A brilliant tournament. A truly fantastic final taken all the way to extra time. And, after a day of incredible tension, the result we all wanted. Can it really be two years to the day since the Cricket World Cup final? Good times never seemed so good.

Anyway, a lot has happened since the summer of 2019. You might have noticed there has been this thing called Covid dominating our lives for well over a year now. No one needs telling just how hard this period has been for pretty much everyone, and many families have felt the brunt in the most tragic way imaginable. However, as time moves on, it’s increasingly clear that for some, in purely financial terms, it’s been a pretty decent time.

Last week saw the release of the latest Household Savings Ratio figures, showing household savings as a proportion of household disposable income. Moving our way through the pandemic the ratio increased from 8.9% in January-March 2020 to 25.9% in April-July 2020, a record high since the series began in 1987. This decreased to 14.3% in July-September 2020 as the economy opened up, increasing again in October-December 2020 to 16.1%, and then again in January-March 2021 to the current figure of 19.9%. All these figures are way above anything else we’ve seen this century. Right now, people are saving more than ever.

This trend is explored in more detail with the “(Wealth) Gap Year” research, released on Monday by the Resolution Foundation. The report finds that the Covid-19 pandemic is the first UK recession in at least 70 years in which wealth has increased. However, these gains have been uneven with families at the bottom of the income distribution much more likely to have drawn down savings or increased debt than those at the top of the distribution. All this means that the pre-pandemic trends of growing aggregate wealth and increasing wealth gaps between households has continued during the crisis.

Asset price appreciation was the primary driver of this rise in total wealth, however without stating the bleeding obvious, this means you need to actually own assets to benefit. The richest households have become richer, and the poorer, poorer.

As we start to plot our “cautious but irreversible” next steps, the big question is whether this trend will continue. The RF research indicates that not many families are planning on spending their pandemic savings, and also plan to continue to save. Closer to home, regular TCWU readers will recall Q1 was a particularly bumper quarter for most advised platforms. Q2 figures are starting to come through as we speak, and we’ll let you know the score in a few weeks’ time.

Tomorrow (Thursday), Nikhil Rathi will unveil his first Business Plan as the FCA’s Chief Executive. This will also include a wider view on the FCA’s role out in a post-Covid, post-Brexit and increasingly post-carbon economy. It will be interesting to see how this will impact the advice and platform sectors, but perhaps more importantly, the FCA need to work alongside other policymakers to start to address this increasingly large wealth gap.

HERE COME THE LINKS

  • Overnight news via ASX of the proposed divestment of Praemium’s international business. This comes off the back of a strategic review, and also another quarter of record growth. Praemium are a constant presence towards the very top of our adviser service ratings, so I’m sure there will be a lot of interest from potential buyers.
  • Speaking of service ratings, our latest Adviser Platform Ratings survey is now open here . If you work in an adviser or paraplanning firm, we would really appreciate you taking five minutes to tell us what you think. It’s a nice chance to show what it is you value about the platform(s) you use, and as always respondents who leave their email address will receive a copy of the results.  Providers – we’d love you to encourage your users to rate you.
  • Not one, but two guests on today’s HomeGames. Sam Handfield-Jones and Dan Marsh, both of Seccl and co-CEO and head of customer respectively will be chatting with the boss about platforms, adviser tech and APIs. Join us as per usual here at 12.30pm, or catch up later on our YouTube channel.
  • Interesting long (ish) read in the Grauniad from this weekend gone, looking at how tik-tok is helping young folk manage their cash. Spoiler alert…they actually got a youngster to write the thing, instead of the usual paternalistic finger wagging….
  • Over in the trades, great interview from Katey Pigden, chatting with Royal London’s Barry O’Dwyer. If nothing else it’s worth reading to find out how old Katey is…
  • Finally, your musical link. The internet tells me that Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, Belly, The Breeders) is 55 today. It also tells me that the debut Breeders album, Pod (which rocks throughout) was recorded in 1990 just up the road from lang cat HQ in Edinburgh’s Palladium Studio, and that the album cover art portrays a man performing a fertility dance while wearing a belt of eels. And on that bombshell….

 

See you next time

Mike