Ceri Jones

How to use Aim shares to guard against inheritance tax risk

Inheritance tax (IHT), which is levied at 40% on assets over and above the first £325,000 in an estate, is well worth avoiding.

One avoidance strategy is to invest in shares traded on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim), as the value of qualifying Aim shares can be passed on free of IHT once you have held them for two years.

Commodities: will it be a strong 2019?

Commodity prices across the spectrum are down at least 20% from their 52-week highs, but could rebound sharply in 2019, if concern over slowing economic growth and the trade war between the US and China lifts.

Where are the opportunities at the end of the investment cycle?

In recent years, the performance of growth stocks such as technology, consumer discretionary, materials and industrials has eclipsed the rest of the equity market. In fact, growth sectors have outperformed their defensive counterparts, including consumer staples, telecoms, healthcare and utilities, by 40% since the start of the bull run in 2009.

Tactical Asset Allocator: geopolitical strains can lead to big gains for investors

It would be easy to imagine that the US/China trade war and the US Federal Reserve’s resolve to tighten monetary policy, which have been the two big fears hanging over the US stock market throughout 2018, are reaching some sort of stasis. The market certainly rejoiced when Fed chairman Jay Powell made the dovish comment that interest rates are “just below” the range of rates considered neutral. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index shot up by 600 points in one session, its best single-day gain since March.

Emerging market bond funds: are higher yields worth the extra risk?

The Investment Association’s global emerging market bond fund sector – which was split off as a separate category in 2015 for funds investing at least 80 per cent in emerging market bonds – has become a very mixed bag of funds specialising variously in hard currency, local currency and corporate bonds.

Tactical Asset Allocator: a contrarian bull in the China shop

The big news this month has been the climb in US 10-year Treasury bond yields to 3.2%, their highest level since July 2011. Bond yields had been rising gently (and their prices falling), reflecting confidence that the US economy was robust enough to weather trade wars and other setbacks. However, the rise has spooked markets, forcing a reassessment of risk-free assets compared with equities.

Annuities: is buying one a good or bad idea?

For most of us, the idea of a secure, regular income in retirement is a highly attractive one. However, buying an annuity, which is the only way to achieve a guaranteed income if you don’t have a final salary scheme, has had a bad press.