Prophecies that robots would soon take over the world of financial advice have proven ill-founded. According to consumer site Boring Money, robot advisers accounted for less than 1 percent of the UK’s £192bn non-advised online investment market at the end of the third quarter of 2017.

What’s held back take-up? Well it seems that algorithms to deliver low-cost automated services to the masses aren’t quite enough. In matters of money management, people still want some level of human interaction which is leading to a new breed of “robos” who are morphing their business models to provide over-the-phone and face-to-face advisory services. Less DIY, more DIWM (Do it with me).

UK Economy in fair health

There is some good news among Brexit gloom (or at least fatigue) as latest data indicates the UK economy accelerated faster in the fourth quarter of 2017 than had been forecast. This is largely thanks to a motoring services sector that posted better-than-expected performance last month. The IHS Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) showed a reading of 54.2 in December, up from 53.8 in November, with economists pencilling in a figure of 54. A reading above 50 indicates growth

HMRC bans personal credit card payments

As HMRC will no-longer be able to pass on the cost of card handling fees, payment of tax bills by personal credit card will no-longer be permitted. The ban comes into force from 13th January, though debit cards and corporate credit cards are still allowed. This has caused some consternation among the 0.8% (454,000) of taxpayers, who prefer to spread their tax bill using a personal credit card, as HMRC only sent written warnings with tax bill reminders in December.

Investing in 2018: Europe and Emerging Markets

Most industry experts and commentators anticipate a year full of opportunity for investors even if sterling strength reduces Brits’ global returns a touch. Though fears simmer in relation to high price/earnings ratios, markets reaching new highs and minimalistic volatility most asset managers expect Europe to produce the highest returns this year.  Emerging markets (which delivered some of the highest returns in 2017) are also earmarked as a promising area as American markets have lost some of their appeal.

House price growth slow but not dead

UK house price growth increased 2.6% last year, confounding doom-mongers who prophesied a slump in the wake of Brexit. Yes growth has slowed, with the 1.9 percent drop in increase between 2016 – 2017 in part due to the rising pressure on household incomes… but growth is growth.  Of interest, the Times highlights that a notable exception is London where prices fell for the first time in eight years, according to Nationwide.

Financial Advice Bristol

If you would like to speak with one of our Independent Financial Advisors and potentially receive financial advice, please contact us on 0117 923 7652. We are based in CliftonBristol but we are happy to service clients from across the UK and we provide free initial meetings at our client’s convenience.

Churchill Wealth Management Limited is located at 13 Alma Vale Rd, Bristol BS8 2HL, United Kingdom.

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