The Islamic Development Bank Group, in cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, organized a webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Global Investment Outlook

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group hosted a webinar on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global investment outlook, which was organized in collaboration between the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Country Strategy and Cooperation (CSC) Department, IsDB on 17th November 2020 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on FDI and trade in OIC member countries.

The Islamic Development Bank Group, in cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, organized a webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Global Investment Outlook

 The main objective of the webinar is to present the key findings of the World Investment Report 2020 – International Production Beyond the Pandemic with a highlight on FDI trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide, at the regional and country levels and emerging measures to improve its contribution to development. In addition to presenting IsDB Group Strategy during COVID-19 and its impact on OIC Member Countries and Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).

The Webinar also proposed adopting policies and strategies to revive investment and trade in member states to advance investment promotion activities, in order to support the IsDB Group efforts to assist Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in member countries by assisting them in devising appropriate investment and trade policy responses to the ongoing pandemic

Mr. Oussama Kaissi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created a devastating global health crisis. According to UNCTAD’s 2020 World Investment Report, global flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) will be under acute pressure this year as a direct result of the pandemic. In order to combat these implications in member countries, IsDB and its group members have implemented a number of initiatives to maintain trade and investment flows. ICIEC will be an important part of the long-term recovery, supporting the growing demand for risk mitigation solutions”.

Mr. James Zhan, Director, Investment & Enterprise Division, UNCTAD, made a presentation which highlighted the key findings and policy recommendations found in its World Investment Report 2020: International Production Beyond the Pandemic.

Mr. Amadou Diallo, the Acting Director-General, Global Practices at the Islamic Development Bank in his speech stated that during COVID-19, the Bank provided technical assistance programs for the Islamic Development Bank Group such as RCI and ITAP to support the Member Countries by assisting them in developing suitable plans for investment and trade policy to confront the ongoing Corona pandemic. This is in the framework of a tripartite approach centered around the “response, recovery and rebuilding” pillars.

Mr. Mohammed Bukhari, Senior Investment Promotion & Regional Cooperation Specialist, CSC Dept., IsDB delivered a presentation on the impact of COVID-19 on MCs, particularly in foreign direct investment (FDI), domestic investment and investment promotion agencies (IPAs).

It is noteworthy that the private sector institutions of the Islamic Development Bank Group played an important role during COVID-19, as Mr. Asheque Moyeed, Division Head, Infrastructure & Corporate Finance,  the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) made a presentation which focused on the efforts related to promoting investment in member countries, where the IsDB Group private sector institutions pledged with IsDB to provide $ 700 million to stimulate investment, finance trade, investment insurance and export credit in member countries. Two D-8 Egypt and Turkey are going to utilize around $270 million of this package.

The webinar brought together over 500+ participants from 113 countries, including government officials, Presidents & CEOs of local/international private sector companies, multilateral and financial institutions, individual investors, entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce & Industry, business associations, and investment promotion agencies

55 Leading International Asset Owners and Asset Managers Ask Companies to Use SASB Standards

The Investor Advisory Group (IAG) of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) today issued an updated statement calling on companies to use SASB Standards in disclosures to investors.

The IAG’s 55 members represent 12 countries and $41 trillion in assets under management (AUM). Among the updates made to the IAG Statement, when compared with the founding Statement, is the affirmation that “other reporting standards and frameworks may complement SASB Standards, but are not replacements for them.”

The IAG’s Messaging Working Group (one of six IAG working groups) took the lead in revising the Statement, which hadn’t been updated since the IAG was founded in 2016. By strengthening the statement in several key areas, the IAG seeks to send a clear market signal that leading international investors are calling for SASB-based disclosure as a foundation for corporate sustainability disclosure to investors.

Among sustainability reporting standards and frameworks, SASB Standards are tailored specifically to help companies communicate with investors. Because they are industry-specific, metric-driven, and focused on financial materiality, SASB Standards improve the comparability of ESG-related data and enable integration of ESG considerations into investment and stewardship decisions across global portfolios and asset classes.

“Amidst growing momentum this year, global investors agree that we need more standardized data on the ESG factors that impact enterprise value creation,” said Eivind Lorgen of Nordea Asset Management, North America and Chair of the IAG. “As expressed in our updated statement, the IAG wants companies around the world to use SASB Standards in order to improve the comparability and quality of ESG information we need as investors.”

“Within the broader landscape of sustainability disclosure, SASB Standards are specifically designed to meet investor needs,” says Ole Buhl, Vice President and Head of ESG at ATP and a member of the SASB IAG. “That’s why the IAG is asking companies to use the SASB Standards as a core part of their disclosure.”

SASB’s IAG was originally founded in 2016 to demonstrate investor demand for improved quality and comparability of ESG data and provide investor feedback and guidance to the organization. “I joined the IAG as Founding Chair on the condition that the IAG would be action-oriented and get things done. This updated statement—from a group that has more than doubled in size in just four years—reflects the growing momentum, strength, and internationalization of investor support for SASB-based disclosures,” says Christopher Ailman, IAG Chair Emieritus and Chief Investment Officer at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). “I’m proud to see what the IAG has accomplished and I challenge the IAG to achieve and accomplish even more in the years ahead.”

A variety of sustainability standards and frameworks assist companies in communicating with wide-ranging stakeholders. SASB is involved in efforts to integrate ESG reporting standards and frameworks into a comprehensive, global system for sustainability reporting, most recently issuing a joint statement with CDP, CDSB, GRI, and IIRC outlining a shared vision. Within this system, SASB is gaining support as a helpful tool for investor-focused disclosure. Most recently, the UK Financial Reporting Council encouraged UK public interest entities to voluntarily report using the TCFD Recommendations and SASB Standards to meet the needs of investors.

To make progess towards the vision for a comprehensive corporate reporting system, SASB is committed to working with other standard setters and frameworks and global leaders including the IFRS Foundation, IOSCO, the European Commission, and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council.

To read the updated Investor Advisory Group Statement, click here.

About SASB

SASB connects companies and investors on the financial impacts of sustainability. SASB Standards enable companies around the world to identify, manage, and communicate financially material sustainability information to investors. SASB Standards are industry-specific and are designed to be decision-useful for investors and cost-effective for companies. They are developed using a process that is evidence based and market informed. To download any of the 77 industry-specific Standards, or learn more about SASB, please visit SASB.org

Biden will deliver a boost to stock markets and economy

President-elect Joe Biden will deliver a boost to global stock markets and the U.S. and world economy, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

The observation from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Democrat candidate won the race to become the next U.S. president, defeating Donald Trump following a nail-biting vote count after Tuesday’s election.

Biden won more than 73 million votes, the most ever for a U.S. presidential candidate.

Mr Green says: “President-elect Joe Biden will deliver a boost to global stock markets and the U.S. and world economy.

“Although a Biden win was pretty much priced-in by the markets, his victory will eliminate uncertainty – which they loathe – and they will rally further as a result.

“Even possible legal challenges from Trump will be dismissed by investors who will instead be focusing on the renewed certainty and stability that a Biden White House will bring, including in key areas such as trade tensions with China, keeping the U.S. in the World Health Organization, resigning the Paris climate agreement, and abiding by other international agreements and long-standing international allies.”

He continues: “Biden will need to work with the Republican-led Senate to secure fiscal stimulus to bolster the economy.  He might struggle to get the $3trn wanted by Democrats, but some package is likely. 

“This will buoy the markets and would have investors think about a broader-based economic recovery – rather than a narrower, tech-heavy one.

“As the world’s largest economy, sustainable, long-term growth in the U.S. will have a positive ripple effect for the world economy.”

The reduced chance of massive fiscal stimulus will also mount pressure on the Federal Reserve “to inject further liquidity,” he notes.

In addition, the Biden win without full Senate support means less risk of regulation and higher corporate and personal taxes, which will give more oxygen to the markets and economy.

Mr Green adds: “In general terms, sectors to benefit from the Biden administration’s agenda include renewable energy, industrials and infrastructure, and small caps.”

The deVere CEO concludes with a warning: “Biden will need not only to work with the Senate but to heal a divided country.

“The world is looking at America, it needs to lead the world economy in a positive, forward-thinking and smartly way – and at pace.

“If it doesn’t, we can expect American economic dominance to ultimately be replaced by an emerging and fast-growing Asia.” 

Global foreign direct investment falls 49%, outlook remains negative

UNCTAD

The biggest drops occurred in developed countries, cutting across all major forms of foreign direct investment.

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows fell 49% in the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, due to the economic fallout from COVID-19, reveals UNCTAD’s latest Global Investment Trends Monitor released on 27 October.

In the wake of the pandemic, lockdowns around the world slowed existing investment projects and the prospects of a deep recession led multinational enterprises to reassess new projects.

“The FDI decline is more drastic than we expected, particularly in developed economies. Developing economies weathered the storm relatively better for the first half of the year,” said James Zhan, UNCTAD’s investment and enterprise director. “The outlook remains highly uncertain.”

Developed economies suffer steepest fall

According to the report, developed economies saw the biggest fall, with FDI reaching an estimated $98 billion in the six-month period – a decline of 75% compared to 2019.

The trend was exacerbated by sharply negative inflows in European economies, mainly in the Netherlands and Switzerland. FDI flows to North America fell by 56% to $68 billion.

Meanwhile, the 16% decrease in FDI flows to developing economies was less than expected, due mainly to resilient investment in China. Flows decreased by just 12% in Asia but were 28% lower than in 2019 in Africa and 25% lower in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the six months to June 2020, developing countries in Asia accounted for more than half of global FDI. Flows to economies in transition were down 81% due to a strong decline in the Russian Federation.

The decline cut across all major forms of FDI, the report shows.

The report shows that cross-border M&A values reached $319 billion in the first three quarters of 2020. The 21% decline in developed countries, which account for about 80% of global transactions, was checked by the continuation of M&A activity in digital industries.

The value of greenfield investment project announcements – an indicator of future FDI trends – was $358 billion in the first eight months of 2020. Developing economies saw a much bigger fall (-49%) than developed economies (-17%), reflecting their more limited capacity to roll out economic support packages.

The number of announced cross-border project finance deals declined by 25%, with the biggest drops in the third quarter of 2020, suggesting that the slide is still accelerating.

Figure 1: Global investment thermometers, 2020 Q1-Q3
Figure 1: Global investment thermometers, 2020 Q1-Q3
(Percent change vs 2019)
Source: UNCTAD
*The trend in greenfield projects refers to the first eight months of 2020.
**International project finance refers to (the trend in) the number of deals, as project values for the latest months are unavailable.
FDI inflows by region, 2020 H1 vs 2019 6-month average
Figure 2: FDI inflows by region, 2020 H1 vs 2019 6-month average
(Billions of US dollars and percent)
Source: UNCTAD

Outlook for full year remains negative

Prospects for the full year remain in line with UNCTAD’s earlier projections of a 30% to 40% decrease in FDI flows, the report indicates.

The rate of decline in developed economies is likely to flatten as some investment activity appeared to be picking up in the third quarter.

Flows to developing economies are expected to stabilize, with east Asia showing signs of an impending recovery.

The flows will hinge on the duration of the health crisis and the effectiveness of policy interventions to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic. Geopolitical risks continue to add to the uncertainty.

Despite the 2020 drop, FDI remains the most important source of external finance for developing countries, according to UNCTAD. Global FDI stock stood at $37 trillion at the end of 2019.

7 Factors to Consider Before Choosing Financial Advisors

 A Financial Advice Market Review survey found that 1 in 10 adults in the UK sought financial advice within a 12 month period.

We’ve harped on before about why everyone needs a financial advisor, but how do you go about choosing financial advisors?

What you need in a financial advisor will vary depending on your individual circumstances. That being said, there are seven simple rules to follow to find the best financial advisor for you.

1. Know What You Need

You’ve decided you need a financial advisor, but what services do you require from them?

Are you looking to invest wisely, to plan for retirement, or do you need advice on taxes? 

Financial advisors offer a wide array of financial services, from investment management through to business finance plans. Only you know exactly the advice you need, but be clear on this before you even begin looking for a financial advisor. The normal financial advisor services are:

  • Debt Management
  • Budgeting
  • Health and long term care planning
  • Estate planning
  • Retirement
  • Inheritance
  • Tax planning
  • Investments

Whether you need specific advice on one aspect of your finances or a variety of services, the financial advisor you choose should be able to cover all these areas. Additionally, if you know you’re looking for long-term advice, keep this in mind when choosing. 

2. Financial Advising Experience

Frustratingly, nearly anyone can call themselves some kind of financial advisor. It may come under a different heading such as a financial coach or planner, but these titles come with minimum qualifications. 

Due to this, it’s important to really know your potential advisor’s experience and qualifications. This ensures your money and assets are in the best hands possible. 

A good financial advisor’s website should have their qualifications, education, and experience listed. Review all of these things to figure out whether their knowledge will help your unique needs. 

Not all qualifications are equal. In particular, depending on your location, the qualifications to ensure your advisor has are:

  • The Certified Financial Planner Designation
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Enrolled Agent
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Accredited Financial Counsellor

3. Comparing Advisor Fees

It should go without saying that you should do research into different fees for any service. This is never more pertinent advice than with financial advisors.

This is because financial advisors get paid in a few different ways, and sometimes this can be at odds with your best financial interests. For example, if your advisor is getting paid on a fee-only basis regardless of their advice, they have less incentive to grow your wealth. Whereas if they were paid on a commission and fee basis, they have more incentive to invest wisely to increase their commission. 

Typically, a financial advisor will be paid one of three ways:

  • Fee-only
  • Commission
  • Fee-based (a mix of both)

You need to figure out what would work best for your individual circumstances.

4. Transparency

While we’re talking fees, it’s time to talk about transparency. Long gone are the days of the elusive and mysterious investment elite. If your financial advisor isn’t being upfront, ditch them.

A good financial advisor will be transparent about all fees to be charged. You should have this in writing, and they should be happy to give it to you.

Not only transparency about fees but also plans. You should be clear on what plans your financial advisor will make, as well as how regularly you can expect updates, reports, and meetings. 

5. References and Reviews

Even now, word of mouth might still be one of the best ways to find a financial advisor. But if you don’t happen to know anyone, the internet is a great substitute.

As well as checking qualifications and education, you should check reviews. On their site, on Trustpilot, and on Google. 

6. Performance reporting

As we mentioned briefly, you want regular reports on your assets and wealth. But it also needs to be in a digestible format. That is to say, you don’t want an array of random charts and figures you can’t actually understand.

You need clear, concise reports on performance, transactions, and holdings. You can choose how regularly you want to receive these. Whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually, your financial advisor should be happy to provide them. 

As we live in a digital world, many of these offerings may be in online services. You should know what financial planning software is in use and whether you will have access to it.

7. Talk to Your Advisor 

Before signing up for anything, talk to your advisor in depth. If they’re part of a firm, know exactly who will be running your account and who you’ll be dealing with. Get to know them.

Ensure you get an initial meeting – whether by phone or in-person – and know exactly how often you’ll be speaking to them. Is it once a month or once a quarter? Will they regularly be contacting you with updates?

This is particularly important if you’re looking at long-term financial advice. Your life will change due to work, relationships, children, and so on. You need to have regular contact with your financial advisor to take these changes into account and amend your plan accordingly. 

Choosing Financial Advisors

Using our tips above, you should be able to find a reliable and trustworthy financial advisor to manage your assets. Make sure to take your time choosing financial advisors, and avoid any cheap pressure tactics from firms. 

For more financial advice, make sure to see our financial section to keep you up to date with the latest news.

Trust the Experts: 7 Benefits of a Financial Adviser

Plenty of people feel out of their depth when it comes to money management. Whether you’re looking at pensions, insurance, mortgages, or savings and investment products, there are so many options available and it can be overwhelming. Recent research has shown that up to one-third of people in the UK don’t have a pension. It’s really critical to plan for the future and many people could benefit from professional financial advice. The benefits of a financial adviser include bespoke advice on defining your financial goals, building wealth, and planning for the future.

Read on to find out more about the value of good financial advice. 

7 Benefits of a Financial Adviser 

A good financial adviser will begin the process of working with you by undertaking a fact-finding exercise. They will find out more information about your circumstances and goals and any financial products you already have.

One of the most important things is to assess your risk appetite. How much are you prepared to lose in the investment market? Once all of this is established, they will go on to recommend financial products that are suitable and affordable for your current circumstances.  

Let’s look in a little more detail about the specialist advice available from financial advisers.  

1. Product Recommendations and Protection 

If you take financial advice before buying a specific product, you should end up with a product that meets your personal needs and is most suitable for your circumstances. Using an adviser may also give you access to a range of products that you may not have been able to access on your own.

You also have protection if something goes wrong. If your adviser gives unsuitable advice or has not acted in your best interests, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman

2. Objective, Expert Advice 

Lack of objectivity can be a major issue in investment decisions. A professional adviser will make their decisions based on analysis and objective decision-making, without emotion or panic. An experienced professional will know when to hold their nerve if the market looks a little shaky, enabling sound long-term decisions.

Financial advisers are full-time professionals with many years’ experience. No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to keep up-to-date on all the latest developments in taxation, investment opportunities, and market developments. You should be able to rely on your financial adviser to give you the most well-informed advice. 

3. Savings Advice

Let’s look at some of the areas where financial advisers can add value to your decision-making process. In terms of savings advice, it’s easy to get general guidance on what your savings options are. Financial advisers will go further and offer advice on particular products.

A financial adviser would take you through specific options of savings accounts, ISAs and investment opportunities, and recommend one that suits your personal circumstances best. 

4. Investment Advice 

It’s important to note that some financial advisers are independent and offer a full range of products from the market. Others offer a more restricted service and only have a limited range of products or providers. 

Investment products are harder to understand than cash savings products, and taking advice can ensure that you’re aware of all the options available to you. If you have limited time to undertake research, or you lack the skills and knowledge to make the best decisions when it comes to investing, then financial advice in this area is a good idea. 

5. Long-Term Financial Planning 

A key part of getting your personal finances in order is ensuring that you plan for the future. Pensions are long-term investments and it’s important to understand the funds you’re investing in and any associated risks. 

A financial adviser can help you to make decisions about personal pension products or boost your existing pension. If you’re considering combining different pension pots, it’s important to get expert advice so that you are fully informed on how each product works and what plan is most suitable for your long-term financial security. 

6. General Money Management Advice 

A good financial planner can also help you with general finance tips. This could include how much you need to save in your emergency fund and what your long-term savings target should be. They can also help with budgeting tips – what do you need to do differently to improve your financial circumstances? 

Financial advisers can offer banking advice to make sure that your current bank is offering the services you require. This could include looking at bank charges including overdraft fees, the availability of digital and face-to-face services and any additional services offered with your bank account. 

Financial advisers can also help to identify any changes you could make to improve your tax situation. This includes long-term tax and estate management planning, as well as any tax implications from investments. 

7. Peace of Mind 

Possibly the greatest benefit of using a financial adviser is that it gives you peace of mind. You can relax, knowing that your money is in a safe place and that your financial adviser will help you to deal with any challenges which may arise. 

You can also feel secure in the knowledge that, should your life circumstances change, your financial adviser ill be able to help you navigate through the transition. This will reduce stress and help you to continue on your path towards financial freedom.

Choosing a Financial Adviser 

If you’re now sold on the benefits of a financial adviser, the next step is to choose one. You need to ensure that you fully understand their fee structure. Some charge by the hour, while others charge a flat fee for a specific product or take a commission on products that you buy through them.

You should also ensure that the financial adviser you use is fully qualified and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. This means that they meet the required standards and also that you have some protection if you’re unhappy with the service provided.

Staying Informed 

Even with the benefits of a financial adviser to help you make financial decisions, it’s a good idea to try to stay as well-informed as possible about what’s going on in the finance world.

For all the latest news and views on investments, banking, and finance, be sure to check out our blog.

Follow These Holiday Budgeting Tips to Make Your Next Trip a Success

Overspending on a holiday is a very easy trap to fall into. The excitement of being in a new place, seeing sights, and eating new food can quickly total up. However, you can do all of these things without going over your budget. By implementing a few ideas, you can make sure your holiday is not ruined by money and cash worries. Below, we discuss our tips for holiday budgeting. 

Be Flexible

When booking transport and accommodation, you can save a lot of money if you are able to be flexible. Flights and train tickets can drop drastically if you can shift around days and times. Trains are much cheaper if you travel off-peak and book well in advance. 

Try to utilize price comparison sites. They can get you the best deals on flights and accommodation and often have offers available. 

Luggage

Luggage can really add money to a flight, particularly when flying with budget airlines. Most of their prices are advertised without hold luggage and strict hand luggage restrictions apply.

Use this to your advantage by only booking the number of cases needed. If you and your partner can fit the children’s clothes in two cases, then you can save money on expensive hold luggage places.

If you are traveling somewhere for a longer period of time, it can be cheaper to send clothing via post than book extra hold luggage. Look at parcel comparison sites using the dimensions and weight of your package and send them to your destination.

Plan for ATM Withdrawals

When withdrawing money from abroad, prices can vary drastically. There are three factors to consider; ATM fee, bank fee, and exchange rate.

The ATM fee is the money charged by the ATM operator for the use of their machine. These fees can vary from free services to extortionate prices. Ask locals in the area which are the free ATM machines and use them. 

You should also check the bank exchange rates from your currency to the local currency. Most bank ATM machines will have fairly reasonable exchange rates, but independent ATM operators can charge high fees.

Next, consider the charge that your own bank makes for taking money out abroad. To minimize a loss on all counts, always keep ATM withdrawals to a minimum, withdrawing as much money as you possibly can to maximize your loss.  

Holiday Budgeting

Before the holiday starts, count up the money you have saved. Deduct any money for transport or hotels, then divide the rest by the number of days you will be away. You now have a daily budget for your trip. 

If you do not spend all of your holiday budget in one day, then carry it over to the next. However, try not to exceed your budget on any given day as it can be hard to make up the losses. You may want to also have a separate budget for buying gifts and souvenirs that runs for the whole trip. 

Budget for Time

Arrange your personal finances around your times. For example, you may be spending one day on a flight which will cost you far less than a day in a city. For every day like this, carry your daily budget over to the next.

If you find yourself spending more money than you planned, slow the trip down a little. Instead of going out every day, spend a few days by the pool. You may decide to cook in an apartment instead of going out for expensive meals or eat food from a street vendor. 

Pay Using Card

When paying by card in a shop or bar, always choose to pay in local currency. Paying in your own currency usually has a higher rate with conversions fees, so you will end up being charged more. When using a credit card, the rate will be set by Visa or Mastercard and will likely be much lower. 

Research Local Deals

Before you travel to a destination, do some research online for local deals and offers. These may be in the form of discount coupons for trips and sights, or for meals and food. 

Many restaurants have excellent tourist meals for visitors. You can save a lot of money, eating at very high-end restaurants in this way. Check local review sites for great places to eat then check their website to see what they offer. 

Create Your Own Tours

Arranged tours and guides are very useful. But they can also be very expensive. Save money by planning your own itinerary. 

If you are the adventuring type, get online, and utilize public transport. You may even hire a car or bicycle to go and see the sights. The joy of this is that you see a lot more of the destination and often find shops, food, and sights you would not have been exposed to before. 

Some city breaks even offer free walking tours. They are organized by knowledgeable guides who ask for a contribution at the end. You simply pay what you think they deserve and have worked for. 

Some destinations also offer combined travel and discount cards. They allow you access to transport and discount at major attractions and eateries. Family tickets can save you an awful lot of money in the long run. 

Coming Home

When you return, exchange any large amounts of leftover currency at ane exchange. For medium amounts, it may worth be worth the effort so it could be better to just spend them at the airport on your way home. 

If you are looking for more advice on holiday budgeting or general money management, then make a visit to our blog a regular stop. Whether it is personal or business finance advice, we can help you organized your money starting today!

Investors ‘freaking’ over possible contested outcome of U.S. election: poll

A disputed result in November’s U.S. presidential election is now the number one concern for investors – even ahead of a second wave of Covid-19 – according to a new global survey.

The poll carried out by deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations, asked more than 700 clients ‘What is your biggest investment worry for the rest of 2020?’

A contested U.S. election was the number one (72%); the impact of a Covid-19 second wave (18%) and U.S.-China trade war (5%). The remaining 5% was made up of other geopolitical issues, including Brexit.  

735 people resident in the UK, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australasia took part in the poll.

Of the poll’s findings, deVere Group CEO and founder, Nigel Green says: “Investors around the world are beginning to freak about the U.S. presidential election. 

“But not about whether Trump or Biden wins, rather over the looming possibility of a disputed outcome.

“President Trump is already questioning the legitimacy of the election, heightening the chances of a contested result and an ensuing constitutional crisis in the world’s largest economy.

“It’s getting ugly and investors are, rightly, concerned that this will generate massive waves of volatility in the markets, not only in the U.S., but around the world.”

He continues: “Investors are telling us this is their biggest investment worry for the rest of 2020.

“It is likely that any election-triggered volatility will be highly impactful for may be only two or three weeks.

“As always, investors should remain in the market during this time.”

Rational investors, Mr Green believes, should be capitalising on any election turbulence.
 
“There are two key reasons why investors should be building up their portfolios in volatile times.
 
“First, are long-term benefits. There are many unknowns, but what we do know is that over the longer-term the performance of stock markets is fairly predictable: they go up.
 
“Indeed, for this reason, over a longer time horizon, investing in equities is almost universally recognised as one of the best ways people can accumulate wealth.
 
“By not topping up and diversifying portfolios in volatile periods, investors are pushing back the longer-term benefits they could be starting to reap.  Why forsake the long-term gains that would be generated on money invested now?”
 
“Second, the buying opportunities.  The see-sawing markets are a chance for investors to put new money into markets at lower prices.  A slump in the market means that there are high-quality equities available at more attractive prices.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “A contested outcome of the U.S. presidential election will almost inevitably send the stock markets into a temporary tailspin – and this is weighing on investors’ minds.

“I would argue, they should try and use the volatility to their financial advantage where possible and appropriate.”

6 Practical Tips to Help You Reduce Debt

The American economy has millions of people working paycheck to paycheck. As if it’s not enough, 80% of Americans are walking around with some type of debt to keep their head over water as a way to afford bills or pay back tuition looking for ways to reduce debt.

Debt also happens to those who have a poor understanding of finances or those who desire to meet a certain lifestyle. It can be exhausting to try to pay back what you owe when it is a lot. If you need tips on how to reduce debt and get back on track, keep reading. 

1. Learn Where You Stand

There are two types of debt a person who owes money has: problem debt and managed debt. When you are riddled with debt uncertain of how to pay it back, you are dealing with problem debt. This is because you are in a position where you take out more than what you can afford. 

The goal is to turn problem debt into managed debt so you can work to pay it back to be debt-free. This cannot happen if you do not know where you stand. The best way to be clear about your financial situation is to pull out a pen, paper, and your credit report. 

Your report will provide you a list of credit cards and loans you have, how much you owe, and whether or not you are current on the payments or not. If there happen to be discrepancies on your report, now is the time to correct it. 

2. Budget and Start a Debt Plan 

Before you contact lenders, you should create a debt management plan and create a budget to see what you can afford to pay. You may be able to pay more than you think each month if you can cut out certain expenses you do not need such as shopping. 

If you are able, you could also increase your budget by working more hours or finding another job. You can do this by yourself or you can work with a financial consultant to help add structure to your plans and guide you. 

3. Pay off Debt With the Avalanche or Snowball Method

You are in better control of your personal finances when you can order how, how much, and when you repay money you owe. There are two types of debts you may have. The first, known as revolving debt, comes from credit cards that have a monthly balance each month when you do not pay it back (in full). 

There is also installment debt that is a chunk of money you owe at once — although you pay back in installments. This is the case with mortgages, personal loans. Both can affect your credit score. It’s helpful to use the avalanche or snowball method when you are paying your debt back. 

Avalanche Method

With this method, you pay off debt from the highest interest to the lowest. Overall, you want to make at least the minimum payment, but add more money to accounts with higher interest. You continue this process to the end and doing this method helps you decrease the total amount of money you owe by reducing the interest. 

Snowball Method

With the snowball method, you are doing the opposite. You are paying back from smallest to largest. This method also works to lower the amount of debt you owe, but by eliminating debt which stops interest. 

4. Negotiate to Settle 

If you do have some money on the side or can get it, you may be able to clear the debt you owe quicker by settling on the balance with a lender. With this method, you are paying less than what you owe on the balance that the lender accepts. 

This amount may be as little as 20% or as much as 80% to 90% off your balance. The only way to figure out how much you can get off is through negotiation. Upon receiving your payment, they will show your account as paid. 

5.  Consolidate Debt

Another option to address debt is to consolidate it. A major benefit is that it can help with your credit scores. When you consolidate debt, you are rolling all your debt, including the interest rates, into one single payment and interest.

The attractive thing about debt consolidation is that you save more by having a reduction in interest so you can pay back the money you owe faster. This method is also ideal for those who find it hard to keep up with multiple payments. 

6.Do Not Add On to Debt

The last thing you want to do as you are working to repay debt is to add on to it. You should never attempt to get another loan or card to pay an existing debt. More often than not, this will make matters worse and it will be more difficult. 

This also means you need to change old habits that caused you to get in debt in the first place if you have problems spending. A good tip to avoid getting in more debt is to stop using credit cards when shopping and switch to cash when you know you cannot pay the balance back in full. Relearning to use cash rather than depending on credit cards can make a huge difference. 

Reduce Debt to Get Back on Track With Your Finances 

When you first get a credit card or loan, it can be an exciting feeling. It feels nice to be able to get something you want or pay a bill you previously could not afford to pay back. Every time you use money from a lender, you should always keep in mind the money is not yours, and it comes with interest.

When you do not pay what you owe, you will find it hard to get future approvals and notice a plunge in your credit score. There is a way to reduce debt and get rid of it when you acknowledge you have it and use the tips to get ahead of your finances. 

If you want to find more ways to keep your money in check, take a look at more blogs on the finances section on our website. 

Take Control of Your Money With These 5 Budgeting Sites and Apps

Talking about money is a major taboo in countries and cultures around the world, and the UK is no exception. While discussing finances with friends and family can be nerve-wracking, staying quiet about how we earn, spend, and save contributes to poor financial literacy. As a result, many of us never learned how to budget when we were young. Once you start earning a real paycheque, though, learning how to manage personal finances is crucial. Thankfully, budgeting sites and apps can help even the most novice beginners get a handle on their spending habits.

Here are five of the most helpful free and paid money management sites you should go to for budgeting tips and UK banking advice.

1. Yolt

Yolt is one of the best-known budgeting apps in the UK. It’s an open banking platform that lets you see all your linked accounts on one dashboard and track your spending from each of these accounts. You can also use the app to set budgeting and savings goals, transfer money securely to friends, and track your finances based on your payday instead of a calendar month.

The most unique part of Yolt is its stealth mode, a feature that camouflages your real balances and account information from prying eyes. Activating stealth mode will alter your standard currency and randomise other info while still allowing you to show what the app’s interface looks like.

The downside of this app is that you can’t use it on the web, only on a mobile device. There’s also a delay before transactions register in your account, meaning you can’t quite view things in real-time.

2. Money Dashboard Neon

The original Money Dashboard was a pioneer in the world of budgeting sites, but they’ve since scrapped the old interface and come out with a brand new app—Money Dashboard Neon.

Like other budgeting apps, Neon lets you connect your bank accounts to track them all in one place. It also allows you to break your spending into different categories and build a custom budget. Users can even sync their pay cycles for more accurate budgeting and schedule automatic payments through the app.

The downside of Money Dashboard is that to keep their app free of charge, they sell user data to third parties. Even though they anonymise the data and promise not to release your identity, this could be a deal-breaker for more security-conscious folk.

3. Moneyhub

The Moneyhub personal finance app is a bit different than the others on this list because it requires a paid subscription. The organisation’s reasoning, though, is that they’ll never sell your information to third-party buyers—something that’s very important when we’re looking at banking. The subscription won’t set you back much, just 99p per month or £9.99 per year, and the security is well worth the cost.

Moneyhub’s other standout features include an overview of all your financial accounts, detailed analyses of your spending, and the ability to set spending goals for yourself. You can also use the “nudge” tool to avoid missing a payment and get notified of ways to save.

What sets Moneyhub apart from the rest is the “forecast” feature. With this tool, you can add in a theoretical change to your budget (such as getting your car repaired or going on holiday) and see how it will impact your future finances. This empowers you to spend wisely and never be caught off guard.

4. Cleo

Have you ever wished that your bank accounts came with a financial advisor who would tell you exactly when you can and can’t afford something? With Cleo, the AI budgeting app, your wish can come true.

Cleo uses a healthy dose of sass and millennial humour to give it to you straight. If you’re trying to decide whether going out for a pint is a good idea, ask Cleo. She’ll analyse your current account balances and upcoming expenses to tell you “absolutely not” or “yes, but then you can only spend £15/day for the rest of the week.”

If even that isn’t enough to keep you from opening your wallet, you can always ask Cleo to roast you. She’ll come back with a flurry of memes and drag you for your financial choices (or begrudgingly admit when you’ve done a good job).

5. Emma

Emma may not be a budget planning app, per se, but it does make saving and sticking to your budget a lot simpler. Emma is, as the founders say, a “fitness tracker” of sorts that watches your transactions instead of your heart rate.

This app links directly to your bank accounts, investments, and credit cards to provide a real-time view of your entire financial state. The main feed on the home screen includes easy-to-understand summaries of your account totals and upcoming reminders. Deeper inside you can find detailed analytics, information about all of your linked accounts, and a money-saving tool that helps you find better deals on recurring bills.

Emma is unique because it applies the concept of gamification to your money. The app prompts you to complete “quests” that will help you understand how to use all of its features to the fullest. If you need more robust features than the free version provides, you can upgrade to a “Pro” account at any time.

Give These Budgeting Sites a Try and Take Control of Your Finances

Curbing your extra spending and understanding where your money goes doesn’t have to be painful. These budgeting sites make money easier to understand and—dare we say—can even make budgeting fun. If you’ve ever had questions about how best to direct your dollars or just want to see your finances displayed in an intuitive format, give one of them a try today.

The way you budget and spend your money is important, but where and how you save it has just as much of an impact. Take a look at this article for help deciding whether a commercial or investment bank is more in line with your financial goals.