Rudolph, you are on mute!

By HarperLees

Welcome to our last full newsletter of 2020 and what a year it has been. It is fair to say that the year has brought many challenges to how we go about our lives and brought many strains on our collective health and mental wellbeing.

Positively, the situation has perhaps provided a stimulus to reset our priorities, lifestyle objectives and to encourage new ways of communicating. Who would have anticipated so many embracing the likes of Zoom and Teams for regular social and business-related meetings?!

Our newsletter title has been ‘borrowed’ from a brilliant Charity Christmas card from CALM. It seemed perfect for possibly the most used phrase of the year, with a Christmas slant!

As we head into 2021, the continued positive news for progress in the various vaccines offer optimism, whilst the worsening Covid case numbers are sobering and remind the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other.

Before you head into your deserved Christmas celebrations and family time, please take a few minutes to read our updates which include staff news at HarperLees, details of our new secure messaging system, an investment market update and suggested distraction ideas.

Incidentally, you may have seen reference to the ‘Wealth Tax’ …… We will provide our thoughts on the report findings in January.

Please click the links on all activities throughout the Newsletter for your enjoyment.

HarperLees – Staff News

We are pleased to welcome a new addition to our team – Liam Kempson, who is our Client Administrator. Liam’s details and bio can be found here.

HarperLees and Charitable Causes

Many charities have suffered huge financial consequences this year and we would encourage you to support your own favourites.

We decided to make our traditional donation to Little Havens Hospice in lieu of sending Christmas Cards. In addition, we had planned a Christmas dinner and dance in support of the same charity, but that was sadly cancelled. Our team decided the charity should not suffer and diverted the party cost as an additional donation.

We also usually have ‘Secret Santa’ presents amongst the team. However, a staff member suggested we support MIND instead and we were all delighted to agree.

Finally, we donated to Save The Children as part of Christmas Jumper day, with the result below:

HarperLees Client Portal

We have been working hard behind the scenes to improve the service that we offer to our clients.  One aspect that has become increasingly more important during the pandemic is the use of technology, especially for online communication.

The next step for HarperLees is to create a client portal, which will facilitate sharing, storing and the completion of your documents.  The key points are:

  • All documents are encrypted to maintain security.
  • The service is compatible with laptops, PCs, Smartphones and Tablets.
  • This method will save the need for multiple password entries on individual documents.

We will be writing with full details in January to set the portal up for you which will be accessed through our website here.

Wellbeing HUB

Sadly, the Christmas spirit does not seem to extend to the scammers. We have learned of two attempts on our clients recently.

The first is referred to as ‘One ring’ or ‘Wangiri’. This involves a call to your phone that cuts off before you reach it. The number looks genuine, but when the call is returned, it is charged at a premium rate. Our advice if you do not recognise the number is to wait for a voicemail, or simply ignore it.

The second was an email sent in advance of a second email. The first looked to authenticate the second which directed the recipient to a document supposedly waiting for them. It was a scam. However, one recipient unwittingly replied to check the message was ok and was assured by the fraudster that it was!

Our suggestion is to always check the real sending email address (not the name that shows) to make sure it matches. If in doubt, contact the sender by telephone and do not reply to the email.

Investment Market Update

It is that time of year when stock market professionals are asked for their predictions on what the forthcoming year might return. However, there are good reasons why they are frequently reticent to put a number on where they think markets might rest in twelve months’ time.

That said, Square Mile Investment Services provide their thoughts here.

Distraction Ideas

Our distraction suggestions are:

Zoom Talks about London – by Andrew Warde, a London Blue Badge guide. The talks will take you on a journey of exploration through London’s history, which may be a virtual visit to London’s Roman Wall or the west end’s Theatreland. This is an ideal way of hearing about and seeing the sights without leaving your home. Andrew’s talks can be booked here for just £5 per session.

Christmas Carols – the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra along with the Royal Choral Society and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain sing the world’s favourite carols from the Royal Albert Hall.

Handel’s Messiah – from the Philharmonia Chorus and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded live at Royal Albert Hall.

A Christmas Carol – a version by Jack Thorne at The Old Vic.

The Nutcracker – from The Royal Opera House.

Cinderella – the classic pantomime for all the family, presented by The Mercury Theatre in Colchester.

Advice and Assistance

We will be closing for the Christmas break on 22 December, returning on Monday 4 January. If an urgent matter arises, please email me.

Otherwise, we wish you a very happy, safe and healthy Christmas and New Year.

With our very best wishes.