Lloyds Private Banking: Don’t underestimate sterling weakness

Added 6th October 2016

Wealth managers and their clients must be careful not to underestimate sterling weakness, particularly amid UK equity market highs, according to its new head of portfolio specialists.

Lloyds Private Banking: Don’t underestimate sterling weakness

It was announced this week that Jon Wingent had joined Lloyds’ Wealth Investment Office, reporting to chief investment officer Markus Stadlmann.

While he said Brexit-related issues remain the primary concern for clients, part of this is not being complacent around currencies, particularly sterling.

“It reduces the purchasing power of a sterling-based investor, however, these challenges can be met thorough disciplined investment management,” he said.

“Most of the current uncertainty we detect in financial markets comes from differing opinions about the EU referendum and it has been one of the factors Lloyds had already taken into consideration as part of the process of setting the long-term investment strategy earlier this year.”

He said clients whose portfolios have been diversified away from sterling-based assets into dollar holdings have best-weathered recent volatility.

With clients searching farther and wider for income as rates remain paltry, he said: “Even returns in global equities have increasingly been driven by valuation changes in the shorter term, with less contribution from dividend growth. Management of income and where to source it needs remain key.

“In terms of markets, more clients are diversifying - as we would recommend - away from UK markets, and portfolios that have withstood significant currency swings have been those that have been diversified such as holding dollar investment assets against a sterling-based portfolio.”

He added: “While a deadline has been set for triggering Article 50, that does not diminish the fact that the EU itself has other challenges and concerns other than negotiating Britain’s exit and future relationship. France and Germany both have elections due in 2017 which would be during that two-year negotiation period.”

Lloyds established its team of client-facing portfolio specialists last year to provide expert investment support and technical knowledge to its UK-based private banking units.

Prior to Close Brother, Wingent held senior positions at EFG Private Bank, Merrill Lynch and Barclays Wealth, all supporting clients in the high-net-worth space, both on and offshore.

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