Royal London Asset Management

14 February 2024
JP's Journal: 1-0 to Nationwide
JP's Journal: 1-0 to Nationwide

My city career has solely been at Royal London Asset Management but over those 39 years I have seen considerable evolution and development.

6 February 2024
JP's Journal: Powell's message: The job's not quite done
JP's Journal: Powell's message: The job's not quite done

Last week, a headline mentioned the increase in use of lunchboxes, with 86 million more taken to work and school than the year before. This was attributed to the cost of living crisis but I think health factors are also contributing.

9 January 2024
JP's Journal: Predictions and worries
JP's Journal: Predictions and worries

Markets are feeling more normal, after the holiday lull. The major economic focus was last Friday’s jobs data, where the headline showed an above consensus gain in non-farm payrolls and stronger than expected average hourly earnings.

2 January 2024
JP's Journal: The supply conundrum
JP's Journal: The supply conundrum

Bond markets paused for breath in the shortened week. US 10-year yields stayed steady at 3.9% while UK rates nudged higher to end the year just above 3.5% and German 10-year yields closed above 2% after a brief flirtation below. Credit spreads were broadly unchanged – ending 2023 towards their 12-month lows.

28 December 2023
JP's Journal: Happy New Year
JP's Journal: Happy New Year

There is not a lot to report from the pre-Christmas week. GDP in the UK for Q3 was revised to -0.1% whilst Q2 is now estimated to have been flat. As a result, output is now thought to be 1.4% above its pre-pandemic level in Q4 2019, compared to 1.8% previously.

11 December 2023
JP's Journal: Insights on next year
JP's Journal: Insights on next year

Last week was active despite the pre-Christmas feel to markets. Government bond markets showed big daily gyrations whilst credit spreads continued to grind tighter. But it was also busy on the communications front – with Ewan McAlpine leading the monthly fixed income Five Point Podcast and Asset TV hosting our Investment Outlook for 2024, which went out last Thursday.

5 December 2023
JP's Journal - November fireworks
JP's Journal - November fireworks

November was a strong month for fixed income despite weakness in the last few days. US treasuries led the way, with 10-year yields falling 60bps, ending the month at 4.3%.

28 November 2023
JP's Journal: The Chancellor's rabbit
JP's Journal: The Chancellor's rabbit

Jeremy Hunt pulled a rabbit out of a hat last week. Despite saying, just a few months ago, that tax cuts were off the agenda, he managed to find fiscal room for two significant moves.

17 November 2023
Save the census
Save the census

Richard Platt was born around 1670 in Warrington. He was my great (a few times) grandfather. Through looking at county records I have found out that he was a spade maker.

15 November 2023
SustainAbility: Recession, results season and the next big thing
SustainAbility: Recession, results season and the next big thing

Recession is an emotive word in the investment industry. Like the bogeyman, an imaginary monster used to frighten children, the word ‘recession’ is used to frighten investors.

15 November 2023
Mike Fox - The first 20 years
Mike Fox - The first 20 years

Time goes both slowly and quickly. Some days can seem to take an age to pass by, but the years fly by. 

30 October 2023
Eschewing the facial serum
Eschewing the facial serum

I have missed out on the male grooming boom. For me, a quick trip to my local barber, now and again, suffices. It would appear, however, that men are becoming more conscious of their appearance, with spending on male beauty products up over 70% in a year. Nail care is through the roof with expenditure more than doubling; facial serum (no idea) is up 50%, fake tan by 40% and skincare by 20%.

24 October 2023
Gilts and kilts
Gilts and kilts

Events in Israel and Gaza continued to dominated news flow last week. We live in an information age where horrors are immediately transmitted around the world. But at the same time the manipulation of what we see becomes more sophisticated – so we become unsure of reality.

16 October 2023
A changing political landscape
A changing political landscape

The UK political scene is changing. At a simple level this is shown in opinion polls which indicate a large lead for the Labour Party. It could also be seen in the confidence of electoral success evident at the conferences of the two leading parties.

10 October 2023
The risk-free rate
The risk-free rate

The distressing events in Israel over the weekend will unsettle markets, with implications for the oil price, US treasury yields and currencies.

4 October 2023
SustainAbility - Macro versus micro
SustainAbility - Macro versus micro

As we head into the final quarter of 2023, macro headlines have begun to dominate the market narrative again. Oil prices have risen more than 30% since June and bond yields have risen. This is reigniting the concerns which dominated 2022, of higher energy prices and interest rates impacting economic activity and creating higher inflation.

2 October 2023
Higher and steeper
Higher and steeper

Bond markets stole the headlines last week. A year on from the Liability-Driven Investment crisis, 30-year UK yields are back to where they were in early October 2022, nudging 5%.

25 September 2023
Let's hear it for TIPS
Let's hear it for TIPS

Last week saw a flurry of announcements with relevance to fixed income markets. On Wednesday, UK inflation data surprised on the downside – breaking a disappointing recent sequence.

13 September 2023
What if base rates hit 8%?
What if base rates hit 8%?

Historians generally disparage ‘what if’ narratives – but it makes fun reading and, more importantly, challenges accepted wisdom.

5 September 2023
A tale of two mountains
A tale of two mountains

Several of my journal updates in recent months have referenced the slow recovery of the UK economy, pointing out that real output was hovering around the 2019 level. This has now proved to be inaccurate.