A 30 Year Timeline of Financial Advice

28th February 1986 and…

  • Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme is assassinated in Stockholm
  • Billy Ocean was in the UK Top 5 with “When the going gets tough, the Tough Get going…”
  • Howard Northover leaves the Norwich Union

Three entirely related events (time has revealed) and so it was that Howard took two days off before starting with ES Walton & Co Ltd on 3rd March 1986, when nothing else happened in the world, other than Howard began his now thirty-year stint.

In that time, Howard has seen…

  • The rise of Regulation of Advice (23rd April 1987) when it was decided that financial advisors needed someone to keep them in line.
  • Black Monday stock market crash (19th October 1987), when stock markets fell so sharply, that they couldn’t calculate the FT-SE indices.
  • Britain pull out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (17th September 1992) costing the country about £10 billion in lost reserves and a two stage interest rise to 15%
  • The Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, starting with the actions of BNP Paribas on 9thAugust 2007 to terminate hedge fund withdrawals for three funds. It threatened a total collapse of banks and involved loans, in the UK alone, of as much as £850 billion to prop the banks up (I think that this is an American billion [nine noughts] as opposed to an old British billion, which was 12 noughts!)
  • Interest rates on savings as high as 13.56% in 1990, down to about 1.4% now. And retail price inflation at 9.3% in 1990 and 1.2% today


I didn’t think, when I walked in to the offices of ES Walton & Co Ltd, in Irwell Chambers on the 3rd March 1986, that I would still be here 30 years later, but I very evidently am.

During this time there have been periods of calm, but stock market history is always peppered with the shocks and bad news. Through all of this though, it has been important to remain disciplined and realise that the financial markets are about time, not timing.

So, whilst the markets have been volatile of late, ending just above 6,140 for the FT-SE 100, it was only 1,543.9 when Howard joined ES Walton… time flies when you’re having fun. We hear of people wanting to jump out of the market whilst things are rough, and jump back in when things are smooth.

People are emotional when it comes to investments because it can be a bit of a roller-coaster. But it’s important to remain disciplined. Over the longer term, stock markets will reward you if you have patience and discipline.

If you’d invested 1 pound in 1956 and left it patiently until 2014, then you can see the effects that the various stock markets have had on your pound

In the 30 years that Howard has been with ES Walton & Co Ltd the markets have seen one or two crises. The best case scenario is to be “out of the markets” whilst any financial crisis is going on and then jump back in, when it is all over. However, market timing is very hard to achieve.

One thing that we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history, but in the 30 years that I’ve been with ES Walton & Co Ltd the evidence is very strongly in favour of remaining disciplined and calm during stock market upheaval.

Here’s to another 30 years!

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