BBC Radio Scotland – Amanda Forsyth on “Good Morning Scotland”


Amanda Forsyth – Investment Manager & Business Development

Corporate acquisitions take centre stage as Amanda Forsyth and BBC Radio Scotland’s Andrew Black discuss Mike Ashley’s ability to meet the needs of all of House of Fraser’s stakeholders, before moving on to Bain’s bid for esure and John Menzies’ sale of their newsprint distribution business.
And Country Music.

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BBC Radio Scotland – Amanda Forsyth on “Good Morning Scotland”


Amanda Forsyth – Investment Manager & Business Development

Amanda Forsyth and BBC Radio Scotland’s Andrew Black discuss the difference between escalating trade tariffs and full-blown trade war between the US and China; the pressures that the proposed alliance between Tesco and Carrefour is designed to alleviate; and the attractions of debt when interest rates are low.

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BBC Radio Scotland – Amanda Forsyth on “Good Morning Scotland”


Amanda Forsyth – Investment Manager & Business Development

Amanda Forsyth and BBC Radio Scotland’s Andrew Black discuss the challenges Christopher Edwards might face in resuscitating the ailing Poundworld; the emerging trends in UK employment and wages; and the likely trading performance of Scottish cloud hosting business Iomart.

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BBC Radio Scotland – Amanda Forsyth on “Good Morning Scotland”


Amanda Forsyth – Investment Manager & Business Development

Amanda Forsyth and BBC Radio Scotland’s Andrew Black discuss the drivers that have pushed the FTSE 100 Index to a new high; the likely mix of business reported in the forthcoming update from Halfords; Galliford Try’s trials over the Aberdeen bypass; and Bloomsbury Publishing’s uses for their cash pile.

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The MAM Blog – Scottish Income Tax Rates


Richard Johnston – Financial Planning Director

The Scottish Parliament now has much greater power to adjust income tax rates for Scottish residents and has taken the opportunity to do so for 2018/19.

  • Firstly, the higher rate of tax has been increased from 40% to 41%, with the threshold restricted to £43,430. The corresponding level in the rest of the UK is £46,350.
  • Secondly, the basic rate of income tax has been split into three bands – the first £2,000 being taxed at 19% (the ‘starter’ rate), the next £10,150, being taxed at 20% (the new ‘basic’ rate) and the remaining £19,430 taxable at 21% (the ‘intermediate’ rate).
  • Finally, the additional tax rate, applying to income above £150,000, has been increased to from 45% to 46%.
  • This divergence creates some complexities because the Scottish Parliament’s powers do not extend to savings interest, dividends or Capital Gains Tax – all of which work by being added to the individual’s other taxable income to determine the rate at which they are payable.

    In addition, National Insurance (NI) rates and thresholds are not controlled by the Scottish Parliament. For example, as NI rates are 12% for basic rate taxpayers and 2% for higher rate taxpayers, Scottish taxpayers’ earnings between £43,430 and £46,350 will therefore now be taxed at 53% (i.e. 41% + 12%), before falling back to 43% beyond this.

    Personal pension and charitable contributions are also affected, as the default rate of relief applied remains at 20%, but a Scottish taxpayer will have the right to claim the additional 1%.

    It is therefore clear that the changes introduced will not only lead to additional tax for Scottish taxpayers, but potentially some confusion and administrative burden.

    BBC Radio Scotland – Amanda Forsyth on “Good Morning Scotland”


    Amanda Forsyth – Investment Manager & Business Development

    Amanda Forsyth and BBC Radio Scotland’s Gillian Marles discuss the maturing of the Apple business model; the renaissance of growth at BP; the difference that home delivery makes to Just Eat and Pizza Express; and the management changes at Johnston Press.

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    The MAM Blog – Bitcoin


    Charles Robertson – Senior Investment Manager

    Having returned recently from the USA there was one topic of conversation that frequently occurred and it wasn’t what you would have thought. It was ‘should I invest in Bitcoin’?

    Bitcoin is a virtual or cryptocurrency that was created in 2009. Created/’mined’ by computer code they exist within an interlinked computer system and the maximum number in circulation will be limited to 21 million. A ledger, Blockchain, can store, monitor and be used to exchange the Bitcoin in the ‘real world’ or on-line economies. It is perceived to be attractive because of the limited supply, the lack of regulation and anonymity it affords and the lack of government control. The last two features means that it has also been associated with on-line criminal activity. Bitcoin has displayed a staggering increase in value from 6 cents in August 2010 to more recently when the price has exceeded $8000. The number of exchanges where Bitcoin can be traded and the number of retailers prepared to accept Bitcoin has also increased exponentially. The price has displayed a staggering level of volatility, but after each dramatic fall it has so far recovered and pushed higher.

    Perhaps it is the rise in value that has prompted so much discussion and persuaded so many investors to become involved. People are prepared to trade and accept Bitcoin because other people are prepared to accept Bitcoin. If this source of demand is materially reduced for whatever reason (and my best guess would be some form of synchronised interference by governments) then recent investor behaviour does start to look a lot like ‘a mania’, the epitome of the so-called ‘greed trade’.

    This week saw the launch of Glint Pay Services which has the aim of ‘re-introducing gold as money’. Based on a debit card and supported by mobile technology, it will allow people to store rights to gold i.e. a very different type of currency to Bitcoin. Gold as a currency has been in existence for nearly 3000 years, but over the past few years the performance has fallen well short of the price rise seen in Bitcoin. However, I can say with a degree of certainty that gold will have a value in 10 years’ time, but I am far less confident about making the same statement about Bitcoin, particularly if we are in a period of investor mania. So would I invest in Bitcoin right now? The answer would be no, but the development of cryptocurrencies is a phenomenon that is likely to last and so should be monitored carefully.

    On my trip the ‘Trump effect’ was also discussed a fair amount, but I will save that for another time – perhaps it should be in the form of a Tweet!