After an unprecedented year that has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, global lockdowns, and the race for a vaccine, we end 2020 with some upbeat reflections from our Globe IFA colleagues, John Pickles and Tom Fawcett.
Read on for your Globe IFA Team Update.
John Pickles reflects on a year in sport and politics
Of course, 2020 has been an exceedingly difficult year for many of us. However, despite this, it’s easy to forget what an interesting year it has been for some.
The first surprise was when the much-fancied England rugby team were beaten by France in the Six Nations in early 2020.
Then a delightful era of peace and quiet reigned over Richmond and Twickenham due to the almost complete absence of inbound and outbound Heathrow flights because of lockdown. The weather was great back then too.
British driver, Lewis Hamilton, won the Formula 1 World Championship for the seventh time, equalling the record of Michael Schumacher. And he beat Schumacher’s record of 91 F1 race wins, accumulating a total of 95. Brilliant!
America provided more than the usual level of amusement with its presidential election. To say that the outcome has divided the USA would be to put it mildly. Whether President Biden will provide the same level of entertainment as his predecessor did, we shall have to wait and see.
Then, despite the earlier loss to France, England became the delayed Six Nations champions this Autumn.
To cap all that we’ve had the development and approval of Covid–19 vaccines in the UK within less than 12 months – a process that would normally take ten years.
France came very close to beating England in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup Final despite missing their top twenty best players. Ben Youngs, England scrumhalf, started with more international caps (99) than the entire French team put together (68 caps)!
To push England right to the wire with such an inexperienced team is something the French should be immensely proud of. Thank God the French are back! We shall see some exciting rugby from them, I expect. Anyway, England won their second championship cup of the year.
Don’t forget that other entertaining political show – the negotiations between the UK and the EU.
Whatever the outcome, you mustn’t forget what happened after the Spanish Flu which killed 50 million people just after World War I; far more than were killed in the conflict itself. On came the ‘Roaring Twenties,’ when a surging economy created an era of mass consumerism, not to mention the Jazz Age.
Possibly of even greater importance than the events that preceded it this year is the fact that Deep Mind has created AlphaFold, which can accurately predict the 3D structure of proteins from their DNA.
It can predict the structures of viruses, which is hugely significant. Work that previously took up a scientist’s entire PhD can now be done in a few days.
Professor Ewan Birney, a Cambridge biochemist was quoted in last week’s Sunday Times as saying “I nearly fell off my chair when I saw these results. This is a huge advance for science.” Deep Mind was founded by Demis Hassabis, (English), together with Shane Legg (a New Zealander) and Mustafa Suleyman (English).
So, 2020 has had its light as well as its dark. I am looking forward to 2021, which I hope will be a happy and prosperous year for everyone, particularly those who have suffered greatly during 2020.
By the way, I happen to know that Father Christmas will be appearing in person at our next-door neighbours’ house on Christmas Day itself(!) to deliver unexpected gifts to the two young daughters who live there, gifts that he forgot to leave when he visited them during the night.
Don’t ask me how I know that will happen. It just will.
Tom has this to say
2020 has been a watershed moment in most of our lives and certainly mine. Zoom, Teams, the good old-fashioned telephone, and all sorts of internet tools have been required to help us through these times, both for our business and our families.
Unfortunately, these tools will have to be the mainstay of client contact for a while longer. The good news is that we have light at the end of the tunnel. I, for one, will be heading for my vaccination at the first opportunity.
At the heart of what we do has always been (and always will be) physical client contact. I am so looking forward to seeing my clients again face to face. When I buy products and services, whether from companies or individuals I trust, I much prefer to be face-to-face.
I know my clients expect this, both from myself and Globe IFA, and it’s the reason I regard all client physical contact as so important. No amount of virtual reality makes up for real-life contact – that’s the social beings we all are.
More and more of my clients are now looking up valuations online for the investments I’ve set up for them over many years. This is great news and I encourage everyone to embrace the internet. Like it or not, it is with us forever.
With the ever-increasing amount of paperwork our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, requires providers to send to clients, the internet is a fantastic way to keep paper through the post at a minimum. And it’s better for the environment too.
Maybe that will create more room for all those Christmas presents you are about to open. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.