February 2019: skinny update

For those of you clamouring for my February portfolio update (not), I’m not doing a full monthly report in my usual style.

I am still tracking my portfolio monthly, and I am posting the monthly figures here. February was pretty cool, and 2019 has definitely got off to a fine start.

I am continuing to do my ‘market performance, by asset class’ analysis and posting it on Twitter.


I intend to move to a quarterly rhythm for my more discursive approach. I don’t think monthly detailed posts were really adding much value. If you disagree please let me know in the comments as I will reconsider.

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I’ve lost everything through a cyber theft

This post is a response to @SavingNinja’s Thought Experiment #4.

@SavingNinja poses the following challenge, and asks for a ‘stream of consciousness’ reply:

You wake up one rainy morning and after checking on your accounts you find out that you’ve been ‘wiped-out’ by a cybercriminal. You’ve lost all of the money and assets that you’ve ever owned and you can’t get them back. What will you do?

Thought Experiment #4 by @SavingNinja

My first reaction is to clarify exactly what I have lost. I don’t accept the premise that I have lost all the money/assets I’ve ever owned; for starters, I’ve spent some of those! So for purposes of this discussion I’ve lost all the assets that can be retrieved via online / written instructions to banks/brokers/etc.

This loss is catastrophically bad for me. It amounts to:

  • £100k+ of cash in various accounts
  • £millions of publicly quoted investments in my own numerous brokerage accounts
  • £00ks of assets in Mrs FvL’s accounts and brokerages that I have access to

SavingNinja tells me I can’t get them back. I am not going to take that at face value and am going to find a very competent lawyer, agree a performance-related fee structure, and send them hard at everybody that moves. I am going to consider going public with my predicament and creating an almighty fuss that my banks, brokers, etc will find embarassing at least. But, for the sake of argument, SavingNinja proves right and I can’t retrieve more than, say a few £000s of goodwill gestures.

I do however have a few remaining assets.

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January 2019: many happy returns

I had a decent break over the New Year period, and whiled away far too much time reading blogs/etc. I felt very up to date, at the time.  Now of course I can’t remember what actually happened in January – proving the point of Nassim Taleb/others.

Overall I don’t think January was that notable for world politics/markets.  Davos saw the usual flurry of policy-making headlines, but nothing stood out for me.  

Closer to home Brexit dominated the news media, with as expected the UK government’s EU deal being rejected by a thumping majority in parliament.  For some reason markets have reacted fairly favourably to these developments, I think because they appear to suggest ‘no deal’ looks very unlikely.  I can’t say I am as sanguine, but in any case the pound rose to $1.33 at some point and ended the month over 2% up against the USD.

Equities recovered over half of their Q4 falls.  Everywhere.  Especially some tech stocks (Amazon up 13%, Facebook up 25% (!)).  Even bonds rose gently.  Sentiment has changed dramatically, without any particular data or hard facts to point to.  Sigh.

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