the government is having yet another go at getting its universally despised deal over the line, but this time with the fun twist that her replacement gets to tear up whatever has been agreed and plunge us all back into darkness at a later date. At this stage it looks unlikely to pass and a longer extension will be required while the Commons cobbles together a compromise that it can live with and possibly puts back to a confirmatory referendum.

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27th March 2019

EU offers Brexit extension

In what is fast becoming a real-life soap opera, this week’s episode of Brexit saw the narrative pick up the pace. John Bercow kicked things off by quelling Theresa May’s “if it doesn’t work try try again” approach of pushing the same deal through only to get continuously rejected by parliament. Theresa May then managed to rile up Parliament blaming MP’s for the mess and attempting to win over the public. With three million people signing the petition to repeal Article 50 and a march planned this Saturday in London, it appears that she has lost both sides of the dressing room.

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18th March 2019

Will the EU agree to a longer extension?

This week we have to turn our attention yet again to Brexit. After a series of votes and high political drama it came as a surprise to no one that we find ourselves in exactly the same position as before. Theresa May has been told again that her deal is the worst of both worlds, simultaneously too hard and too soft, yet is pressing ahead regardless and looks set to put it to yet another vote next week. Meanwhile the headline development of taking “No-Deal” off the table is also meaningless. While No-Deal is now no longer the official policy of the government, it’s still going to happen unless parliament can agree to something else.


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11th March 2019

US-China trade war taking its toll

This week we received further evidence of the US-China trade war taking a toll, with data showing Chinese exports reportedly dropping 21% year on year. While some of this is down to a slowing global economy, the falling out with Donald Trump isn’t helping. This comes alongside data showing that Russia has massively increased its global share of soybean exports, largely at the expense of US farmers who have been targeted by retaliatory Chinese sanctions. With the extent of the mutual harm the dispute is causing now more evident, it is unsurprising that both sides seem keener on reaching a deal.

Elsewhere; the Financial Stability Board, a global regulator, has started to look closely at the leveraged loan market. As the sector has expanded massively after a decade of low interest rates, there is a concern that the risks the asset class poses to the global markets might have been overlooked.  While its likely a lack of supervision has encouraged bad behaviour, at least its being looked at now rather than after something has imploded.


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4th March 2019

Theresa May to give MPs the chance to extend Article 50

This week we witnessed a major change in direction from both the government and opposition for their respective Brexit policies. Theresa May walked back yet another commitment and conceded that there should be an extension to article 50. This has been inevitable for some time as, quite apart from all the clowning about in parliament, there is actually a lot of legislation to be passed into law before leaving, regardless of the terms. We had already passed the point where that could have been accomplished so it was just a matter of when the Prime Minister would acknowledge that reality. While this move has garnered a lot of attention it hasn’t changed anything, there will still be nothing the parties agree on at the end of the period, except the option to delay will no longer be available.


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25th February 2019

Is the US’s standoff with Huawei set to end?

This week President Trump appeared to make a major concession in his trade negotiations with China by significantly softening his stance on Huawei. Trump said the US shouldn’t ban “Technology” and urged US tech companies to compete or get left behind. This comes after weeks of the government labelling the firm as a risk to western countries and attempted to influence other nations to drop the company from future 5G networks. Trumps words strike a different tone to his administration however, who this week threatened to stop intelligence sharing with any country willing to work with the firm.


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18th February 2019

UK Property funds switch pricing to stem outflows

This week saw another property fund move to limit the impact of outflows as Janus Henderson announced it was moving its pricing to a full spread basis in March. While this sounds like a minor bit of fund administration, and to an extent it is, the timing of the move is interesting. Following the referendum, a sudden run on property funds caused a number to temporarily shut down as they struggled to meet investors demand for redemptions. With the possibility of a hard Brexit looming, it is interesting to see funds take pre-emptive action to try and avoid the same situation.


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11th February 2019

Separating noise from reality

This week a lack of any major developments allowed us the time to look closer at some of the economic data of the last few weeks. It has reminded us that we ought to do this more often and ignore the headlines all together. Italy is currently in its third recession in a decade while Germany’s economy shrank in the third quarter of 2018 and stagnated in the fourth quarter. While it will likely avoid an all-out recession, a global slowdown and retrenchment in world trade is taking its toll. Britain is also slowing down, with growth forecasts cut by 0.5%, although still at a comparatively healthy 1.2%.


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4th February 2019

Markets rally as FED pauses rate hikes

This week the most impactful story came out of the US, when the Federal Reserve announced it was keeping interest rates steady. This is significant, because while official guidance is for three rate hikes in 2019, many believe the Fed is overly optimistic in its estimate of the strength of the US economy and needs to back off. The market was convinced this move was coming; now it’s arrived a significant risk of disappointment has been removed. The impact is yet to be determined, monetary policy takes about 18 months to have an impact on the real economy.

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28th January 2019

When will the US Government shutdown end?

This week the partial US government shutdown enters a new phase. Already the longest shutdown on record, this week will see a second missed pay check for the federal workers caught up in the standoff. While the US economy and stock markets have so far largely been unaffected, from this point on the effects are likely to be more severe. While many public employees could survive a month, many more will struggle to survive two. Disruption and civil unrest are a real possibility. In an odd asymmetry, congressional staffers are getting paid, while White House staff are not, due to being included in different funding packages. This might hint to which side will eventually cave.

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14th January 2019

Turbulent markets take a breather

This week has been broadly positive, with a lull in the news cycle that has allowed the market to catch its breath. Ongoing trade talks between the US and China are being viewed positively, although there is no guarantee they’ll produce anything concrete. While the US government remains shut down, it doesn’t appear to be having an impact outside of those unfortunate enough to be stuck in the middle. This might change if the shutdown lasts past the end of the month when it could cause a delay in people receiving their tax refunds, which incredibly includes around 80 per cent of tax payers.

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3rd January 2019

Make a New Year’s resolution to come and see us!

January is the time for assessing future plans and looking at finances. So why not make it your New Year’s resolution to come and see us for a chat about your retirement plans, mortgage, protection, equity release or accounting needs?

We’re hosting two free financial drop-in session at Sheringham Little Theatre on 23rd and 30th January between 10am and 3pm. Come and meet with our advisers for a free introductory chat!

If you’re not able to make it, please contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation meeting at your convenience.

We are local and offer clear and understandable, truly independent advice to both individuals and businesses so that you can be certain you are making the right choice.

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20th December 2018

2018 Review and Christmas Message

In a slight move from tradition, this year in place of Christmas cards, we are making a donation to the charity MIND. MIND is one of a number of charities that we support, not necessarily just by way of donations, but by helping at events and providing financial education where required.

This year, we have been into Sheringham High School and Framlingham High School on their career days to provide students with a valuable insight into the world of financial planning. We have also donated various prizes to assist with fundraising activities in our local communities.

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19th December 2018

Is this the end of the road for Theresa May?

This week pretty much sums up the year; a lot of noise and drama and we’ve ended up back where we started. The challenge to Theresa May dominated the airwaves for two days, but despite seeing off the challenge, nothing about Brexit has fundamentally changed. While the PM is temporarily safe from her own party; she still has a deal nobody wants and seems unlikely to get any material change from the EU, who are just as fed up with the whole process as we are. We still think that May’s strategy is to run the clock down and try and force something through at the end. Other scenarios involving a referendum or election require too much risk for the Conservative party, so we think they fall in line at the end.


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14th December 2018

Equity Release explained

Not sure what Equity Release is all about? We’ve produced a short video to explain it further:

If you would like further advice, please contact us to arrange a free, no obligation appointment.

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10th December 2018

Is this the end of the road for Theresa May?

This week we return to two old favourites, Brexit and Trump. The Brexit deal is currently being debated in parliament, with a final vote on whether to take it scheduled for the 11th. It has been a blood bath. On the opening day the government suffered three defeats and has almost surrendered control entirely. This pantomime of national humiliation shows no signs of ending either. The deal is almost certainly going to be voted down and what happens next is unknown, but very likely includes some sort of delay or extension while we try to sort ourselves out. There are many predicting Theresa May will resign, but we’re not so sure. If defeat and failure were all it takes, she’d be gone already.


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3rd December 2018

The end of volatility?

This week the most notable headline came from Jerome Powell, the Chair of the US Federal Reserve, when he announced that he thought interest rates were “just below neutral”. This apparent softening of stance has done wonders to soothe a jittery market, with US stocks rallying on the news. Whether or not this is materially any different from previous statements and actually signals any change in policy is debatable, but it is definitely what the market needed to hear. This might be the reassurance needed to put an end to the current period of volatility.


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27th November 2018

Prime Minister May set to finalise Brexit plans

This week the Brexit saga rolled on. After the high drama of last week when everyone was arguing over when, not if, Theresa May would be replaced; we find ourselves now with the same Prime Minister, same deal and the same sense of inevitability. While the political media still speculate over parliamentary vote tallies and back room plots, it turns out May is a far cannier operator than many give her credit for. She appeared to recognise that the hard line Brexiteers in her own party were all bluster and is now betting that the voting public will accept any deal that means they don’t have to hear the word Brexit again, which we think should get very short odds.

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19th November 2018

Brexit debate intensifies

This week the inevitable clash between Brexiteers and reality came to pass as Theresa May finally unveiled the Brexit deal. The basic facts are that hard Brexit is too economically destructive to be a genuine option, while any compromises to minimise that harm will leave us subject to EU rules without having a say on them. As was always the case there is no middle ground. Where we go from here is unclear, although we suspect most MPs will conclude a bad deal is better than no deal after all.


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12th November 2018

Political gridlock in the US after Mid-Term elections

The US Midterms this week saw the Democrats wrestle back control of the House of Representatives after eight years, while the Republicans maintained control of the Senate leaving the country politically gridlocked. The elections weren’t without their fair share of controversy. Voting machines appeared to break down in predominately black areas of the county of Georgia leaving voters unable to vote for African-American candidate Stacey Abrams with incumbent governor Kemp winning the county. In Ohio, claims of vote rigging turned out to be caused by a temporary paper jam.


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5th November 2018

Political uncertainty remains as markets rally

This week the market looks to have finally settled down, after prematurely declaring the same thing last week. While there have still been some big moves this week, they lacked any downward momentum and markets look like they will end up, bar any sudden swings in afternoon trading. While the volatility may have diminished, the background uncertainty hasn’t. A story that Theresa May had secured access to the single market for services was quickly rebutted, likewise a tweet from Donald Trump that he was close to a trade deal with China.


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29th October 2018

Markets begin to stabilise

This week markets appeared to stabilise, albeit in an unstable fashion, with a mix of up days and down days. It’s probably too soon to declare the dust settled, negative reports from Amazon and Google has triggered a further wave of selling, but there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, most equity markets are down about 8 per cent from a month ago; with Europe down a bit more based on the shenanigans in Italy. As corrections go this feels about right, although we might see Asian markets fall a bit more before we truly bottom out.

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22nd October 2018

Federal Reserve minutes hints towards a quicker pace of rate hikes

This week the paranoia over interest rates that has haunted the markets throughout October looks a little more justified, following the release of the minutes from the September meeting of the US Federal Reserve’s rate setting body, the Open Market Committee. The latest sell was off sparked by fears that the bank might hike rates faster than expected, and it appears those fears were well founded with several members of the committee pushing for rates to move into restrictive territory.


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15th October 2018

Global selloff relents after rally

Rising US treasury yields, falling US tech stock prices, and incessant tweeting by President Trump were all factors contributing to the global sell-off this week. President Trump’s tweet questioned the Fed’s tightening policy. It appears the news of the rate hikes took some time to be digested by bond investors with BlackRock’s debt ETF recording a record outflow of almost $2bn in a single day. The bond market contagion spread to the US Equity market with technology stocks bearing the brunt of the headwinds.


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8th October 2018

Chinese monopoly on computer and phone manufacturing poses a risk to Tech stocks

This week saw major exposés from the shadowy world of espionage. Much of the news has focused on details of the Russian operation to poison former agent Sergei Skripal with a deadly nerve agent, this spy novel type attack has overshadowed the far more serious cyber security threats that were also disclosed.


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1st October 2018

President Trump’s speech falls flat in the UN

This week the Brexit waters were muddied further at the Labour party conference, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer putting forward conflicting positions in consecutive speeches. McDonnell appeared to favour a referendum on a bad deal versus no deal, while the more pragmatic Starmer thought an option to just bin the whole idea ought to be considered as well.


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24th September 2018

Chequers plan rebuffed in Salzburg

This week the background noise of uncertainty over Brexit increased to a deafening roar as Theresa May took her Chequers plan to Salzburg only to have it dismissed out of hand. While much of the press has been fuming about the way the EU27 have treated the Prime Minister, this outcome should not have been a surprise.


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17th September 2018

Hurricane Florence set to test President Trump’s leadership

This week, we got further support for the status quo. Positive economic data, including a higher than expected GDP data was coupled with a decision from the central bank to leave things alone and let everything carry on as it is. Unfortunately, our political leaders don’t have the same appreciation for inactivity.


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10th September 2018

Rare ray of sunshine as Brexit negotiations continue

This week we had an announcement that Britain and Germany had agreed to drop specific sticking points around the shape of our future relationship with the EU, which was perceived to make an exit deal more likely. While the pound did strengthen on the news, reports of a surge were overblown as it remained far from its six-month high against the dollar. The positive sentiment has also been undermined by both the Conservative back benches and EU negotiators, who have decided to call time on Theresa May’s Chequers proposal, albeit for very different reasons.


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3rd September 2018

Yet another company exits the UK

This week we had a reminder that while the ultimate outcome of Brexit is unknown, companies don’t have the luxury of waiting to find out. Panasonic became the latest company to move its European headquarters from London, adding to announcements from Unilever, EasyJet and Goldman Sachs to name but a few. Despite the consolatory tones from Barnier this week, even the softest of Brexit’s won’t reverse the cost of uncertainty already paid.


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28th August 2018

Growing the Brancaster House team

As the need to support more clients across Norfolk and Suffolk grows, so too does the team at Brancaster House. In recent months, the organisation has recruited 3 members of staff to cover Mortgage Advice and Business Development.

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28th August 2018

Time to worry Mr President?

Robert Mueller, the man responsible for investigating Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign, will be going into the weekend feeling particularly smug on the news that two of the President’s former associates may be facing jail time. Former lawyer and ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to paying off two women on behalf of Trump using campaign expenses, while former campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces fraud charges.


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20th August 2018

Italy passes the blame to avoid homegrown issues

A collapsed bridge in Italy this week that left 39 dead has further widened the cracks in the Italian government. The Eurosceptic League pointed the blame at the EU for restricting maintenance spending, while the Five Star Movement aimed its fire at the motorway operator responsible for the maintaining the bridge.


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13th August 2018

GAM suspends star bond manager

This week has been thankfully quiet by recent standards, making it possibly the worst time for an asset manager to make the headlines. Without warning GAM suspended one of its star bond managers and gated his funds, preventing investors from withdrawing their money. This was followed by a period of radio silence and then a confusing series of press releases.

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6th August 2018

Bank of England ushers in a “new normal”

This week felt like a throwback to a more innocent time, when simple things like the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee were all we had to worry about. Mark Carney surprised precisely no one on Thursday when he announced a hike in short-term rates to 0.75 per cent.

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30th July 2018

Trump and Juncker bond at UK’s expense

This week we were treated to the now familiar show of Donald Trump taking credit for solving a self-induced crisis. After meeting with EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker, not only has there been an agreement to scrap the trade war, but the pair also signalled a reduction in all tariffs; including on politically sensitive farm goods.

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25th July 2018

Brexiteer rebellion seen off for now

This week we saw the absurd spectacle of the government supporting attempts to wreck its own Brexit plan, as the hard Brexiteers struck back following the Chequers agreement. This leaves the government with no foundation for negotiations with the EU, as there is no position it can take that will command the support of the Tory party.

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16th July 2018

Soft “Soft Brexit” plans draw hard criticism

This week we finally learnt what Brexit meant when the government published its white paper on what sort of deal it wants from Brussels. Sadly, the paper spells out a poorly conceived, unworkable compromise that fails to take in the complexities of the institutions involved or the practicalities of international trade; and which fails to protect the British economy or return any sort of real control.

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9th July 2018

Trump and XI stick to their guns

This week, Peak Pegasus, a US cargo ship full to the brim with soybeans, raced across the Northern Pacific to beat a 25 percent import duty on one of the States’ most lucrative exports to China. Unfortunately, it arrived late, making it the latest casualty in the global trade war which now seems to be properly underway.

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2nd July 2018

Conte makes a splash at EU summit

This week European leaders gathered in Brussels for the EU summit. While we might have expected Brexit to be the main topic of discussion, most of the drama has centered on how to handle the large numbers of migrants coming across the Mediterranean. This was in no small part the making of the new populist Italian Prime Minister, who basically threatened to derail the event unless the issue was addressed.

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29th June 2018

Brexit “Peace Deal” eases UK political risk

This week the government won a hard-fought compromise in its Brexit negotiations. Following a series of standoffs and late-night crisis talks, it finally found some middle ground and with a dose of pragmatism, managed to come away with a win.

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21st May 2018

Oil hits $80 a barrel for first time in four years

This week we’ve seen a significant jump in the oil price, no doubt to accommodate the production of souvenir plates and tabloid pull outs for the royal wedding. Lower than expected US oil production might also be part of the picture.


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18th May 2018

The Big Question When Approaching Retirement – Annuity vs Drawdown?

Is it better to purchase an annuity or take regular income via drawdown?

If you’re approaching retirement, you’d probably love to know the answer to that one, unfortunately it is not always an easy decision to make.

In April 2015, the tax rules were changed to give people greater access to their pensions in retirement. As a result of this, where previously for many people, it may have been deemed unsuitable to access their pension via drawdown, this is now an option.

The first thing to understand is that you can’t make a straightforward comparison between annuities and drawdown. This is because they are very different plans, working in completely different ways.

An annuity is actually a type of insurance. Specifically, it insures you against running out of income if you live longer than expected. Hence it pays you a guaranteed income for life – there is no central pot of money that can ‘run out’.

By contrast, drawdown involves an invested pot of money from which you make regular withdrawals of income.

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9th May 2018

Questions about cash holdings no longer cool

This week Elon Musk’s refusal to answer “boring” questions about Tesla’s finances cost the company $2bn in market value. Its first quarter revenue and earnings were better than expected; Wall Street analysts mainly wanted to know why he burnt through more cash than expected. However, “boring, bonehead questions are not cool”.


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30th April 2018

Facebook brushes off Cambridge analytica scandal

The busiest week of earnings season has been an up-and-down, or rather a down-then-up, one for global equity markets. After Caterpillar, the biggest manufacturer of construction equipment in the world, suggested that its better-than-expected first quarter earnings will be the “high-water mark” for 2018, stocks rebounded after a display of resilience from the recently troubled US tech sector.


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23rd April 2018

Markets reassess likelihood of May rate rise

This week the fickle nature of economic forecasting was at the fore, with just a handful words from Mark Carney enough to cloud crystal balls over the country. This pattern is well worn – the market gets too confident that it knows exactly when the Bank will raise rates and then freaks out when reminded that all it’s really doing is guesswork.


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17th April 2018

War fears overtake trade fears

This week volatility has remained, with fears of a trade war being replaced with fears of an actual war. President Trump was incredibly vocal on Twitter at the start of the week, making the as yet unrealised threat that missiles would be coming in Syria. Personal legal issues seem to have taken his focus off the issue lately, so the market is taking the view that perhaps he won’t follow through. It seems traders are musing on a philosophical question: if the US starts a war in the Middle East and it isn’t on social media for everyone to see it, did it really happen?


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9th April 2018

Tit for tat on trade causes market tremors

There has been significant volatility this week, mainly caused by the on-again off-again relationship between China and the US. The White House publication of an extensive list of tariffs on a multitude of products sent markets down initially, before reassuring briefings from senior officials caused some recovery.


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26th March 2018

Trump sparks global sell-off with China trade sanctions

This week the late news that Donald Trump has singled out China for $60 billion in tariffs, after giving most other countries a pass, has led to a dramatic escalation in trade war fears. While the market had recently begun to tune out most of the news from the White House, this latest announcement has hit a nerve; global stocks began selling off hard, with US and Asian markets reacting especially badly.


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20th March 2018

Attack in Salisbury threatens global stability

This week geopolitical tensions have heightened following an assassination attempt on a former Russian spy turned double agent. While this is pretty normal behaviour from the Kremlin, what makes this event so incredible is the method chosen.


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12th March 2018

Trump accepts olive branch from Kim

This week markets have been reeling from a barrage of political events. Markets decided early on that Trump probably didn’t mean what he’d said last week about tariffs, but then took two on the chin when his chief economic advisor Gary Cohn quit, ostensibly because the president did mean what he said as we all found out when he signed an executive order to implement tariffs on Thursday. Before we could fully react to that, news broke that Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un, a complete break with decades of US foreign policy. The White House may have started a trade war and prevented a nuclear one within 48 hours.

Elsewhere, the Italian election, which has been talked about for months as a major political risk hanging over Europe, finally took place. The results were inconclusive, and while this is the norm for an Italian election, the outright winner and ultimately new leader is especially hard to predict. What this means for Europe and the Euro is also still up in the air.


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6th March 2018

Introducing our Trainee Financial Planner, Shane Julian

We are delighted to announce that a current member of the Brancaster House team has begun his journey to becoming a Financial Planner.

 Shane Julian started working with us in October 2016 as a Para-Planner / Technical Analyst. Since joining he has become an invaluable member of the team in more ways than one.

 As a Technical Analyst he specialised in investment and retirement planning and produced financial planning reports for our Financial Planners, which made suitable and relevant recommendations to our clients considering their financial circumstances and goals.

 As well as this he specialised in building personalised retirement and cash flow models to help clients visualise and understand their financial horizon and retirement forecasts.

 Shane joined us from another Independent Financial Advice Company where he was an administrator dealing with high net worth clients.

 He has worked in the Financial Services Industry since 2006 working for a large pensions and life company in Norwich servicing heritage pensions. In 2014 Shane moved to a medium/large based Financial Planning firm, starting as a Financial Administrator assisting the firm’s Director service their high-net worth client bank which required extensive, tax, investment and pension planning.

 Here’s what Shane has to say.

 ‘Since joining the Independent Financial Advice profession, I have taken the approach that the best way to provide financial planning is by taking a holistic approach, looking at the whole picture, whilst ensuring the advice being given is clear, relevant, accurate and reflects the clients aims and objectives. My aim is to ensure the client goes away feeling confident and valued and knowing that they are in safe capable hands. I am looking forward to providing Financial Planning to my clients that will help them achieve their financial goals’

 We are thrilled that Shane has taken on the role of Trainee Financial Planner in the Norwich office and is making great progress. He is enjoying dealing directly with our clients rather than being behind the scenes.

 Well done Shane. We are proud to have you on board!





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5th March 2018

Trump renews fears of global trade war

This week we have been rocked by two irrepressible forces of nature – the “Beast from the East” weather front and Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

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19th February 2018

Bond yields rise with inflation expectations

This week saw a small but significant rise in bond yields, continuing a trend which started in January and which is most likely due to increasing inflationary pressures and expectations of rates rising faster than previously thought. In the short-term equities have faltered too as investors reassess valuations of companies in the light of potentially higher discount rates. We would expect the direction of equity markets to change once there is a little more certainty about future rate hikes. Past Fed boards would have been quick to act to fix expectations, will the new chairman take a different attitude?

Only time will tell.


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30th January 2018

Our Top 4 Recommendations to Take Control of your Finances in 2018

January – a new year and new beginning. For financial planners, January is one of our busiest months as people often want to start the year off right. To help you, here is our yearly checklist.

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29th January 2018

Trump sweetens special relationship

This week our two favourite topics, Trump and Brexit, came together amid the snow and global oligarchy of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Apparently while embarking on an all-out trade war to Make America Great Again, the president will find the time to do the UK a favour on post-Brexit commerce. We’ll believe it when we see it; but given Trump has also just promised to testify under oath, as part of the investigation into possible Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, it might be wise to get Vice President Mike Pence on board as well, just in case.


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22nd January 2018

UK Growth and inflation figures cast into doubt

This week we got the welcome news that inflation might have peaked, with the latest figures showing a slight decline. However, it seems we may never know the true effect of this on the UK economy after it was revealed that there are major flaws in the way the Office for National Statistics calculates growth and inflation. Given that their numbers govern everything from gilt yields to student loans, and even had a hand in last year’s interest rate rise, it would be nice to know they were correct.


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15th January 2018

Fake news spreads to the Bond Markets and Brexit Negotiations

This week, like a many previous weeks, came with a lot of political noise, but largely saw markets continue to rise regardless. One of the more amusing bits of political theatre the markets ignored was the irritation of the Brexit secretary, seemingly over the EU warning British businesses to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Despite months of rhetoric such as “no deal is better than a bad deal”, David Davis has apparently reacted badly to the EU taking the PM seriously. This is a reasonable point, the reshuffle this week showed that cabinet don’t take Mrs May seriously so it’s fair to ask why should anyone else.


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9th January 2018

Happy New Year from all of us!

This week the new year started much as the old one left off. Global markets are shrugging off risk and continuing their upwards march. Much of the talk of the next few weeks will be if this can last the year as various bits of the investment industry publish their new year forecasts. While we’re tempted to call out the current bull run as hubris, there is nothing obvious on the horizon to halt it. Last year it survived rate rises, Trump and Brexit fears. If investors ignored those jumping off points, what will it take to change sentiment this year?


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20th November 2017

Norway starts to sell out of oil

Norways sovereign wealth fund has announced it will sell out of oil and gas investments, subject to approval by the government and parliament. They justify this on diversification grounds, pointing out quite rightly that the country is already highly exposed to oil as a producer. However, that was true last year, so observers are asking what has changed.

Read this weeks Market Commentary to find out more…


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17th November 2017

Confused by your tax return?

If you are a business owner or an individual with income from other sources, you will need to complete your tax return by 31st January 2018. Fines await those who fail to make the deadline. Don’t get caught out, we can help you complete your return with our quick and easy tax return service.

But we don’t stop there. If you’d like to, we can help you to avoid any last minute rushes next year by working with you over the year to help with your tax planning. Our pro-active strategy helps to avoid any nasty surprises. We’ll sit down with you regularly, review the past and plan the future. You get all the information you need to keep driving your business forward.



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14th November 2017

Latest Financial Market Commentary

The UK Economy Hangs in the Balance

UK house prices are rising at their fastest since January, according to Halifax, but the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors suggests they are flat, with sales falling. Who to believe? This is the problem for watchers of the UK economy: different data sets point in different directions, and that is before you even attempt to deal with the politicising of that data.


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10th November 2017

Trying to make sense of pension transfers? We can help cut through the complexity.

Having saved for your retirement, its important to make sure that the pension pot you’ve built up gives you the retirement you’ve dreamed of, when you finally stop working.

At Brancaster House, we are experts in helping our clients find the best ways to manage their money, now and in the future.

We can guide you through the complex pensions market, make sense of the options available to maximise your future income and help you enjoy the retirement you’ve worked hard for

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6th November 2017

Reversal of the Brexit rate cut and a new head of Fed

This week we finally saw a rate rise, putting an end to what feels like years of scepticism on our part that it would ever happen.

Find out how this and other news this week has effected the financial markets by reading our full Market Commentary.


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16th October 2017

Latest Financial Market Commentary

This week we have been treated to a further display of exactly what calibre of people we are currently governed by.

Read our Full Market Commentary to see how last week’s news affected the Financial Markets.


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9th October 2017

May suffers mishaps on stage

This week we had the spectacle of Theresa May being given a P45 while the set fell apart around her during her Conservative Party conference speech.

Read our Full Market Commentary to find out how last weeks news has affected the markets.



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2nd October 2017

Corbyn gaining momentum as Kim and Trump escalate tensions

This week we had the Labour party conference, which should have generated a few light-hearted stories to lead with, but Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in Brighton was a mixed a bag.

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18th September 2017

North Korea Responds to Sanctions with Missile

This week has seen a rather aggressive end, with another North Korean missile flying directly over Japan in the early hour of Friday morning. The test flight is undoubtedly a defiant response to the additional sanctions imposed on the dysfunctional state this week by the UN in response to their earlier nuclear test.


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29th August 2017

Bankers Gather at Jackson Hole

The US President continues to rile up the public with threats of shutting down the government if he doesn’t get his own way, and accusing the media of dividing the country in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville last week.

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21st August 2017

Another Vehicle Attack Leaves Barcelona Devastated

News of another terrorist atrocity broke Friday morning, which as in too many weeks before, makes much of the rest of the week’s activity irrelevant.

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7th August 2017

Carney Continues to Wait and See

This week the most interesting news was nothing. Specifically, the nothing done by the Monetary Policy Committee, which opted to leave interest rates at its current level.

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1st August 2017

Markets Settle Down for Summer

This week has been a bit quiet by recent standards, as most of the western world slows down for the summer holidays.

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26th July 2017

High Flying Tech Stocks Priced for Perfection

This week Travis Kalanick, chief executive of car-hailing and -sharing app Uber resigned following a string of controversies connected to the company’s practises and his personal conduct.

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17th July 2017

Brexit Backlash

This week we started to see the reality of Brexit as some of the mechanics of the transition become visible.

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10th July 2017

Tension Surrounds G20 Summit

This week all the focus has been on the G20 summit that is taking place in Germany.

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3rd July 2017

Government Focus Falls into Place

This week the fallout from the general election has come to some sort of a conclusion with the passing of the Queen’s speech on Thursday.

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19th June 2017

Retail Sales On The Ropes

A few months ago, we noted that there were signs the British economy was starting to weaken, and this week brought the most worrying data yet: retail spending, the engine of recent growth, is looking decidedly ropey.

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12th June 2017

May’s Election Gamble Backfires

This week, or rather the last hour and a half as this is being written, has come to be dominated by the shock election result.

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9th June 2017

Some Excellent News from our Director, Scott Swift

On Friday 2nd June 2017, I found out that I passed my most recent exam. I have taken lots of exams, so that’s not really that unusual for those that know me. But this exam result was particularly special.

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6th June 2017

UK Housing Prices Suffer Further Declines

UK house prices fell for the third month in a row in May, according to Nationwide, the first time this has happened since the financial crisis.

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30th May 2017

Labour Cut Tory Lead to Five Points – Or Do They?

It seems like yesterday that we swore off opinion polls for life, but like addicts we are all back for more.

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22nd May 2017

Brazil Recovery Story in Jeopardy

Brazilian President Michael Temer is being threatened with impeachment after recordings surfaced allegedly showing his involvement in corrupt payments to an already jailed former speaker of the parliament.

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15th May 2017

There’s Only One Philip for May

This week the UK general election picked up steam, with leaked manifesto’s, a hit and run, and a detailed discussion of who puts the bins out being obvious highlights.

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8th May 2017

Rising US Shale Takes its Toll on Oil

This week the late reporting of the drastic fall in the oil price, caused for the most part by a jump in US Shale production, proved to be the most interesting development.

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2nd May 2017

Trump Proposes to Loosen Business Tax Rate and Draghi Keeps Rates Flat

This week we got another chance to see what a Trump Presidency might actually mean, with the much-anticipated release of his tax plan.

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24th April 2017

UK Economic Picture Darkens

Friday morning saw another piece of poor economic data for the UK: retail sales slowed 1.4% quarter on quarter.

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10th April 2017

US Launches Missiles and the FED Assesses Balance Sheet

This week geopolitics comes to the fore, with a potentially momentous meeting between Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping being overlaid with the US missile attack on Syria.

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3rd April 2017

Hedged Fund Hero Crashed to Earth

He is estimated to have lost $4bn of his investors’ money on the trade.

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20th March 2017

Populism’s Spread Cut Short

Political events continue to drive markets this week as the Dutch election and the UK government steal headlines.

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13th March 2017

First and Final Spring Budget for Hammond

This week we finally have something new to talk about – the first budget from Philip Hammond as Chancellor.

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6th March 2017

FED Pushes Forward in US

This week the market finally decided to listen the Federal reserves rate hike plans.

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27th February 2017

Backtrack on Trump Trade

This week the driving factor behind most of the returns for the year so far has been thrown into doubt.

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20th February 2017

Wally of the East and Questionable Governance

This week, aside from the on going train wreck of the Trump administration, we got a timely reminder that there is more than the one lunatic we ought to be worrying about.

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14th February 2017

Greek Bailout Review Brings Trouble

This week we welcome back an old friend, the Greek debt crisis.

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7th February 2017

UK Spending It While We Can

This week the standout event was the Bank of England’s move to keep interest rates at 0.25%. Fairly unexciting in itself, the guidance that came with it was illuminating.

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30th January 2017

Trump Keeps Focus

This week, despite our best efforts, we are again obliged to talk about Donald Trump.

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23rd January 2017

President XI Jinping Steals the Show

This week the World Economic Forum in Davos provided some refreshingly original news.

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16th January 2017

Trump! Trump! Trump!

The headlines have been completely dominated by the president elect, with only a late flurry of snow providing any sort of distraction for the British media.

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9th January 2017

Market Strength Continues

This week has mostly been dominated by predictions for the year ahead – which given the uncertain state of the world following a tumultuous 2016, seems like a particular folly!

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19th December 2016

FED keeps focus

This week all attention has been on the US Federal Reserve, which decided to raise interest rates on Wednesday.

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12th December 2016

Political Upset Remains the Norm

This week has been fairly routine, a couple of elections, a populist revolt and the toppling of a government, so far so ordinary.

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12th December 2016

The Italian polls were right…

Italy will vote on Prime Minister Renzi’s political reform plan on Sunday.

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28th November 2016

UK Economy still strong as political battle rolls on

The latest good news about the UK economy is a solid figure for business investment in the third quarter, the most recent one following the Brexit vote.

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14th November 2016

Weekly Market Commentary

The moment that we never truly envisaged would arrive has done just that. Donald Trump’s ascension into the White House won’t actually take place until mid-January, but the preparations are already underway following his barnstorming election victory on early Wednesday morning.

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11th November 2016

Weekly Market Commentary

A lot of attention has been given to the sell-off in government debt markets, although as ever the reality has failed to match up to the hype.

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7th November 2016

Weekly Market Commentary

This week any hopes of finding something different to talk about were cruelly dashed when the high court ruled that the government couldn’t trigger article 50 without first running it by parliament.

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19th October 2016

Excellent client feedback for our Mortgage Adviser

Our Mortgage and Protection Adviser, Matthew Metcalf has received this fabulous feedback from a recent client definitely worthy of a mention.

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30th September 2016

Introducing Jason Cooper, our new Financial Planner

Brancaster House are delighted to welcome a new Financial Planner on board for our Sheringham Office. Jason Cooper comes to us with a wealth of experience and we’re really looking forward to him being part of the team.

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27th September 2016

Aviva Final Salary Pension Scheme

Did You Work At Aviva / Norwich Union Prior To 2001?

If you did, then chances are that you were part of their Final Salary Pension Scheme.

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17th July 2016

How To Boost Your Pension With Compound Interest

How To Harness The Power of Compound Returns To Boost The Value Of Your Savings, Pensions & Investments.

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15th June 2016

3 Things You Should Protect In Your Financial Plan

Life can throw any number of unexpected events at you, and the value of financial security in the event that a “what if” actually happens cannot be overstated.

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6th June 2016

3 Simple Ways to Save and Invest Tax Efficiently

Many savers and investors are needlessly giving away money which they don’t have to.

In this article we’ll show you 3 ways to save and invest efficiently and boost your saving and investment funds.

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