… when I like to take stock and share some of the year's highlights just ended with you. We are relentlessly optimistic at IQ even in these difficult times.
But it is certainly true that this year won’t go down as one of the easiest ones on record. The death of our Queen, plummeting stock markets, war in Europe and a record number of removal vans in Downing Street. And if all that was not enough, we are now in the grips of a cost-of-living crisis that is severely impacting the day-to-day lives of millions.
Let’s take a look at what has happened in the global stock markets. Places to hide have been few and far between. Hindsight is a beautiful thing and, had we had the luxury of enjoying it, there are doubtless a few things that we would have done differently.
Despite these challenging times and complex conditions – likely to continue throughout the coming year –, we remain optimistic about the longer-term aspect of the financial markets.
The IQ team have spent the year encouraging our clients to be brave: to be brave when the stock markets are in freefall, and to hold their nerve and focus on the horizon ahead – not the choppy waters through which we are currently navigating.
We are committed to long-term investing at IQ, and our strategies have done extremely well over longer time horizons. We would urge all of our clients to think about five- to ten-year time horizons.
Our Chief Investment Officer Peter Lowman continues to share his wisdom and insights on a fortnightly basis. These will be even more accessible via the IQ Wealth app next year.
Now that we are a B Corp-certified company, a strong corporate social responsibility policy forms the bedrock of everything that we do at IQ – more than ever before. And I have been very proud of the numerous charitable activities that our ever-growing team has been involved in.
With your help, we raised a staggering £15,000 for Street Child – a Sierra Leone-based charity that we have been supporting for ten years. And closer to home, our recent “12 days of Christmas” campaign raised over £3,000 and has showcased our resolve to help others, and to meet high standards of social and environmental performance. Indeed, the whole team has been donating money, baking cakes, giving blood, serving breakfast to the homeless and engaging in general volunteering initiatives all over the capital and beyond to support causes that are important to them.
Making innovative use of technology drives our progress. This year, for example, we have launched a brand-new website. It’s faster and sleeker, and we have made it easier than ever for you to find whatever information and support you may be looking for.
And most exciting of all is the IQ Wealth app – another amazing achievement that is the culmination of months of work by our tech team. With cases of online fraud spiralling, we want to make sure that your data is always protected. The app will become our primary means of communicating with you in 2023, so please contact us if you are not already registered.
Digitalisation is essential in financial services to give you the service you require and for all the information gathering and record keeping that we must do. Our team is dedicated to using that technology to remove as much of the regulatory burden so that our advisers can focus on those services that you, our clients, really appreciate.
It would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to your IQ team. We continue to invest in our people, bringing new talent in to strengthen the core of the company. Often, however, finding the right kinds of high-quality chartered financial planners can be a challenge and we prefer to home-grow our advisers – they may be young. Still, we can be absolutely sure that they are fully compatible with our unique IQ culture.
As you have hopefully realised, it is very easy to get in touch with us. Our client services team in particular really enjoys getting to know our new clients and catching up with existing ones.
Across the board, the IQ team remains as focused and as committed as ever to working for you, delivering the very best in personal finance. We value the relationship we have with you and we hugely appreciate the confidence and trust that you continue to place in us – despite the lack of any meaningful returns this year and the extreme challenges that the markets continue to face.
Thank you for continuing to refer new clients to us – this is one of the key ingredients of our growth and success.
This has been yet another year that has brought with it a great deal of suffering. We have still not quite shaken COVID, and the war in Ukraine and the subsequent increase in energy prices mean that we are all impacted by rising inflation and having less in the way of disposable income.
For those of you who have lost somebody or been through any kind of trauma – our thoughts are with you. What we do is much more than create financial plans. We are there to protect your families during tough challenges, helping you to navigate a path through any difficulties you may be facing.
As I look forwards to 2023 and beyond, I am absolutely confident that our IQ family culture will grow stronger. And our commitment to giving back to the communities we serve will be further bolstered by our new B Corp status.
It now only remains for me to join the whole IQ team in wishing you a happy new year and praying for an end to conflict and a more peaceful 2023 in the UK and the rest of the world.