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Storms continue to batter global markets

Global Markets Continue to Struggle

The outlook for global economies continues to look challenging, with high inflation and rising interest rates potentially tipping many countries into recession.

As a result, global stock markets, led as usual by the US, have been suffering for quite a while. Unfortunately AIM has not been immune to this, with the AIM index now down over 33% year to date.

The bear market since the summer of 2021 is one of the longest we have seen in our 30+ years in investment management. Even the financial crisis of 2008 did not last as long as this and we can only hope that we are somewhere near turning the corner.

Certainly, the recent updates from our core portfolio holdings have been largely positive, despite the challenges they face, although this has not been reflected in their share prices!

What do we do we do at the moment? 

As we have previously mentioned, with the market not reflecting the general positive performance of many of the companies in our portfolios, the simple answer is, we do very little, other than drill down into the many results and updates being reported by companies and keep a very close eye out for bargains.

During previous periods of excessive volatility we recommend clients ignore the manic movements of share prices and unless there is a need to sell, the best cause of action is to continue wait for things to turn around, knowing we are well invested when the turnaround occurs.

It is worth remembering that in February 2020, the AIM market fell 36% in a month but it finished the year up 20%. A similar recovery took place after the Financial Crisis of 2007/8. We expect something similar in the near future, with the AIM of today a far higher quality market than it was in 2008.

During periods like this, we consider long-term holders of small cap shares should view the stock market as effectively closed, unless they are looking to buy a potential bargain.

Potential light at the end of the long tunnel?

Despite all of the negative news, today the Office for National Statistics announced that rather than contract as their previous reading suggested, the UK economy grew in the second quarter of this year by 0.2%. Whether this is the start of things beginning to improve remains to be seen.

Upcoming webinar

The next Fundamental webinar on Wednesday 12th October at 3 pm is called AIM: cheap for good reason or bargains to be snapped up? It will be on looking back at the last quarter and reviewing the outlook ahead; including a focus on how have companies really been performing vs their stock price? To register for the webinar and to be able to view it after the event, click here.

To find out more about the benefits of investing in AIM, or if you wish to discuss the current situation, please speak to our Business Development Manager Jonathan Bramall via email [email protected]  or phone 01923 713 894.


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Webinar – AIM: cheap for good reason or bargains to be snapped up?

Is it time to be greedy when others are fearful?

It has been a painful time recently for AIM investors. In the upcoming Fundamental Asset Management webinar on Wednesday 12th October at 3pm we ask: AIM: cheap for good reason or bargains to be snapped up?

To register your spot and to be able to watch it after the event, please click here.

Fundamental’s portfolio managers Chris Boxall & Stephen Drabwell will be reviewing the last quarter as well as looking ahead to Q4.

AGENDA
– Q3 Review.
– What lies ahead for Q4.
– It has been a terrible time for AIM stocks; could now be the time to invest?
– Trading performance vs share price performance.
– Valuations.
– Impact of “mini budget”.
– Questions.

For more information about reducing Inheritance Tax using Business Relief (also known as Business Property Relief) click here.

To find out more about the benefits of investing in AIM shares for IHT planning purposes, please get in touch via email at [email protected] or phone 01923 713 894


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AIM for positive impact: Jet2 leads the way

The recent full year results statement from AIM listed leisure travel group Jet2 PLC (AIM:JET2) made a point of highlighting its focus on sustainability. While a company operating a fleet of passenger airlines is unlikely to draw huge amounts of enthusiasm from ESG investors, Jet2 appears to be making considerable progress on the sustainability front.

Jet2.com is the UK’s third largest airline, flying from 10 UK bases to over 70 destinations across Europe and beyond and Jet2holidays is the UK’s second largest tour operator. 

Between 2011 and 2019, the Group reduced its CO2 emissions per passenger kilometre from 83.1g to 67.0g, a reduction of more than 19%. In 2018 it was ranked 11th best airline in the world in this regard by Atmosfair Index, although to put things into perspective it’s worth noting that among UK operators, TUI and Thomas Cook were ranked 1st and 7th respectively.

In September 2021, Jet2 published a comprehensive Sustainability Strategy with the vision to be “the leading brand in sustainable air travel and package holidays”.

As part of their Jet2 Net Zero 2050 commitment, in addition to the significant new Airbus A321 neo investment, Jet2 will offset emissions not currently covered by existing carbon pricing mechanisms (UK and EU Emissions Trading Schemes), thereby taking full responsibility for all its carbon emissions.

By going above and beyond regulatory requirements, Jet2 will see a significant drop in net emissions in the coming months and years. The Group has also committed to using a percentage of UK produced Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Further, by 2023, 50% of their Ground Support Equipment will be zero carbon and they will have reduced single use plastics on their aircraft by 80% compared to 2019 – equivalent to removing 11 million items per annum!

Jet2holidays will also act on the environmental impacts in its supply chain by enabling customers to make more sustainable accommodation choices through its hotel sustainability labelling system.

You can find out more about Jet2’s initiatives towards sustainability here: www.jet2plc.com/sustainability

To find out more about the benefits of investing in AIM, please speak to our Business Development Manager Jonathan Bramall via email [email protected]  or phone 01923 713 894

Our upcoming webinar will review the second quarter of the year as well as discuss our ESG and PRI developments. For more information on investing in AIM shares for Inheritance Tax Planning purposes.

This video presentation here also provides a brief introduction to the Fundamental AIM IHT portfolio service.

Fundamental Asset Management
www.fundamentalasset.com


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AIM for Positive Impact

In our last blog  – which can be read here; we announced that Fundamental Asset Management is now a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment.

In further recognition of the growing importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, we  are producing a series of Blogs titled ‘AIM for Positive Impact’ highlighting the initiatives being made by our AIM portfolio companies in addressing ESG and related matters.

First up, long term portfolio holding James Halstead.

Flooring -Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, UK

AIM quoted flooring manufacturer James Halstead may not immediately strike you as a business with impressive ESG credentials, but its website is an ESG-conscious investor’s dream. From the opening page, which highlights the benefits of its flooring in sectors such as healthcare and education, through to its easy to find links to Corporate Responsibility and early mention of “Corporate governance and corporate social responsibility” in the company’s annual report, James Halstead is visibly sustainable.

Chairman Anthony Wild has commented how the company’s recognition of its responsibility towards good corporate governance has contributed to its ability to deliver long-term shareholder value.

James Halstead has produced an annual sustainability report for 16 years, highlighting how far ahead it is of some of its fellow AIM-listed companies that are yet to produce one. It therefore comes as no surprise to see that Polyflor, Halstead’s main brand, is the industry leader from a sustainability perspective, with harvested rainwater being used for production as far back as 1915 and recycling vinyl since they pioneered it in 1950.

Polyflor was also an early adopter of BRE with products first assessed on a Life Cycle Analysis in 2005. They were also the first commercial flooring manufacturer to achieve the BRE’s standard for Responsible Sourcing, BES 6001, for many of its products. There were other firsts, including being the first flooring manufacturer to achieve GreenTag LCARate certification and being the first flooring manufacturer to roll out a recycling initiative inclusive of site collections and distributor dropoff sites to suit all customer and waste volume requirements.

The 2021 Sustainability Report also commented on a further reduction of their carbon footprint, by increasing renewable electrical energy consumption to 100% from 93%, as well as reducing CO2 emissions by 29%.

It just goes to highlight for how long concerns about the environment and our impact upon it have been around. Perhaps a hundred years ago investors may have been primarily concerned about the bottom line, but today’s investors increasingly demand any company to be visibly sustainable. As James Halstead demonstrates, doing good is not only the right thing but is good for business too.

Although it’s not all good news on the ESG front, with a distinct lack of diversity to the James Halstead Board of Directors, so something to improve on!


To find out more about the benefits of investing in AIM, please speak to our Business Development Manager Jonathan Bramall via email [email protected]  or phone 01923 713 894

Our upcoming webinar will review the second quarter of the year as well as discuss our ESG and PRI developments. For more information on investing in AIM shares for Inheritance Tax Planning purposes.

This video presentation here also provides a brief introduction to the Fundamental AIM IHT portfolio service

Fundamental Asset Management
www.fundamentalasset.com


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The Fundamentals #9 – Our Investment Approach

In the ninth of our series – The Fundamentals – about going back to the basics of investing in AIM shares for Inheritance Tax (IHT) planning purposes, we look at the Fundamental Asset Management investment approach.

The Fundamental Asset Management investment approach is best described as, stock specific and growth focused, with a value overlay.

Key criteria include:

  • IHT qualification (current and ongoing)
  • Growth actual and prospective
  • Profitability (unadjusted, we have a strong dislike of the fairy tale EBITDA!)
  • Cash generation
  • Return on Equity
  • Management/insider ownership
  • Valuation measures
  • Size and liquidity – an ability to sell if we need to
  • Understanding of the business

Dividend yield is appreciated, but not essential, as small growing companies, generating high returns on equity, should generally have better things to do with their cash than pay it away.

Macro overlay ensuring sector diversification. Research is undertaken by the 2 portfolio managers Chris Boxall and Stephen Drabwell supported by external analysts (former fund managers, private investors and business people).

For more information on Portfolio Construction Methodology, Approach to Stock Picking, Asset Allocation, House Investment Style, and “House Ethos”, or if would like to speak with Stephen or Chris, please do not hesitate to contact our Business Development Manager Jonathan Bramall via email [email protected] or phone 01923 713 894.

For more information about reducing Inheritance Tax by using Business Relief (also known as Business Property Relief) click here.

The Fundamentals Series

Our Educational Webinars also provide plenty of further information.

Fundamental Asset Management
www.fundamentalasset.com


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Introducing The Fundamentals Series

Our last Blog here covered a stock market sell-off and what we are doing. This week we are doing things a bit differently.

Recently, we have received requests to go over some topics from the beginning to assist people who are trying understand what we do at Fundamental Asset Management as well as what AIM is, what opportunities it provides and how it can be used to help reduce Inheritance Tax (IHT).

Over the coming weeks, we will be going back-to-basics focusing on the fundamentals (pun intended!) of the AIM IHT Portfolio Service and indeed Fundamental Asset Management itself. We will be looking at how AIM could provide returns in the medium to long-term that put other investments in the shade as well as how Business Relief can be used for estate planning as well as some frequently asked questions around costs and a number of practical processes.

This week, The Fundamentals brings you a video we have put together; Fundamental Asset Management – An Introduction.

Topics covered include:

  • Who Are We?
  • What is AIM?
  • AIM in 2021.
  • AIM for outperformance.
  • Business Relief & AIM – How it works.
  • AIM IHT Investment Process – Investable Universe.
  • AIM Investment Process – Core/ Satellite portfolio approach.
  • AIM IHT Investment process – the issues!
  • Benefits of a Portfolio – Not a Fund.
  • AIM in 2022 – Difficult Start to the year.
  • 2022 Opportunities so far.

In this video presentation, Chris Boxall, co-founder of AIM specialist investment manager Fundamental Asset Management, provides an introduction to the Fundamental AIM IHT portfolio service. The presentation covers Fundamental’s investment process and issues to be aware when investing in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes. Chris also offers his thoughts on the outlook for AIM in 2022.

We hope you find it useful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Business Development Manager Jonathan Bramall via email [email protected] or phone 01923 713 894

Fundamental Asset Management
www.fundamentalasset.com


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Introduction to the Fundamental AIM IHT Portfolio Service

In this video presentation, Chris Boxall, co-founder of AIM specialist investment manager Fundamental Asset Management, provides an introduction to the Fundamental AIM IHT portfolio service. The presentation covers Fundamental’s investment process and issues to be aware when investing in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes. Chris also offers his thoughts on the outlook for AIM in 2022.


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Podcast: buying opportunities on AIM

In this podcast interview with Jeremy Naylor of IGTV, Chris Boxall, co-founder of AIM specialist investment manager Fundamental Asset Management, discusses potential buying opportunities on AIM following recent falls.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking the image above.

Companies discussed include Argentex (AGFX), dotDigital (DOTD), CVS Group (CVSG), EMIS (EMIS), and Cambridge Cognition (COG)

The Fundamental AIM IHT Portfolio is a discretionary investment management service where clients can obtain 100% mitigation from Inheritance Tax, benefit from the capital growth afforded by the AIM market and retain control of their assets.

You can find out more about Fundamental Asset Management’s high performing AIM IHT ISA and AIM Inheritance Tax portfolio service, which has been delivering exceptional investment returns for more than 18 years, from the link here.


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Why we are wary of investing in IPOs on AIM

In this video interview with Jeremy Naylor of IGTV, Chris Boxall, co-founder of AIM specialist investment manager Fundamental Asset Management, discusses the performance of IPOs on AIM and why Fundamental is wary of investing in these for their AIM IHT portfolios.

2021 was the first year since 2014 that Initial public Offerings (‘IPOs’) on London’s AIM market exceeded cancellations, but even before recent stock market falls it has proved hard for IPO investors to make money investing in AIM’s new arrivals as Chris considers in this interview.

You can watch the video by clicking the image above.

The Fundamental AIM IHT Portfolio is a discretionary investment management service where clients can obtain 100% mitigation from Inheritance Tax, benefit from the capital growth afforded by the AIM market and retain control of their assets.

 You can find out more about Fundamental Asset Management’s high performing AIM IHT ISA and AIM Inheritance Tax portfolio service, which has been delivering exceptional investment returns for more than 18 years, from the link here.


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AIM market sell-off – what we are doing

The week is closing with another big stock market sell-off and, as is once again the case, the shares of smaller companies, particularly those on AIM, are having a tougher time than the blue chips.

Russia’s diabolical invasion of Ukraine has further destabilised a fragile stock market, which was already straining under inflationary and interest rate fears; ironically, in the short term, the risk of the latter has now diminished.

Our previous Blog here shows the stock market reaction to major geopolitical events going back to the Pearl Harbor Attack of 1941.

Mr Market, the manic depressive!

As experienced investors in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes for nearly 20 years, we have unfortunately seen this all before, most recently at the time of the first pandemic lockdown in February 2020 when stock markets fell precipitously, with the AIM market falling 36% in a month. Following this tumultuous and very rapid fall it proceeded to recover strongly, finishing the year up 20% and eclipsing the main UK stock market which remained lower. A similar recovery took place after the financial crisis with the AIM index more than doubling off lows.

Moving forward to the current time, AIM IHT portfolios, in line with the AIM index, are down c20% year-to-date and 25% down from the highs hit at the beginning of September 2021, while the UK main market is down approximately 9.5%.

Selling on AIM has been indiscriminate this week, with even mild disappointment severely punished, and large share price declines for some stocks, as high as 60% in a day in some cases. It should be emphasised that there are rarely stock specific reasons for such dramatic falls, and this is simply the feature of a less liquid market, with plenty of irrational sellers and very few buyers. With a few exceptions, such dramatic share price declines rarely reflect the financial strength or long-term prospects of the companies in question, they are simply a feature of ‘Mr Market’s’ irrational behaviour.

So, what do we do at times like these?

The simple answer is, very little, other than keep an eye out for bargains.

There is certainly no point manically trading, seeking out potential safe havens as they don’t exist, with all small caps being dragged lower, notwithstanding any apparent defensive characteristics. The bid/offer spread also widens and it’s a lot harder to sell at the desired price.

Panic selling, on Mr Market’s terms rather than your own, is always the wrong approach. This incurs unnecessary trading costs and one risks being out of the market when things turn around, as they surely will at some point.

During periods of excessive volatility we recommend clients ignore the manic movements of share prices as they are largely irrelevant, that is unless you need to sell, which we hope is not the case. Think of smaller companies on the stock market as one would an unquoted private equity investment, which does not have the distraction of daily pricing.

Furthermore, as investors in AIM for Inheritance Tax planning purposes, we don’t have the luxury (or disadvantage) of being able to sit in cash and are obliged to remain fully invested, so there is nowhere to hide, even if we wanted to. The advantage of this is that when things do turn around, which they will, portfolios are well placed to benefit, being already invested.

What about valuations?

Companies which joined in AIM in 2021, often with unwarranted valuations, have seen their shares hit particularly hard, with little loyalty being shown by new shareholders. The valuations of many of these were unjustified, often based on unusual market conditions over the pandemic which flattered their growth prospects. Many institutions were naïve to back these at such high valuations and they are now paying the price. The artificial valuations assigned to IPOs, which are priced by brokers and the companies themselves, is a reason why we are reluctant investors at IPO and like to see companies deliver on public markets first.

The valuations of some better-established AIM companies have looked stretched for a while and if growth prospects are determined to be less stellar than originally anticipated (something experienced with one of our stocks this week) share price falls are justified, however, not to the extent that we have seen, as Mr Market’s pessimism becomes excessive.

Conversely, the valuations of some excellent highly profitable companies, with attractive growth prospects, have also been pulled down to extremely attractive levels, offering compelling buying opportunities.

To all-intents and purposes, at times like these, we consider that long-term holders of small cap shares should notionally consider the stock market to be closed, that is unless you are a buyer. With the war only in its first week, the volatility is likely to continue for a while longer.

 

Fundamental Asset Management
www.fundamentalasset.com