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Our Weekly Newsletter

Our Weekly Newsletter

Across Instinctif Partners’ Financial Services team, we are always keeping an eye on the key developments taking place across the sector to evaluate their impact on the many businesses we work with. Here we share our picks of the week’s most interesting news, and our expert views.

Number of female FTSE board members increases 50%

The number of women on FTSE boards has risen by 50% over the last five years. The elevated levels of female board members compared to 2015 has been partly driven by efforts from the Government-backed Hampton Alexander review. This initiative was instructed to increase the proportion of female board representation among UK blue chips to at least a third by 2020. 682 women were on FTSE boards in October 2015, compared to 1,026 in January this year. (Sky News, 24 February 2021)

ISA rates reach record lows

Rates on cash ISAs have plummeted to record lows, while the volume of products has dropped 20% in just a year. The lack of returns on ISA products can be partly attributed to the Bank of England plunging the base rate to 0.1% in an effort to help the UK economy weather the damage inflicted on it by the pandemic. Low yields and a lack of product choice is likely to increase the proportion of retail investors in equity markets as savers look for alternatives to lock in higher returns. (From The Times 20 February 2021)

Rishi Sunak freezes fuel duty over reliance on cars in pandemic

Rishi Sunak has ruled out a rise in fuel duty after concluding that reliance on cars as a transport safety measure during the pandemic is still too great, according to Treasury sources. It is understood that the Chancellor considered an increase before his previous budget last March in keeping with the UK government’s green agenda. The decision not to increase fuel duty means it has been frozen for 10 years at 58p a litre and is estimated to have cost the Treasury more than £50bn in lost revenue. (From The Guardian, 24 February 2021)

Amsterdam takes on London in post-Brexit battle

With EU-based financial institutions banned from trading European stock in London due to Brexit, Amsterdam overtook London as Europe’s top trading hub last month, according to CBOE Europe figures. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency has also announced that 218 “Brexit” companies have moved over since the 2016 referendum, including 45 financial businesses representing about 1,000 jobs. However, economists and traders do not believe Amsterdam is about to push London off centre stage, highlighting that last year Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever opted to consolidate its structure in the UK, rather than the Netherlands. (From The Telegraph, 24 February 2021)

Ranks of “dog” funds swell by 33%

The twice-yearly “Spot the Dog” list – identifying the worst-performing investment funds and compiled by wealth manager Tilney Bestinvest – reported a 33% increase in the number of “dog” funds since last year with £43.9bn under management. Funds become “dogs” when they have underperformed Tilney’s benchmark indices by at least 5% over the past three years, and these types of funds currently represent 13% of the 915 funds Tilney has tracked. More than £49.6bn in assets managed by 119 UK funds have consistently underperformed, highlighting the difficulty faced by value-style fund managers during the pandemic as growth stocks continue to trade at record multiples. (From Financial Times, 19 February 2021)

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