Posted by: maxweath | December 17, 2011

How do you respond to unsolicited Job applicants ?

Like many small businesses we have noticed an increase in both the number of unsolicited CV’s submitted in the post and the quality of applicants seeking work.

In the past we have sent a polite letter thanking the person for their enquiry to Hawksmoor and retained their CV on file for 6 months. However in the past few months we have noticed the qualifications of applicants noticeably increased, as even the most qualified graduates have struggled to find vacancies in their chosen field. Alas we are not seeking to increase our staffing levels at this time.

It takes several years of training and experience for graduates to achieve the necessary professional qualificiations in our business, which represents a considerable investment in management time and training costs for employers like us at Hawksmoor.

Nevertheless it seemed inappropriate to send a “Dear John” letter to 3 of these applicants who in any normal market could readily expect to find a graduate position as a trainee investment manager. No doubt they have received many such letters from other firms, it seemed only fair to try and offer something.

After discussing the matter around the office we took the decision to organise an internship day. An opportunity to spend a day with our investment management team and gain as much experience as we can pack in to a day. I am delighted that some of our peers and business associates have also offered their time to come and share their expertise for training sessions on the day.

So our thanks go to Barclays Wealth in Ipswich, Aviva investors, and to Josh Pirt at Cooper Lomaz recruitment consultants who will be giving some valuable coaching and advice.

As a member of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce I know there are other employers offering similar or greater opportunities, with internships or open days, but in these straightened times it is so important that more employers large and small create opportunities for young people. Business generally gets such a poor press, but it is business and entrepreneurs who will get the UK out of this economic mess.

So even if we don’t have a vacancy in the business we can all do something; anything is better than a rejection letter. If our little training day next week does nothing more than provide some inspiration and confidence to persevere, then we will have achieved something. At last count we have 5 graduates attending.

 

Posted by: maxweath | October 24, 2011

Movember – all in a good cause

My colleagues and I on the investment team at Hawksmoor are rasing money in November for this excellent cause. We all have/know friends and family who have been struck down with these illnesses and we hope you share our concerns and will help us.

Any donation however small will make a difference and be much appreciated.

To keep this fun we will also post photographs of members of the team during the month on the web page http://mobro.co/hawksmoor

It’s Movember, the month formerly known as November, now dedicated to growing moustaches and raising awareness and funds for men’s health; specifically prostate and testicular cancer. I’m donating my top lip to the cause for 30 days in an effort to help change the face of men’s health. My Mo will spark conversations, and no doubt generate some laughs; all in the name of raising vital awareness and funds for cancer’s affecting men.

Why am I so passionate about men’s health?
* 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
* This year 37,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed
* 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
* 26% of men are less likely to go the doctor compared to women

I’m asking you to support my Movember campaign by making a donation by either:
*Donating online at: http://mobro.co/hawksmoor
*If you want to go old school you can write a cheque payable to Movember, reference my name and Registration Number 1393430 and send it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 68600, London, EC1P 1EF

If you’d like to find out more about the type of work you’d be helping to fund by supporting Movember, take a look at the Programmes We Fund section on the Movember website: http://uk.movember.com/about

Thank you in advance for supporting my efforts to change the face of men’s health.

Max

 

Posted by: maxweath | November 25, 2010

Beggar My Neighbour

The Following article is published in the East Anglia Daily Times on 30th November

The fallout from the credit crisis is still sending tremors across the globe. As nations seek to restore stability and growth to their economies, central bankers are reaching for the nuclear weapons in their arsenal. Max Weatherby of Hawksmoor investment Management considers the current battles raging across currency markets.

For politicians economic recovery means engineering growth from exports and consumption, but with consumers (at home and abroad) laden with debt there are more sellers than buyers in the marketplace.  Sovereign nations too find themselves in swathes of debt, but this time conventional economic remedies seem ineffective to revive the patient.  Dramatic fiscal thrift was not enough to rouse the Celtic tiger so the IMF vet had to intervene this week.

Before we become too smug, the only highlight of recent business surveys has been in British manufacturing.  Such companies have benefited from a weak sterling making British goods cheaper relative to our trading partners, and a cue for modest celebration, but it will take more than our canny widget makers to see us through this recession.

Across the world finance ministers are likening the drama to military conflict between nations. Indeed the tension between America and China over the latter’s undervalued currency and the Fed’s decision to resume Quantitative Easing (a term now so familiar to readers it probably requires no further explanation) has the potential to escalate to further action. One consequence of QE has been for the currencies of Japan, South Korea, Brazil and others to rise. The Japanese Yen recently rose to its highest level in 15 years, threatening the influx of billions of dollars from yield-hungry investors and potentially hurting Japanese exports. China has also registered its displeasure at Uncle Sam’s beggar my neighbour policies on the grounds that such intervention in the markets could create distortions in the global economy,at the same time resisting calls for a free-floating Chinese currency.

These international spats hide the larger problem of global imbalances in the world’s economy. If we are to enjoy a real recovery then a rebalance requires the indebted west (that’s you, me and Uncle Sam) to consume less and export more, and the emerging nations such as China to do the reverse. Unfortunately political self-interest stands between any agreement between Washington and Beijing.  America has many more cards in its deck, so we can probably expect the US Federal reserve to continue to print money to stave off any hint of deflation. In response China will continue to keep a grip on its currency, knowing it can continue to manipulate its closed economy.

This stalemate will undoubtedly hurt China’s neighbours. With less defences in their economic arsenal, they can only hope that Beijing will allow the Renmimbi to appreciate.  Either way we are probably in for a bumpy ride.

Hawksmoor Investment Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

Posted by: maxweath | October 28, 2010

The parable of beer – understanding the tax system

Maybe you have heard this one before, but it is probably relevant in these straightened times when we are all being asked to share the load “fairly” – so what is fair?..

Suppose that once a month 10 guys go out for a drink, and the beer bill comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes it would look something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. the fifth would pay £1, and the sixth £3, the seventh would shell out £7, the eighth would chip in £12, the ninth man £18, and the 10th man (being of the most means) would pay £59.

So the 10 men met for a drink in their pub once a month and everyone seemed happy with this method of splitting the beer tab. One day the landlord said “you are such good customers, that I am going to reduce the cost of your weekly beer by £20″. So the drinks would now cost £80.

The men still wanted to continue to pay their bill the way we all pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected and would continue to drink for free. But what about the other six? How could they divide the £20 saving so that everyine would get a fair share? They realised that £20 divided by 6 is £3.33 but if they subtracted that from everybody’s share then not only would the first four men still be enjoying free drinks but the fifth and sixth man would end up being paid to drink his beer.

Faced with the dilemma, the landlord suggested a alternative system. The fifth man, should join the the first four, and pay nothing. The sixth man paid £2 instead of £3. the seventh paid £5 instead of £7 and the eighth man paid £9 instead of £12. Mr nine paid £14 instead of £18, and the 10th man paid £49 instead of £59. In short, each of the last six men were better off than before with the first four continuing to drink for free!

However, on the next evening outside the pub the men began to compare their savings. “I only got £1 out of the £20″ said the sixth man, and pointing to the tenth declared “But he got £10″

“Yeah, that’s true” exclaimed the fifth man “I only saved £1 too. It’s not fair that he gets 10 times more benefit than me”
“That’s right” shouted the seventh “Why does he get £10 back when I only get £2? the rich always get the breaks and it’s not fair on the rest of us!”
“Hang on” exclaimed the first four men “we didn’t get anything back at all. this newe tax system is exploting the poor!” The nine men then rounded on the tenth and beat him up.
You will not be surprised to know that the tenth man didn’t show up so the other nine all had a drink without him. At the end of the night when they had downed their last pint of beer they were served with the bill and discovered they didn’t have enough money to pay for even half of the bar bill. Cheers!

 

Posted by: maxweath | September 12, 2010

Remembering 9/11

Many of us remember where we were on 11th September 2001 at around 3pm in the afternoon UK time. I was working in my home office across the yard from my house that day and my wife came running over. The kid’s TV had been interrupted with live footage from New York. We sat there mesmerised by the events on the screen, only this time it was not a disaster movie.

As further details unfolded, I received a frantic call from my mother. The UA flight number from Boston matched my brother’s itinery. All of a sudden this became personal, and we started to think about other friends in NYC. We remembered taking the elevator up to the top of the twin towers 5 years earlier and standing on the roof looking across Manhattan. I didn’t get much work done the rest of that day but fortunately my brother missed his flight as fate led him to deal with a sick patient. But many thousands were not so lucky as we know.

The anniversary this weekend provided an opportunity to analyse thos events through the recollections of those who survived to tell their tales. As harrowing as it was to watch, the documentaries over the weekend firstly with Rudolph Giulliani and then secondly from the escapies from the neighbouring Marriott Hotel, made compelling viewing. The human stories of courage and self-sacrifice show that few of us know what we are truly capable of until we are tested. New Yorkers showed that the Dunkirk spirit is not a uniquely Anglo trait.

Posted by: maxweath | August 24, 2010

Who do you think you are?

I have always loved history and coming from a large family we were brought up on stories from the war. My grandmother’s both came from grand families and took the trouble to tell me about the foreboding characters hanging from dusty gilt frames on the walls.

Today my children also enjoy the large family gatherings and the stories from the past as much as I did. History provides a sense of who you are and where you have come from, even if the big houses are no longer in the family one can still enjoy and imagine what it was like to live there. The odd ancestral connection with a historical figure provides an interesting personal connection that encourages you to find out more.

So when I found out that a cousin was to be featured on the BBC’s “Who Do you think you are?”  I wondered if they would pursue my side of the family at all; and if they did it would just be fun to see some familiar people and places on TV.

Much to my delight the trail led him through our mutual grandparent and a picture of my mother’s childhood home. There is probably enough material here to fill a documentary here with a few family feuds to boot, but the producers had obviously found something even juicier. I was now viewing off-piste and what followed was an amazing revelation going back 27 generations, introducing some fairly colourful characters,underhand dealings, and skulduggery.

Alexander led us from Northern Ireland through Shropshire and heading west to Badminton and the Duke’s of Beaufort. By this stage we are in the midst of the English Civil War with our ancestor bankrolling the Kings war effort against the parliamentarians. As a teenager I spent many summers in South Wales near Abergavenny, but I had no idea of the personal connection with Raglan Castle; sacked by the roundheads in 1649 it had been the seat of the Beaufort’s. I must have walked around there dozens of times oblivious of where I was, and eaten several meals in the Beaufort Arms.

Up to this point I always thought my Grandmother’s family history was interesting, with a large estate in Cornwall and kin of Sir Walter Raleigh. The Edgecumbe’s dynasty starts with the Black Prince whose flag still flies from the Edgecumbe rooftop on special occasions.Sir Richard Edgecumbe was knighted at the Battle of Bosworth. The Spanish Armada was signalled from Edgecumbe land. All fascinating stuff that brings the history books alive for yours truly as a school boy. No wonder history was my favourite subject.

Halfway through the programme the Edgecumbe’s were being overhauled by my grand-father’s ancestors as Alexander uncovered more fascinating facts and delving further into our mutual history. The children were as fascinated as I was by this stage. Of course once you tap into a noble family such as the House of Beaufort you are at the centre of medieval history and the struggle for power. Henry VII claimed his crown from his descent from John of Gaunt, the first duke of Lancaster and son of Edward III. Even I remembered John of Gaunt from my school days. By this stage I was on the edge of my seat and the kids were crowding the screen. Before I could say “Willie,willie, Harry, Stee…” the genealogist was unfolding a old parchment confirming the connection with William the Conqueror. At this point the children were jumping up and down and my wife was shouting aloud…..it really was a surreal moment. I thought Alexander was very composed on the screen, and I was glad that none of his family were there to embarrass him. Sadly the schedule keepers ensured that the final revelation was unveiled with undue haste. We could have done with another ten minutes, but I expect that is on the cutting room floor.

Within minutes of the programme ending the phone was ringing, and then the mobile too. Whilst Angelique spoke with excited friends and in-laws I reflected on what we had just learned. Of course it doesn’t change anything, I still have to get up and go to work the next morning, but it does shift the family politics in favour of my maternal grandfather and I am sure even my father could smile about that.

So thanks Alexander for finding this treasure trove of history for us to explore.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tl38l

Synopsis

 

Posted by: maxweath | July 31, 2010

Fortune Cookie

Enjoyed a delicious meal with the family at a Chinese restaurant, following a day playing tennis and relaxing beside the pool.

My fortune cookie contained some wise advice

A positive attitude may not solve every problem but it makes solving any problem a more pleasant experience

Posted by: maxweath | July 29, 2010

Winding down

It usually takes me about 4 days into a holiday to wind down. On days one and two my brain is still in “doing” mode seeking tasks that need to be actioned, plans to be completed, whether it be packing bags or travel arrangements and usually still thinking about work at the office.

I was always a late person, preferring to work late or stay-up until the wee small hours. At school and college, the twilight hours were often the most productive when inspiration was required. However the arrival of children many years ago, shifted my body clock from PM to AM. So most mornings I am awake at 5am, thinking about the day ahead. Even a long weekend is not enough to break this habit, and so it was nice to sleep through on Tuesday morning undisturbed until 9 am. ZZzzzzz

Posted by: maxweath | July 22, 2010

The safety of your comfort zone – or not!

There is renewed uncertainty in financial markets, and with the exception of Gold there are few upside targets on my technical charts this week. My colleague Alex Boyle penned the following yesterday for his column in the East Anglia Daily Times.

(BYLINE) The instinct for risk aversion and capital preservation may be precisely the wrong stance right now. Alex Boyle from Hawksmoor Investment Management examines counter-instinctive investing.

In April, Hawksmoor adopted a cautious tone, wary of investors’ bullishness and markets that had recorded exceptional gains in a short period. We were not cautious enough! Three months on some asset prices are now much cheaper. The investment climate is gloomy but as no one denies this, traditional “safe” investments such as cash, gilts and gold have become expensive relative to other assets such as equities and corporate bonds.  It is difficult to judge whether risks are priced into investments and the natural inclination is to become more defensive. However, in Ecclesiastes we read of the courage and common sense needed to keep your goal in mind by looking beyond current difficulties because “Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops.

Exceptionally loose monetary policy and quantitative easing in leading economies should prevent a recession and collapse in corporate earnings that would cause a bear market in equities.

But a positive change in sentiment would cause a dramatic turnaround in the performance of the different asset classes. The attraction of assets that are currently most popular with investors, such as cash and government bonds, is deteriorating even though investors are becoming more comfortable about holding them. So-called “safe” investments are “unsafe” for new investment. For example, yields on government bonds have fallen to levels far below their long term averages, meaning that were yields to increase, investors might experience significant capital losses.

Countering the gloom, Hawksmoor is enthusiastic about the prospective returns offered by equity markets as prices are moving towards the bottom end of trading ranges we expect through 2010.

Strong companies should become stronger for globally markets are becoming increasingly homogenous as brands cross national borders. The money making potential of global franchises is immense and poorly recognised by investors.  We are very optimistic for companies paying sustainable dividends servicing a global economy that should grow even as western economies endure austerity. Companies overall are in a stronger position than governments and the consumer. We believe that investment opportunities abound in shares and corporate bonds in quality companies.

The best performing investments over the next few years could be those whose prices display volatility in the months ahead, and some of the worst performing investments could be those that investors now feel most comfortable holding.

Hawksmoor Investment Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority

Posted by: maxweath | May 8, 2010

Deal or no deal

The nations obsession with reality television, has latched on to politics in this UK election. I have always taken a personal and professional interest in politics but this year my teenage children were keen to join Dad in the all night election fest. As events unfolded during the night I found myself channel-hopping between Dimbleby and co on the beeb, and Bloomberg where US markets had fallen sharply with some anomolous trading. News flashes of rioters on the streets of Athens ensured that caffeine was not required to keep me awake.

The TV debates have certainly helped to reignite positive political engagement, which is healthy in a democracy like ours, but I have been surprised that people seem to have only just noticed the Liberal democrats. Nick Clegg exploited the “new kid” attraction to good effect,  which is ironic since the Liberals have been on the scene for about 150 years.

The other surprise is the apparent public desire for a “hung parliament” according to pollsters. At a time when the nation most requires political authority from a new Government to fix the economic and fiscal excesses of recent years, people seem ignorant of the mess we are potentially in. (yes that’s £1.4 Trillion pounds ). The labour government presided over 13 years without reform and now refuse to accept  that they have been rejected by the electorate, whilst squatting in Downing Street trying to reinvent the current rules to hang on to power. The statements from labour politicians on the media this morning were almost Mugabe-esque in their desperation to fool the electorate that they haven’t lost this election.

In the few schools across the land that still have any playing fields, labour policy has meant that there are no losers on school sports days. So it seems everyone is a winner in Brown’s Britain unless your name happens to be Cameron.

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