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An alternative perspective on Total Return for 2017

17 January 2017

David Scott - Chairman

Within a few weeks of Vestra opening for business in August 2008, the global financial crisis hit us all. Since that date, we have endured a seemingly endless stream of crises, all of which were going to destroy our financial prosperity and bring the world to its knees.

Here we are, eight years later and the world hasn’t ended. Maybe ignoring the noise, the surfeit of data, the negative news and simply keeping to the core principles of long term investing produces better long term results?

If we had spent much time in 2008 worrying about how the global financial crisis was going to destroy the world, I suspect we would never have got our business off the ground. Life is risky and sometimes unfair, but like many other businesses, we just have to get on with the day job. You deal with adversity by believing that you can keep trying to do things better and improve your service to clients.

In those early days at Vestra, all we needed to do was to focus on our business: advising our clients and prospects. After all, no matter what was happening in the world, clients were still going to need someone to help with decisions, even if that advice sometimes was to ignore the panic in the markets and do nothing.

This string of crises every couple of months, each of which apparently were threatening to blow the world off its “normal path” have come and mostly gone. As someone once said, the four most dangerous words are “this time is different”. What then is the “normal path”?

I believe the “normal path” is that life throws up obstacles that at the time may seem difficult to overcome but the passing of time seems to reduce the level of importance of those events. Life has a habit of dealing with difficulties. Having the ability to look beyond today and taking a longer term and more sanguine approach can often produce better results if only to ensure a more relaxed frame of mind. This does not mean that you abdicate responsibility for dealing with difficulties but you ignore the short term noise which causes poor knee jerk reactions.

The word wealth is derived from the old English word “weal”, meaning well-being or happiness. I think we could all do with ignoring a lot of the noise, which will probably save a lot of stress and panic and thus improve our overall well-being and happiness. Surely achieving well-being and happiness in our life is the key part of the total return of wealth management.