Marginal Gain – December 2023

Welcome to our December edition of Marginal Gain. I hope you are well and on track for a relaxing festive period. Our office is just about to ‘go festive’ with our Christmas tree going up and a lot of tinsel popping up everywhere! In this edition, we share an interesting read on ‘Dog’ Funds. We also confirm our office opening over the festive period. In addition, we are sharing details of a great local charity that we as a company support all year round with additional focus during the winter season. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Jonathan Howard


Office Hours

For our team at Richmond House to benefit from some quality time away from work, our last working day will be Friday 22nd December and we will be open again on Tuesday 2nd January 2024. Any emails or messages sent within that holiday period will be actioned when we are back on the 2nd.


Feed Up and Warm Up

Feed Up, Warm Up is a local charity who help homeless people, and struggling families, with food and clothing donations which is especially welcomed during the cold season. The charity provide guidance on what they know helps the recipients the most and provide details of local drop off points where they co-ordinate and manage the distribution of what is given by individuals and companies supporting this very worthwhile charity. Richmond House staff are extremely supportive and we have an area in the office where donated goods are already building up. We would very much welcome our clients, whether individual or corporate to also support this charity and if you wish to do so, below is some information that you will need to know:

Donations can be dropped into our Stevenage office at Premier House between 8am and 5pm Mon to Thurs or can be dropped off at the Feed Up Warm Up centre at Stevenage Football Club before Christmas. Further drop off options can be obtained by contacting Feed Up, Warm Up directly on 01462 659139 or

Donations requested by Feed Up, Warm Up are:

Food donations – Pot Noodles, Semi-Skimmed UHT Milk – 500ml cartons, Baked Beans (with ring pulls), Small bottles of water, Tea Bags, Small jars of coffee, Cereal, Cereal Bars, Small sugar packs, Tinned Meals (with ring pulls), Tinned Fruit (with ring pulls), Tinned Rice Pudding, Tinned Tuna, Mini Jelly Pots, Pasta Sauces, Tinned Soup (with ring pulls), Cup a Soup, Crisps, Chocolate & Sweets, Biscuits, Pasta and Rice.

Clothing and other items Shower Gel, Baby Wipes, Toilet Rolls, Mens Deodorant, Tents (1-4 man), Sleeping Bags, Ground Mats, Rucksacks or holdalls, Mens S/M tops & t-shirts, Mens Trousers (28″,30″,32″ & 34″), Mens S/M Jackets & Sweatshirts, Mens New Socks & Pants, Mens Trainers, Womens New Socks & Underwear, Womens Sandals, Xmas items- sweets, chocolate etc.

Marginal Gain

‘Dog’ Funds

According to the latest data1, the number of ‘dog’ funds have increased by 27% since February this year, that represents 56 equity investment funds versus 44 earlier in the year, but a reduction on the 86 dog funds identified in January 2022.

A ‘dog’ fund is defined as one which has failed to beat its benchmark over three consecutive 12-month periods and has underperformed by 5% or more over that entire three-year period.

Almost three-quarters of the dog funds’ total asset value (£32.14bn, up from £4.49bn) can be attributed to the global sector, where the number of dog funds rose from 11 to 24 during the period.

A sense of perspective

We all know that investment performance can be impacted by many factors and as the risk warning says – past performance is no guide to the future. If a fund has found itself in the doghouse it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be disposed of immediately. The fund managers are likely to be taking action to improve the performance, perhaps changing managers or redesigning the fund’s investment strategy. Sometimes it can be worth retaining a fund while it’s undergoing this process. Importantly, knowing why a fund is underperforming will inform the right course of action. That’s what we can determine.

Review review review

Trust us to identify any poor performers and advise you whether it’s worth sticking with those funds for the time being, or whether it’s time to look for other opportunities. There are many factors to consider in addition to fund performance before taking any action, such as your risk attitude, tax position and overall asset allocation, so rely on us to advise the appropriate course of action.

1Bestinvest, 2023


Let’s talk it through

A pandemic closely followed by a cost-of-living crisis has undoubtedly created a challenging financial backdrop for us all and inevitably heightened money-related stress and anxieties. At times like these, it’s more important than ever to open up and talk any concerns through with loved ones or a professional adviser in order to protect both financial and mental wellbeing.

An intricate link

The sheer volume of negative news stories relating to the economy and household finances makes it almost inevitable that this doom and gloom plays on people’s minds. Research highlights a clear, if intricate, link between financial and mental health, with a poll conducted by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute revealing that 86% of people experiencing mental health problems believe their financial situation worsened their mental wellbeing.

Long-term outlook

While it is obviously normal to worry about finances, things are not usually as bad as people fear. This is particularly true for those who have developed a well-structured long-term financial plan. In this case, talking through any potential problems with us typically provides much-needed reassurance and can ease any concerns you may have.

Emotional value of advice

Indeed, while financial advice clearly delivers benefits on many fronts, emotional support is one aspect particularly valued during challenging economic times. We are able to provide clients with a more holistic market insight that considers positive as well as negative factors and provides a sharp focus on potential opportunities. This can bring considerable comfort and peace of mind to clients, with the reassurance of knowing long-term financial plans remain firmly on track.

We’re here for you

So, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious about any aspect of your finances please get in touch.