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Source: Just Service Global Investment Committee


Global Investment Outlook:


The global investment landscape for the next 6 to 12 months is expected to be characterized by a combination of moderate growth, persistent inflation, and central bank tightening. While economic growth is projected to slow from the rapid pace of 2022, it is still expected to remain positive in most major economies. Inflation is likely to remain elevated, driven by supply chain disruptions, energy prices, and strong consumer demand. Central banks are expected to continue raising interest rates to combat inflation, which could put some pressure on equity markets.


Impact of Geopolitical Conflicts:


The ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, specifically the ongoing tensions between Hamas and Israel, are having a significant impact on global markets. These conflicts are contributing to uncertainty and volatility, affecting various economic sectors and asset classes.


Energy Markets: The Ukraine war has disrupted energy supplies, leading to a surge in oil and gas prices. This has a direct impact on transportation costs, manufacturing costs, and consumer energy bills. The potential for further disruptions or sanctions on Russian energy exports could keep energy prices elevated, adding to inflationary pressures.


Commodity Markets: The conflicts have also affected other commodities, such as wheat, corn, and metals. Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat, and the war has disrupted planting and harvesting, leading to supply shortages and price increases. This could exacerbate food insecurity in some regions.


Equity Markets: The overall uncertainty and risk aversion caused by the conflicts have led to increased volatility in equity markets. Investors are reassessing their risk appetite and may shift their portfolios towards safer assets. This could affect the valuations of companies and overall market sentiment.


Regional Impacts: The conflicts have a more direct impact on the economies of the regions involved. Ukraine's economy is severely affected by the war, while Russia is facing sanctions and economic isolation. The Middle East conflict could affect economic activity and tourism in the region.


Geopolitical Risks: The escalation of these conflicts could lead to broader geopolitical tensions and instability, further affecting investor confidence and global economic cooperation. The potential for wider military involvement or the use of unconventional weapons could have severe consequences for global markets.


Global Outlook by Asset Class:


Equities:


Developed markets equities are expected to remain attractive due to the ongoing economic recovery, strong corporate earnings, and relatively attractive valuations. However, investors should be mindful of the potential impact of rising interest rates and geopolitical tensions on equity valuations.


Geographic Preferences:


Asia ex Japan offers diversification and growth potential, driven by strong economic fundamentals, rising middle-class consumption, and increasing digitalization. This region is particularly appealing due to its resilience during recent global economic challenges.


Europe is poised for a post-pandemic rebound, supported by fiscal stimulus measures, a favorable currency environment, and the potential resolution of geopolitical tensions.


Thematic Investments:


Sustainability and ESG aligned funds are gaining traction as investors prioritize responsible investing and environmental consciousness.


Technology and innovation funds continue to offer growth opportunities as technological advancements transform industries and most especially AI


Healthcare innovation (via technology) remains a key focus, driven by aging populations, increasing healthcare spending, and advancements in medical technology.


Alternatives:


Private equity continues to attract investors seeking diversification and potential for higher returns.


Hedge funds offer diversification and potential for uncorrelated returns amid a complex geopolitical and economic landscape.


As always talk to your adviser within the Just Service Network if you would like information or otherwise review your personal financial planning.


For all enquiries email info@justserviceglobal.com


Regards

The Just Service Client Service Team

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Source: International Adviser June 2023


In 1988, the Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson aligned capital gains tax (CGT) rates with those of income tax, and in turn gave the UK one of the highest rates of CGT in the world (40%). These rates remained for 20 years until Labour chancellor Alistair Darling moved to a flat rate of 18% for all.


Now, as then, ISAs could be used to shelter some spare cash, but what if the sum exceeds the £20,000 ($,€) per person, per year ISA limit? An option could be something else that was popular back then – offshore investment bonds.


An offshore investment bond is an insurance policy provided by a non-UK insurance company commonly based in an international jurisdiction such as Ireland, Luxembourg or the Isle of Man. The rules for offshore bonds are such that they are treated as single premium life insurance policies, as they pay a small element of life insurance upon death, but they are really a tax wrapper-investment product.


A single or more regular lump sum investment (deemed a ‘premium’) in most cases will be used to acquire a discretionary investment fund portfolio for the medium to long term, much as a client would if they directly handed their capital over to a discretionary investment manager.


But the life policy provides unique tax efficiencies. No tax is payable on any investment growth unless a withdrawal, or ‘chargeable event’ occurs. If the client had no need to access the funds for a number of years, then gross roll-up of income and gains can considerably benefit the ongoing value of the investment.


This means they can time the tax liability to when it best suits them, which might be when they are a lower rate taxpayer, or when they are living somewhere more tax efficient. This is also the opposite of a personally held investment portfolio, where tax would be due on interest, dividends and gains that accrue annually.


In most cases, a policy will be divided into 1,000 segments. They can choose to wind up whole policy segments or withdraw a percentage of each segment across the board. The best option might depend upon the sum required, whether this exceeds 5% of the cost of each segment, and the availability of any 20% tax band.


The former basis means tax is due on the profit over and above the capital invested in each policy segment. So, if they invested £100 in a policy with 10 segments, which in year two is worth £110, it has roughly gone up in value by 10%. If they withdraw £11 in year two, they will be taxed on £1 of gain, as it represents the 10% profit in one segment (and not the £10 of profit if they took £11 from a directly held portfolio).


The tax can be reduced even further if the policy has been in existence for more than one year. This is called ‘top slicing relief’ where the gain on the withdrawal is divided across the years, with one year’s worth added to the income of the year of withdrawal. The tax on this sum is calculated, and then multiplied back up by the number of years to get the actual tax due.


It might sound like you should end up with the same amount as if you simply taxed the whole profit, but not if the year of withdrawal happens to be one where you have some or all your 20% rate band to spare, which might be the case if you are in retirement.


Retiring abroad


Let’s now include the added complication of retiring abroad – how does this affect how the offshore bond is taxed? Luckily enough, most EU states where UK nationals like to retire have their own offshore bond legislation, and again there are various tax efficiencies to benefit from.


Though it depends on the country, the basic tax deferral position continues to apply, with gross roll-up and the possibility of timing when it is best for the client to take a tax liability. While policy segmentation is irrelevant abroad and there is no top slicing, the fundamentals of only taxing the profit percentage within a withdrawal remains.


In addition, in Portugal the gain is reduced by 20% after the policy has been in existence for five years and then by 60% after eight years. There is also a choice as to whether to pay tax at a flat 28% or through the scale rates in Portugal.


In Cyprus, there is no tax payable on offshore bond withdrawals, and similarly in Malta, a UK national would not normally suffer any tax on a withdrawal from an offshore bond.


Both France and Spain only tax the increase in value contained within the sum withdrawn, while France includes significant succession tax benefits and the policy is French wealth-tax-free. In Spain, the bond could fall outside of Spanish succession taxes if the beneficiary is not Spanish resident.


If we take our example even further and assume at some point they decide to return to live in the UK, this can be hugely beneficial when they make a subsequent withdrawal or wind up the policy. Any gain is averaged across the whole period of ownership, and the years of residence overseas are deemed exempt, with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) only taxing the years when they lived in the UK.


The financial and tax planning issues are very different for non-resident Brits, referred to as part of the "off-shore" market, as compared with UK residents. It is critical to always receive advice from licensed offshore advisers.


Whenever you have any questions, we urge you to talk to your adviser within the Just Service Global Network.


For all enquiries email info@justserviceglobal.com


Regards

The Just Service Client Service Team

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  • Writer's pictureJust Service Global

How the investment committee of Just Service Global see the next 12 months


Positive themes: Technology (selective), Healthcare, Asean, Fixed Interest,

Negative themes: China, EM, Commodities

Neutral: US economy

Heads or tails: Cryptocurrency


US economy: Neutral

The US economy is expected to stagnate in 2023, with real GDP growth slowing to 0.7% and then further falling to 0.4% in 2024. Interest rates are projected to remain high, and inflation rates are expected to stay above the Federal Reserve's long-term goal through 2024. The unemployment rate is predicted to increase to 5.1% by the end of this year before gradually declining to 4.5% by 2027. The housing sector is likely to remain under significant pressure, with sales plunging by 30% over the past year.


Technology: Positive

The technology industry is expected to continue its growth trajectory in 2023. Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G are expected to fuel the growth. The demand for cloud computing, cybersecurity, and digital transformation services is also projected to increase. However, the industry may face some challenges, such as a shortage of skilled workers and supply chain disruptions. The increasing focus on data privacy and security may also result in stricter regulations for tech companies. Overall, the market outlook for the technology industry in 2023 is positive, with the potential for continued innovation and growth.


The field of AI is making significant strides that will revolutionize our world as we know it. We can expect massive advancements in the next 2 to 5 years. One example of this is Google's Bard, which enables users to inquire about any history and list all communications. This technology is mind-boggling. However, it's worth noting that some of the major players in the market, such as FAANG or NASDAQ, are currently overpriced.


Healthcare: Positive

The trend for AI in the medical and healthcare sectors is expected to boost the growth of the digital transformation market, which is projected to rise from USD 2.27 trillion in 2023 to USD 8.92 trillion by 2030. The healthcare industry may also benefit from the integration of IoT sensors and the adoption of cloud computing and AI technologies.


ASEAN: Positive

The ASEAN economies are expected to see moderate growth in 2023.

Singapore's economy is projected to grow by 2.2%. The growth is expected to be driven by the manufacturing (i.e. fertiliser industry) and finance sectors, with the government implementing measures to support these industries.

Cambodia's economy is forecast to grow by 6.5% in 2023, thanks to strong merchandise exports and foreign direct investment.


Laos's economy is also expected to grow at 3.9% in 2023, but the growth is subject to significant downside risks due to structural weaknesses, macroeconomic instability.

Indonesia's economy is projected to grow at around 5% in 2023, supported by strong investment and export growth. Infrastructure development and digital transformation are expected to drive productivity gains and create new business opportunities.


Malaysia's central bank maintains a growth forecast of between 4% and 5% for 2023, primarily driven by robust domestic demand and growth in the services and construction sectors. However, the country's GDP growth is expected to face headwinds from cooling global demand, supply chain bottlenecks.

The Philippines and Thailand are expected to experience economic growth in 2023. The manufacturing industry in Thailand has seen a strong upturn in output and new orders due to boosting domestic demands. In the Philippines, employment has rebounded and household spending is driving growth. The ASEAN region is expected to remain one of the fastest-growing regions of the world, with economic growth predicted to be 4.7%, slightly lower than 2022.


China: Negative

There are indicators suggesting China's economy is likely heading for a similar "lost decade" i.e. a slump, similar to what happened in Japan three decades ago. The concerns are largely due to the bursting of China's housing and credit market bubbles. We may be at the end of the period with China serving as the world's economy's main growth engine and the main driver of international commodity prices.


Home prices in China have fallen for 12 straight months and local governments are struggling to repay debts as land sales have reached a standstill.


The Chinese government's efforts to aid its own housing market and weak local governments mean there won't be much credit available for the healthier parts of the economy.



Commodities: Negative

It is expected that the global metals and mining industry will face challenges due to deteriorating global macroeconomic conditions, resulting in sliding commodity prices and weaker equity market support. The global oil demand is expected to grow with China's rebound driving nearly 60% of growth. However, oil prices are expected to average 8 percent lower in 2023, compared to 2022 due to a shift towards renewable sources.


Fixed Interest (as an Asset Class): Positive

Based on recent banking sector stress, it is expected that 2023 will be a pivotal year for raising allocations to core fixed income assets. Inflation is expected to cool down but still remain persistently higher than central bank targets of 2%. The cyclical acceleration in demographic and geopolitical trends, and rapid monetary tightening suggest a more challenging macroeconomic environment in 2023, leading to increased uncertainties in the market. However, higher starting rates have raised return expectations for U.S. and international bonds, making fixed income a promising asset class for investors.


Cryptocurrencies: Could go either way. Very difficult to predict

The future of cryptocurrency as an asset class in 2023 is uncertain. While some experts predict that Bitcoin's value will rise due to greater acceptance by businesses and higher demand from Bitcoin ETFs, others believe that prices could fall further due to quantitative tapering by the Fed. Decentralized finance and decentralized autonomous organizations are expected to be the highest growth areas of crypto, whereas regulators are expected to clarify the legal gray zone of cryptocurrencies and hold a particular interest in stablecoins.


As always talk to your adviser within the Just Service Network if you would like information or otherwise review your personal financing planning.


For all enquiries email info@justserviceglobal.com


Regards

The Just Service Client Service Team

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