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October update: news, opinion and comment for your financial wellbeing 

🏆 We're an award-winning firm 🏆

We're delighted to report that Oak Four has achieved the David Norton Building Excellence Award from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

The award was presented to Kevin at a ceremony earlier this month at Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes. It goes without saying that he, and everyone else at Oak Four is delighted! 

Considered one of the highest accolades for financial planning firms, the award is named after David Norton, a pioneer of modern financial planning, remembered for his wisdom and the time he spent offering advice to other financial planners. The award is earned every year by one firm, which operates according to David’s principles and values.

The CISI believes that winners of the David Norton Building Excellence Award show great ambition and vision for their business and, in turn, provide quality advice and an excellent service to their clients.

The judges praised the care we take with our clients and our genuine holistic financial planning service. As well as a stylish award, we will receive expert mentoring and business support to enrich the service provided to clients and take the business to the next level needed to become a CISI Accredited Financial Planning Firm.

The news: is it the complete picture? 

Sixty years after imagining the project, and after both had passed away, why did the famed artist couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrap L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris in silvery-blue fabric and red rope (which became an especially ethereal night-time display)?
Because they wanted to. And because their heirs carried out their vision, funding it through Christo’s estate. (Jeanne-Claude died in 2009; Christo passed on May 31, 2020.) The exhibit ran from September 18–October 3, never to be repeated. Touching the artwork was not only permitted, but encouraged.
The event did not dominate global headlines. But it was a nice bit of upbeat news elbowing its way in through the usual crisis-driven clamour.

As usual, there’s plenty to be concerned about. The COP 26 negotiations could deliver less than the world needs and hopes for. Covid 19 shows no sign of receding, in the UK or elsewhere. Inflation could hit 5% by early next year. Energy companies are dropping like flies. Around the world, there’s heart-breaking news coming out of Afghanistan, and China’s Evergrande is on the brink of failure. 
Throughout, markets have continued to deliver relatively strong returns in the year to date. But not unlike the Christo and Jeanne-Claude exhibit, this news has been wedged in between the usual bounty of mixed messages.
As this Wall Street Journal quarter-end wrap-up reported, “All told, the S&P 500 is still up 15% for the year and managed to squeeze out a sixth straight quarter of gains.” But this larger view arrives several paragraphs in, after leading with the more attention-grabbing news: “Markets tumbled to end the quarter, sending the S&P 500 to its worst monthly pullback since the pandemic-fuelled selloff of March 2020.”
It’s typical to think of capital markets as nothing more than constructions for conducting commerce and making money. That they tend to do over time. But markets are made of people, in all our messy glory. Which means the close-up view can be equally as messy. This, in turn, tempts reporters and consumers alike to focus on bold, breaking news that seems to matter, instead of the bigger picture.
But what is 'news' isn't necessarily the whole story, as a wise piece on the Farnham Street blog explains. 
“News is, by definition, something that doesn’t last. It exists for only a moment before it changes. … it’s not important to living a good life. It’s not going to help you make better decisions. It’s not going to help you understand the world. It’s not dense with information. It’s not going to help you develop deep and meaningful connections with the people around you.”
As Christo, Jeanne-Claude and their heirs have demonstrated, there’s value in savouring life’s fleeting moments. But their 'news' is of a different nature. When new information helps us reimagine the ordinary, it can elevate our world view. It grants us the gift of connecting with others who can offer a different perspective. It can even stretch time, and reach across generations to create enduring legacies.

No time like the present. Or next Tuesday. Or last March...

Is there ever a good time to get into the stock market and a great time to sell everything?

You already know the answer to that one: yes, but no-one knows when

Our latest blog explains why you should stay in the market, however counterintuitive it may seem on the surface. You can read it here

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