Towards the end a tough year for Courtiers investors, a slight recovery in markets since the last CIO Talk has been, simply put, quite nice.
While investments in a bank or building society might have made reasonable returns throughout 2023, it’s beginning to change. Courtiers invested at rock bottom prices this year in value stocks which are just waiting to be recognised and re-rated by the markets.
“We know we’re sitting on great value in the portfolios, really good stocks, strong balance sheets, cash generative.”
Gary Reynolds, Courtiers CIO
One of the big changes affecting markets was the drop in inflation. The bar set by the government in January to halve it by the end of this year was a pretty low one and Gary saw it happening. He clocked when inflation hit its peak and subsequently UK inflation dropped from 6.7% in September 2023 to sit around the 4.5% mark while in the US it’s been even more dramatic, down from just over 9% to just over 3%.
“This is really, really good news. And that I think it’s setting the tone for what’s coming for the next decade. I think you’re going to see a bit of a purple patch in the world economy and that’s very exciting.”
Reflecting back to 1929 with the financial crisis of the time, the Wall Street crash, the depression in the US and the kinds of policies implemented in response – which as Gary explains in his interview didn’t work – seeing this among more recent examples he views the modern landscape as one where lessons have been learned. No more doubling down on bond buying like the government did in the pandemic. No more ramping up quantitative easing because inflation only follows.
Despite a difficult year, looking at the past ten years, Courtiers’ performance shines through and if things carry on as they have been lately, the next ten years will be another decade to look forward to.
Gary will hopefully give us another update before 2024 to express how he feels a few weeks after this interview.
Evolution at Courtiers
This month Courtiers acquired Norwich based Brunswick Investment Management, expanding Courtiers across five regions in the UK. It’s the third acquisition so far this decade and the 15th since 2008.
“…as Jamie mentioned, you know, a lot of companies out there that are backed by private equity, and they’re hungry, and they go around, scooping up every little business that comes up. And it’s no secret that financial services is going through a consolidation period, that there’s probably too many firms in the financial sector, and you need scales of economies and to make things worthwhile but what we are, is a family business and we’re going to continue to be a family business. And that means we’re slightly different as an acquirer to some of the other big names.”
This latest acquisition highlights how Courtiers is wholly intent on maintaining a robust presence – made to grow and built to last – while increasing accessibility to the same personal, family driven and family focused essence that opened the doors in 1982 and to which many have entrusted their wealth for over 35 years. Of course, greater accessibility requires greater resource and the expansion of Courtiers’ national footprint along with the Courtiers Education Academy offers more opportunities for aspiring individuals to align with a shared vision that focuses long into the future.