An Independent Financial Adviser’s view on the world in times of Covid

My “ethical and responsible” financial adviser, Philip Hanley, posts a blog most Mondays which always causes me to smile and sometimes offers sound financial advice. Here’s a sample from this week. If it gets some attention, I may make it a regular feature.

Vaccines – Source: Philip Hanley

Advice doesn’t have to be dull!

I was told this week that I should keep my ‘lefty’ views out of these emails and stick to financial matters. Sorry, but dozens arrive my inbox each which do exactly that, most of which have been complianced to the point of extreme dullness. And there are far too many things about which someone ‘lefty’ (which I’d dispute) or otherwise should rant. Like idiots protesting against lockdown; and the cutting of the aid budget from 0.7p to 0.5p in the £. Which means the UK now donates a smaller percentage of turnover to the third world than we do. Who’d have thought?

“Big Pharma’s heroism deserves recognition”

Type ‘Big Pharma’ into Google and you’ll get pages of conspiracy theories. The big drug companies are plotting to take over the world, they’re in league with the Russians/Chinese/Aliens/Bill Gates, and they’re some of the many that Trump’s blaming for ‘the big election fraud’. I remember a debate at a fund manager meeting about whether, as they test in the 3rd world then won’t sell them lifesaving drugs, their shares should be included in ethical funds. Yet without them, we wouldn’t have those lifesaving drugs. Nor the vaccines that may allow us to go down the pub again. So, on balance, don’t they do more good than harm? Like Apple?

“Sunak’s Covid spending review ‘sobering’”

Why does anything described as ‘sobering’ make me immediately want to reach for a glass of wine? An alternative (positive?) view is that we’ll all be doing exactly that come next year. Instead of bringing further misery, could the next few years become this century’s Roaring 20s? The last were preceded by, yes, the war to end all wars, but also a global pandemic, the end of which the Charleston-ing flappers celebrated in style. My grandmother, who lived through the lot, did tell me that it was the Brideshead set who actually had all the fun and that there wasn’t much roaring or flappering in Vauxhall, where she lived at the time. I think, if it happens, we may find that not much has changed.

“No-deal Brexit could be worse than Covid”

Here are some more, yes, sobering comments from the Governor of the Bank of England. While Rishi & Co have been focusing our attention on the ‘devastating effect’ of the C-word on the economy, the B-word has conveniently become a background issue, It’s destined, however, to move to the foreground and sharply into focus in the New Year, when All This starts to be behind us. The ‘bounce back’ from that could take rather longer. Most fund managers long-ago reduced their UK investments accordingly. Of course, there may be A Deal. If there is, it’s unlikely to be as effective as the vaccine. I’d say.

“Government announces £1bn social care boost”

Boris promised last year to solve the social care crisis ‘once and for all’. Since then, one or two things have cropped up and, after all, every PM has said they’ll sort it out, none ever has and no-one remembers anyway. This ‘boost’ is a financial sticking plaster, and will have as long-lasting an effect as those baskets of harvest festival fruit we used to take to what we then, politically incorrectly, called the ‘Old People’s Home’.  What with All This (Covid) and All That (Brexit), I suspect, alas, that another election promise may eventually fall by the wayside.

“PI woes force 100-adviser strong network to fold”

Pass me my ‘been-in-this-business-a-long-time-and-seen-it-all-before-world-weary-and-cynical’ hat, please, Mrs. H. Every dozen years or so, both start-ups and big companies (usually with new CEOs) decide it’s a good idea to take on or buy loads of advisers, conquer the advice market and make big profits with supposed economies of scale. And every time the costs of controlling and insuring loads of advisers, most intent on doing their own thing, and of keeping the regulator at bay, get them in the end. And round we go again.

Food for thought on several topics.
We need humour even when talking finance.
The world owes a massive thankyou to Big Pharma.
We really are in for a deep 1920’s style recession.
– Brexit will make that even worse.
The government announces sticking plasters as if they were cure-alls.
– Good ideas in the financial advice business are rarely new.

Ed: Philip Hanley can be contacted at

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