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  1. Wealth
July 12, 2021

Letters to the editor: ‘Sheds’ appeal, impact investing and work-life balance

By Spear's

Readers have their say on impact investing, the appeal of ‘sheds’, careers research and where to find the right work-life balance

Shed shopping

SIR – I was interested to read Alec Marsh’s article on ‘sheds’ (Spear’s issue 78) and the surge of interest in investment in this sector. While Mr Marsh is correct in saying that the simplest way of investing in this sector is by purchasing shares in a publicly-traded property company or REIT, direct ownership is, in our opinion, often a better option for UHNWs and families of wealth with more than around £2 million to invest in the sector.

As with any investment, direct property ownership has pros and cons and is not right for every investor. The advantages typically include the ability to ‘touch and feel’ one’s investment and own an asset that has historically proven to be a good hedge against inflation and a sound vehicle for wealth preservation through the generations.

Admittedly, there are disadvantages. These typically include the di culty in understanding a sector where the small details of a lease can significantly affect an investment’s performance.

It can also be difficult to find attractive investment opportunities (which are ideally off-market) in a market-driven by transactional fees and where ‘who you know’ is often the key to seeing an investment opportunity in the first place.

Robert Stokely FRICS
The Real Estate Investment Office

Balancing act

SIR – The super-prime boom might be surprising to an extent (Spear’s issue 78: Will the ‘Boris Bounce’ return?). You might think that people would be moving to the countryside due to the pandemic, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest an increased demand and growth in areas such as Richmond, Putney and Hampstead.

We believe that the pandemic mindset is creating a merge between work and living, all geared towards a better work-life balance and happier lifestyle.

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You might find that people won’t be going into the offices every day, but like the idea of living nearby and being close to the action so they could hop in a taxi, walk or even cycle to work on alternate days.

Frank Clarke
Octagon Capital

Dutiful diligence

SIR – I read the latest Spear’s Wealth Management Index with interest, especially when a friend and client made the point that it’s ‘good marketing’ for his client base. But as a headhunter who is frequently asked by international candidates where they can find a good overview of the UK market, I like it for different reasons.

An index showing which firms are the top UK HNW/UHNW or the best family office specialists is a godsend to candidates considering moving employer.

We see over 500 candidates per year who work in the wealth management sector, many of whom are managing directors/partners, and they take the reputation and standing of the company they plan to move to very seriously.

Having an index that gives an overview of a firm’s staff as well as their areas of expertise helps candidates with their due diligence. For example, there are more than 1,500 ‘wealth managers’ in Switzerland, and 155 of these changed jobs in the past 12 months. For those looking to move to the UK, the index is not the solution to finding the right job, but it is a helpful reference point.

Billy Stephenson FCSI
Stephenson Executive Search

Lasting impact

SIR – What now for philanthropy? Anna Solomon’s article (‘Deep Impact’, Spear’s 79) was a welcome overview of why, and how, impact investing is becoming mainstream. Certainly, empirical and anecdotal evidence shows that impact and ESG investing can dampen volatility and improve returns, especially within a diversified investment strategy.

Indeed, some may now be questioning the value of ‘giving money away’ when one can be making a return while doing good. The truth, though, is that all families are different, and their goals and values are realised through a mix of suitable activities.

Impact and ESG investing won’t replace philanthropy entirely – not least due to the desire of philanthropic families to maintain a hands-on approach and ensure stewardship of wealth for future generations. But the allure of ‘responsible returns’ is significant, and we are certainly seeing it come on to the radar of more wealthy individuals and families. The ESG and impact revolution has only just begun.

Philip Radford
Saffery Champness Registered Fiduciaries

To submit a letter for publication in Spear’s, email All correspondence will be considered for publication unless otherwise stated.
Main image: Photograph of Ernest Hemingway sitting at a table writing while at his campsite in Kenya. Look Magazine, Photographer (NARA record: 1106476– U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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