Tis The Season To Be Jolly…Optimistic

There are many words that can sum up this year, but one that stands out is ‘unprecedented’. This is defined as ‘something that has never been done, known or seen before’. We have seen a lot of unprecedented things happen in 2020, and whilst we have had to adapt as a business, some things have remained the same throughout: our core values, culture, our relationships with you and our responsibility for helping you to achieve your financial goals.

With us being at a distance, we have focused even more so on communications this year, to stay in touch, to inform and reassure, but have also been conscious not to overburden you with information. Hopefully we found just the right balance! As the year comes to close, it feels fitting to sign off with a message of hope and optimism.

Back in March 2020, Covid-19 took hold and very quickly we found ourselves in lockdown. Stock markets plummeted at times with sharp declines which have never been recorded before. Events like these highlights why communication is such an important part of financial planning. We are here to help you navigate financial sea changes and major life transitions. Our message has been consistent to all our clients during this unprecedented year: do nothing.

Investing is a journey – one that can last 20-30 years… or even longer

Unfortunately, some people make 30-year investment decisions based on the last 30 minutes’ worth of news. This can have massive implications for your long-term wealth. By having a robust financial plan, reviewing it regularly and sticking with it during the inevitable phases of market turbulence, history tells us that you will likely end up far better off than those who try to ‘time’ the market and avoid the volatility altogether. 2020 has been a classic example of this (and we haven’t even mentioned the impact of the US Election!).

The chart below shows the top global major stock markets as at 1st January 2020 up to 23rd March 2020 (when the UK first went into lockdown):

Can’t see the full image? Tap/click the image to view a fullscreen version:

stock markets

Source: FE Analytics


Declines ranged between c10% and 33%. This triggered panic; people sold (often at a loss) and then waited until things get better (which they always do) and bought back in again. We previously released an article on the case for long-term investing, which portrays this well.

The next chart displays exactly the same major global stock markets but from day one of lockdown (23rd March 2020) up to the present day (4th December 2020 at the time of writing). There are no minus figures; only positive ones ranging from +8.50% to +56%.

Can’t see the full image? Tap/click the image to view a fullscreen version:

stock markets

Source: FE Analytics


Many of you will be exposed to each of these stock markets to some degree within your well-diversified portfolios. In the space of 8 months, markets have not only recovered from pre-March 2020 levels: they have exceeded them. Whilst they are not quite where they were at the start of the year, they have still more than recouped the losses they incurred at the start of March. The events of 2020 may well have been unsettling for you and some of you might have found it difficult to follow our advice to do nothing, but we hope that this reassures you, if needed, that this was and remains the most appropriate course of action to take.

2020 – A Successful Year

For Robertson Baxter this year has been successful for many reasons. We have navigated a very challenging time in our history. We have retained all of our jobs; in fact, we have just created a new role for Charlotte, the newest member of our team. At no point have we lost a client or had a client wanting to disinvest out of fear or panic. We have taken on new clients and invested more money for existing and new clients. We have new processes and propositions now in place that add overall value to you, the service provided and quality of advice we deliver. Our team feels stronger than ever.

Of course, it’s been a bumpy ride at times, but as we leave 2020 and head into 2021, we have every reason to be optimistic. Vaccines for Covid-19 are being developed – both here in the UK and around the world – and are just about to be rolled out. This possibility seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. It’s too early to say when it will happen, but it looks like a return to some semblance of normality is on the horizon.

So, with this in mind we just wanted to say a huge thank you for your support and the trust you continue to place in us. We wish you all the very best as we head into the festive season and hope that you enjoy the Christmas period and the New Year.

Look after yourselves, stay safe and we look forward to continuing to work with you in 2021.

Dan Willers,
Paraplanning Team Leader
on behalf of the Robertson Baxter Team


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