The party that you don’t want to leave too early

By 2025, 60% of UK wealth will be in the hands of women, according to Hydi Yip, a private banker at Kleinwort Hambros in London. Yip was speaking at the third Kleinwort Hambros Women in Business event, held on a sunny September morning at the private bank’s St James’s Square offices with an audience that comprised around 60 women in professional services, such as lawyers and accountants.

“This year, Kleinwort Hambros has been working on a number of projects with a particular focus on females,” said Ms Yip. “We became one of the founding partners of WealthiHer, an initiative created with ambitions to better cater, understand and champion female clients’ wealth.”

The attendees were invited from Kleinwort Hambros’ network of professionals, for which the event has proved to be an inspiration. “We host our own events, including regular ladies’ breakfast, with the next based on wellbeing,” said Jade Sawyers, who works at Sopher + Co, a London-based accountancy firm. “There are more role models in the media and even Barbie has launched a range of dolls, which serves to encourage more women to embrace careers in science, technology, maths, engineering and airline pilots.”

Ms Sawyers acknowledged the need for the changes to be driven from the top, while also being done in a balanced fashion, a theme echoed by Laura Talabi, a private banker at Kleinwort Hambros. “Quotas undervalue women,” said Ms Talabi. Ms Talabi noted the constant need for change, particularly in the traditional roles assigned to women.

Networking was followed by an investment presentation from Christiane Elsenbach, a fixed-income director at Kleinwort Hambros. “I am usually the odd one out, but this time we are all the same,” said Ms Elsenbach.

A house view of the financial markets followed, with Ms Elsenbach noting continued uncertainty over when the longest rising markets cycle in history – dating back to March 2009 – will come to an end. “We have had risk-on, risk-off for such a long time,” said Ms Elsenbach. “It’s hard to call it off because at the end of the rally, just before a recession, you make a fifth of the returns over a cycle. You don’t want to leave the party too early, but you do not want to be called too late.

“We have this Goldilocks world of not too cold, not too hot,” said Ms Elsenbach. “Growth has slowed down, unemployment is good, inflation is low, the central bank cavalry is always at hand. There is the occasional fright – when someone drops a drone over the oil refineries in Saudi Arabia.”

To cut a long story short, economic growth has slowed and it is looking like the end of the cycle; there are no strong indicators that the equity market will see a long-lasting correction anytime soon, according to Ms Elsenbach, a fixed-income specialist who is usually more concerned about that asset class. “The central banks’ tool box is getting very small and there is now not much you can throw at a recession if there is a real one,” said Ms Elsenbach.

“However, the bond market offers many more shadings than most investors less familiar with the slightly more complex asset class know,” said Ms Elsenbach. “Fixed income can offer tail-risk hedges but also income opportunities.”