Written by: George Prior
Personal financial strategies should be reviewed to ensure they are ‘negative interest rate ready’, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
The comments from Nigel Green, the founder and chief executive of deVere Group, come as the Bank of England voted unanimously on Thursday to leave UK interest rates at their current record lows, at 0.1% - but keep negative interest rates in its “toolbox” of possible measures.
The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it will likely keep its key interest rate near zero until the economy reaches full employment and inflation runs “moderately" above its 2% goal for “some time,” a pledge that is likely to keep rates ultra-low for at least five years.
Mr Green says: “Struggling to ease the economic pain of the pandemic, central banks have ushered us into an era of almost zero interest rates – with some experts saying that the U.S. Federal Reserve and the UK’s Bank of England, amongst others, could be on the brink of implementing negative interest rates as other central banks have already done across the eurozone and in Japan.
“This would have been unimaginable even a few months ago. But the shifts have been seismic this year.”
This is why he believes that more than ever “serious, joined-up financial planning strategies” are essential for those who are committed to growing and protecting their wealth.
He continues: “In an almost zero interest rate era – or perhaps a wide negative interest rate era looming - it’s not enough to think that you can rely on the strategies of before.
“For instance, so-called low-risk bonds, such as U.S. Treasuries, once the bedrock of investment portfolios are not providing the returns they once did. Indeed, yields have been at historic lows, prompting many experts to openly question their value.”
The deVere CEO goes on to add: “Cash is certainly 'not king' at the moment either. Cash sitting in accounts is most likely earning you almost nothing. It will definitely not be generating decent income.
“Meanwhile, investing in stocks offers its own complexities.
“Global stock markets have, in general terms, been on an impressive rally in recent months. But delve into the picture and all is not what it seems. A handful of firms in a handful of sectors are bringing up entire indexes.”
He concludes: “Personal financial strategies should be assessed to make sure they are suited to a new era of likely permanently ultra-low or even negative interest rates.”