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Welcome to our investment update – 2023 review and 2024 outlook from Mike Lea, Investment Director, and Senior Adviser, FPC LLP.


A busy start to the year at FPC has caused a slight delay to our 2023 review and outlook for the current year.

For a while, it appeared we might have to report to clients on another year of challenging performance in 2023, especially for those taking lower risk, but a significant positive change in market sentiment occurred in October and values rallied broadly.

The euphoria around Artificial Intelligence (AI) helped technology heavy stock markets such as the US S&P 500 rise in value, though gains were very sector specific and not displayed more broadly.

Fixed interest markets were very volatile, as surprisingly resistant inflation data early in the year disappointed markets.

As the year went on it became clearer that inflation was easing. Global central banks started to change their language around the potential for interest rate cuts, but the market as ever was looking ahead and rapidly started to price in a reduction in rates. This led to a sharp rise in fixed interest capital values and a drop in yields from mid-October.

The year ended with double digit gains in most major stock markets in £ terms, except Asia and Emerging Markets exposed to China.

In the UK the general election is likely to be called later in the year. The Financial Times poll tracker projects a Labour victory. Should Labour get into power they have promised an economic revival through the reform of building planning requirements and green infrastructure investment.

Over the pond the Americans will also be staring down the ballot box in November. The Economist poll indicates Republican Mr Trump holding a short lead over current Democrat President Biden.

There is reason to be optimistic for 2024. Returns on cash and fixed interest investments remain attractive, corporate profitability is steady pointing to earnings growth, inflation is expected to slow further, and ‘real’ wage growth is being seen for the first time in a few years.

Please view the video below and/or click on this link to access the report.

Please note, this investment commentary review contains information and opinion, on current economic and political positions, and does not constitute advice. The information is provided in good faith and is believed to be accurate, but as some data is provided by third parties this cannot be guaranteed. Past returns should not be seen as predictors of future returns.