Reflecting on 2016 as we look forward to 2017

It has been an excellent year for Carrick, not only because we won two International Adviser Best Practice awards – one for Excellence in Investment Planning and the other for Excellence in Business Transformation – but also because we have begun our expansion into Africa with the commitment to change the face of financial services on the African continent!

Our daughter company in Mauritius, Carrick Investment Services, has begun to provide superb international services and solutions for the transfer UK frozen pensions to foreign nationals around the world; our Zimbabwean hub in Harare has also had a year of success despite the drastic change in the countries monetary policies which again proves the importance of long-term financial planning despite economic environments. I am also of the opinion that our newly established hub in Gaborone is on the path to greatness.

We have plans to expand into Uganda and Kenya by mid-2017.

Carrick Onshore Division has been activated and is growing in each of our three national centres. Our company saw the need for a division that could provide solutions for clients’ onshore financial requirements, and so we appointed Paul de Waal to head up the division, using the expertise of Carrick’s Investment Committee in partnership with MitonOptimal, a fully licenced and regulated fund manager here in South Africa.

At the end of 2015, the Carrick Development Academy was launched. During 2016, the infrastructure, training methodology and systems were fine-tuned so that, come January 2017, 32 graduates will be admitted into the programme to receive on-the-job learning and industry training, as well as professional development skills.

After 18 months, graduates of the Academy will earn the opportunity of becoming fully fledged Carrick Associates to be deployed to key positions at a Carrick office in Africa.

 

The business climate end 2016 / early 2017

The business climate in which we will be operating come 2017 promises to be one requiring us to be deft, strategic and nimble, responding timeously to proposed changes in legislation and to be ever vigilant about the winds of change that could have an impact on the markets.

 

In the United Kingdom

For example, only two weeks ago, we heard in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement that

  • UK borrowing will be ₤122 bn bigger than feared;
  • growth is to fall to 1.4% in 2017;
  • the UK government is to abandon its 2020 surplus goal;
  • some UK banks are failing the Bank of England’s stress test.

The Telegraph recently reported (4 December) on an ‘Inheritance tax shocker: Some families will pay 80 pc’, and so, as I stated earlier, the lay of the land is always changing.

Two weeks, ago we heard that the 30-year-old bull market in bonds is likely to end with a bang with $1.7 trillion being lost during the month of November 2016.

On the other hand, Britain looks as though it will be the fastest-growing G7 economy, and that, despite the drop in the value of the pound immediately after the Brexit vote, the UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the three months directly afterwards, powered by the UK services sector.

Still on the subject of the British pound, I hear that Fortnum and Mason’s is doing roaring business this festive season with their Christmas hampers, driving the luxury retailer to record profit – still a good sign, wouldn’t you say?

However, next year is predicted to show a slump in the growth forecast, downgraded to 1.4 per cent from a high of 2.2 per cent at the start of the year – this according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

 

In South Africa and elsewhere in Africa

Back home, now that we have avoided a credit status downgrade, it will be vital that as a country we achieve more than 1 per cent growth in the coming year.

The fact of the matter is that in South Africa politics plays a heavy hand in the growth of the economy, especially given issues such as ‘state capture’ on the one hand, and barrier to entry faced by smaller firms who are blocked by big conglomerates on the other.

Closer to home, from moment to moment we do not know which court battle President Zuma will be instigating or facing.

Zuma’s key legal battles still to be faced include the 783 charges of corruption and racketeering; his connection with the Guptas; the fraud and corruption charges to be levelled against Transnet, and the challenge regarding the withdrawal from the ICC, to name but a few.

And for those who have business or personal interests in the USA, president-elect Trump promises to be unpredictable.

He certainly will have little time for African concerns but his personal example will, no doubt, inspire current and potential African demagogues to flout the rule of law and to indulge in crony capitalism.

Most worrying at this time, is Trump’s astonishing denialism of climate change, and policy change is certainly going to affect Africa’s precious resources. This will, no doubt, bring further conflict to Africa.

It remains important for those with investments outside these shores to remain in contact with your financial adviser.

 

Chris Bertish and the SUP Crossing on the go now!

Early in 2016, Carrick became the official title sponsor of The SUP Crossing, particularly the hi-tech craft (named ‘Impifish’) on which Chris is currently standing up and paddling from Agadir in Morocco to the coast of Florida – a solo, high-risk journey over four months, all in aid of raising funds for non-profit organisations that benefit vulnerable and at-risk children.

Track Chris’s progress on his Captain’s Log, or follow him on his Facebook page and, please, we request as his official sponsor that you make a donation via Signature of Hope Trust to show your support of his extraordinary and supremely brave effort to raise funds for children’s causes – especially during the Season of Giving.

It really is really easy to donate using Snapscan, Paypal, PayFast and/or EFT.

Lastly, kindly allow me to thank you for accepting Carrick as your financial partner and confidant.  We value our important clientele enormously and work hard in order to constantly better our investment experience.

With my best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season

Craig Featherby

Group Chief Executive Officer

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