Retirement planning post Covid-19


Covid-19 is the sort of black swan event everyone theoretically prepares for but nobody expects.

So how does one structure a retirement portfolio to take account of such events as a global pandemic and the resultant economic shut-down?

How can pension investors get the income they need from their portfolio, given the fact the UK has punishingly low interest rates, dividends in the UK have been slashed and suspended, open-ended property funds remain gated and we just do not know what is around the corner?

In the latest FTAdviser podcast, Robin Kyle, senior manager, investment office, for Scottish Widows, said: "When we think about what has happened this year, the word that has been used a lot is 'unprecedented' and I think this is true. 

"If you look at the correlations across asset classes, everything really performed in line in March. Nobody could really have prepared for this. Investors in decumulation strategy often have a dynamic volatility system to take some of the risk off the table as markets decline, but the extent and the speed of the falls made it difficult for these strategies too, so a very difficult environment right now."

Also on the podcast was Robert Vaudry, managing director of Copia Capital. He said: "There are people with genuine concerns, particularly if they are just at that point when they were about to go into the decumulation stage, depending on how they are structured.

"The nature, the perfect storm of what happened, and how Covid-19 is the curveball in this model [makes this unprecedented], but we have seen other corrections before and we expected one in the lead-up to the 2020 US elections."

According to Mr Vaudry, it is therefore imperative that portfolios are structured to withstand even the unexpected, diversified enough and tailored to the clients' expected income needs in retirement. 

While both specialists spoke to the speed of the market recovery, they also acknowledged the real effect of the deterioration in UK gross domestic product on real people's lives and portfolios.

"The economic data is challenging", said Mr Kyle. "Markets might not be reflecting the economic reality and this might also create challenges for investors as they grapple with portfolios that may have recovered in value but where, if we look out to the US election or other future events, we might see things taking a bit of time for earnings to come back."

Whether the recovery is V-shaped, U-shaped, W-shaped or, as Mr Kyle commented, 'Nike-swoosh-shaped', the fact is that investors and their advisers will need to work harder to structure portfolios for the long-haul.

To listen to the full podcast click play on the video above or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or Acast.