BlackRock launches two new Asia-Pacific ETFs

On February 27, 2012, in Uncategorized, by simondixon

BlackRock launches two new Asia-Pacific ETFs

Two new exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been launched by BlackRock, as the asset management firm looks for development opportunities in Asia-Pacific.

The iShares Emerging Markets Dividend Index Fund and the iShares Asia/Pacific Dividend 30 Index Fund will target investments in both the emerging and developed markets of the region.

Asia-Pacific is expected to take the lead in the investment market this year, as eurozone uncertainty continues to restrict growth in Europe.

Darek Wojnar, head of iShares product development and management at BlackRock, said that traditional sources of income in the investment sector are achieving low yields in the current climate.

"Income-seeking investors can use our dividend-paying funds to efficiently take advantage of potential economic growth in these regions, and possibly reduce portfolio volatility compared with growth-oriented stocks," he said.

BlackRock's iShares platform enjoyed a strong 2011, managing to increase the value of its assets under management by a third.


Look beyond the fees when taking a SIPP

On February 23, 2012, in Uncategorized, by simondixon

Look beyond the fees when taking a SIPP

Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) have become a very popular way to save for retirement, but Defaqto is urging people to do their homework and learn how their investments will work for them.

A study by the independent financial research firm shows that while traditional investment types, such as open-ended investment companies, unit trusts and UK stocks and shares are permitted by almost all SIPP products, alternative methods are less commonly allowed.

Take commercial property, for instance. Only 61 per cent of the SIPP products analysed by Defaqto allow this type of investment, which falls to 57 per cent for multi-member commercial property investment.

As for third party lending, only 51 per cent of the SIPP products looked at permit this.

Andy Leggett, Defaqto's insight analyst for wealth management, says for this reason it is vital to look beyond the fees.

"This underlines the importance of investors focusing on and understanding features when selecting a SIPP, to ensure they will be able to achieve the investment mix and flexibility they require through the product they choose," he said.


Confidence rises among investment advisers

On February 21, 2012, in Uncategorized, by simondixon

Confidence rises among investment advisers

Investor confidence has taken a swing upwards, according to the latest research from fund manager Skandia.

The group's Adviser Confidence Barometer for the first quarter of 2012 showed a 13 per cent increase in the confidence score, when compared to the last quarter of 2011.

That is not to say investment advisers do not have worries, however. Concerns regarding unemployment have almost doubled and fears about government spending cuts and their economic impact have also risen.

Back on a positive note, the number of people expecting inflation to go down has steadily risen for some time now, and this is starting to be borne out by the figures.

Peter Mann, chief executive of Skandia UK, said the confidence rise is "great news" and could be the first of the "green shoots of renewed optimism".

"Market volatility and uncertainty can often bring opportunities, and advisers should focus on ways to position themselves and their clients for any potential market bounce back," he said.


Uncertainty to continue as Greek default looms

On February 17, 2012, in Uncategorized, by simondixon

Uncertainty to continue as Greek default looms

Investors will have to continue "muddling through", as one expert suggests the eurozone worries look set to continue.

Tom Higgins, global macroeconomic strategist at Standish, claims that the current proposals for the Greek bailout do not go far enough, and a default looks "inevitable".

However, with discussions ongoing and a plan yet to be finalised there is no indication of when this default may come. It is this type of uncertainty that has held back the financial markets in recent months and will continue to "cast a shadow" over the eurozone.

A Greek default would of course have a knock-on effect throughout the eurozone, particularly in Portugal, as well as in any country that is heavily exposed to it, such as Britain.

"However, the recent strong performance of Italian and Spanish government bonds suggests investors are beginning to differentiate between the solvency risk in Greece and the liquidity problems of Italy and Spain," Mr Higgins added.


Moody’s issues warning about UK credit rating

On February 15, 2012, in Uncategorized, by simondixon

Moody's issues warning about UK credit rating

The UK stands a 30 per cent chance of losing its AAA credit rating in the next 18 months, as Moody's has placed the UK economy on a negative outlook.

It came to the decision after reasoning that Britain's economic prospects are closely linked to the eurozone countries, and the prospect of further problems on the continent will impact on the UK growth outlook.

Moody's also warned the UK government's fiscal policy could restrict short-term growth.

"In our view, the change in outlook from Moody's for the UK should be taken as a warning that any slippage in the government's fiscal programme must be made up for with additional fiscal tightening," commented Azad Zangana, European economist at Schroders.

He went on to add that the government must take urgent action on structural reform to encourage growth and protect the credit rating.

Alan Wilde of Barings believes the UK government now faces the "uncomfortable choice" between its existing plan and the risk of a credit downgrade, or a change of approach that will risk the "wrath of bond vigilantes".


Equities respond well to US and China market data

On February 13, 2012, in Uncategorized, by simondixon

Equities respond well to US and China market data

The equity investment sector is seeing confidence return, based on the latest data coming out of the US and China.

According to Rob Birchman, divisional director at Brewin Dolphin, economic indicators from these two countries have been better than expected.

The US, while not functioning at the level it would normally expect to, is showing signs of growth and recovery, Mr Birchman explains.

Meanwhile, many experts had expected a hard landing for the Chinese economy, but these fears are subsiding.

The equities markets have responded, with some sure signs of increased activity in these countries.

Although Europe remains a concern, confidence is higher than it was towards the end of 2011, when it was felt that the major issues were not being dealt with.

However, Mr Birchman went on to warn: "The thing with Europe to understand is, despite our desire otherwise, there is no silver bullet."