2020 proved to be a year that is unlikely to be easily forgotten, a year in which Brexit negotiations and the looming end of the transition period were expected to dominate headlines. Instead, the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, rapidly spreading across the globe and forcing lockdowns to be applied to the majority of the worldwide population. Although several global stock indices did finish the year at record breaking highs, the FTSE 100, which tracks the largest 100 UK companies, ended 2020 having fallen by around 15% over the course of the year.
The overseas equities held by the Society had a remarkable year, with the Fidelity Emerging Markets fund, and the Fidelity Global Special Situations fund, which now equal a combined 14% of the with-profits fund, returning 25% and 22% respectively.
The property portfolio returned a respectable 2% over 2020, with an average of 5% per year over the past five years highlighting the merits of the diversification within the directly held properties.
The Society’s overall assets grew by 5% to a record £183m, illustrating that by ensuring a strong level of diversification, positive returns are achievable in volatile markets.
Despite the fall in the UK index, the Society’s with-profits fund provided an overall return of 3.7%.