The last two years, with the fall-out the COVID pandemic, has been challenging for investors. Looking ahead into 2024 and beyond, we at Imperial Chartered are now hoping for more positive returns to finally come back for long term investors.

Collectively across the market, Passive, Active, Discretionary fund Managers & Smoothed funds Managers, are reporting that long term growth rates are back to levels seen pre-COVID.  Clearly there are no guarantees and whilst there are still some uncertainties around UK & US elections this year plus the conflicts currently being seen In Ukraine & the Middle East, optimism is still there.

Our internal Investment team remain committed to monitor all changes, both positive & negative to ensure you achieve real returns over the long term.  They will continue to engage with all the fund managers across the market place so we are best placed to provide a very independent balanced view.

This Newsletter provides detail on why we believe we should be more optimistic looking forward in 2024 and beyond.

Last Year

2023 has been a year in which investment markets have encountered cross winds. On the positive side, equity markets have benefited from a new age in technology, driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI). At the same time, geopolitical risks have heightened with Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine alongside the conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas. Furthermore, China-US relations remain fraught, despite recent efforts to improve them.

How did we get here?

After a tough 2022, when both equities and bonds posted negative returns, 2023 has seen a recovery, at least in equity markets.  Government bonds are still in negative territory, despite the fall in yields (and corresponding rise in prices) seen since the peak of mid-October. The MSCI All Country World Index is up 10.4% in total return, sterling terms.  However, the same index adjusted on an equal-weight basis (where each stock having an equivalent weight in the index, removing the dominance of so-called ‘mega-cap’ stocks), is down -1.4%. This difference highlights the impressive performance of a small number of technology-related names which are perceived to be beneficiaries of AI – What the markets have started calling the ‘Magnificent Severn’. 

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