Investment adviser Alan Steel has died at the age of 74 following a month-long battle with Covid.

A crusader within the financial industry, he set up Alan Steel Asset Management in his hometown of Linlithgow in 1975. Three times voted the best investment IFA in UK-wide industry polling, the firm today employs 41 staff managing more than £1.5 billion of client assets.

Mr Steel was the first person in the industry to expose the Equitable Life scandal, and from there went on to challenge the poor performance of with-profits bonds. He also publicly challenged the flawed workings of the split capital investment trust.

Steve Forbes, managing director of Alan Steel Asset Management since 2005, said: “I, and many of my colleagues, called on Alan in our previous industry roles and we were always so impressed with his vast technical knowledge, the camaraderie of his staff and, of course his humour that when the offer came to join him, we all jumped at the chance.

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“Together we wanted to help him try to make his dream of retirement financial independence for Alan Steel Asset Management clients come true. And many of us have now been doing just that for over 25 years.

"He was a one off and a genius, of that there is certainly no doubt, but he was also a great visionary. Several years ago, he deliberately stood back from the day to day running of the business and assumed the role of company chairman. He couldn’t keep away from the office, of course, and each visit was always a breath of fresh air.

“His sudden passing has certainly hit us all very hard, but we take great comfort from the fact that his corporate vision and DNA are forever installed in all of us here in Linlithgow. Upholding these ideals now and well into the future will be our lasting tribute to a truly unique individual.“

He is survived by his wife Fran, son Malcolm and daughter Catherine, together with son-in-law Dylan and daughter-in-law Helen, and five grandchildren: Hannah, Cameron, Jackson, Frankton and Daisy.

Record-breaking year predicted for rare whisky investment

HeraldScotland:  Andy Simpson and David Robertson, co-founders of Rare Whisky 101 Andy Simpson and David Robertson, co-founders of Rare Whisky 101

The value of the UK's rare whisky market is expected to rise by 30 per cent this year, according to new figures released by broker Rare Whisky 101 (RW101).

Its analysis found that nearly 85,000 bottles of single malt Scotsh were sold on the secondary market during the first six months of 2021, with a value of more than £36 million. As such, RW101 expects the market to reach 172,500 bottles for the full year, a rise of 20% on the previous record set in 2019.

By value, this is predicted to be worth £75m, up by 30% on 2019’s record of £57.7m.

RW101 said the market was impacted by Covid lockdowns in 2020, resulting in a 3.4% decrease in the number of recorded bottles of single malt sold at auction in the UK last year.. Value dropped by 7.5% to £53.4m when compared with 2019.

However, the market witnessed a V-shaped recovery after the first lockdown was lifted in the UK. November and December 2020 set new records in terms of volume with more than 16,000 bottles of single malt sold at auction in the UK for the first time in each month. May 2021 also recorded 16,858 bottles sold.

Ryanair increases passenger growth forecast

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Low-cost carrier Ryanair said it expects to deliver more rapid traffic growth during the next five years than previously forecast with plans to open 10 new bases across Europe this year.

The group has raised its growth forecast from 33 per cent to 50%, meaning it expects to carry more than 225 million passengers by March 2026. That would be 25 million more than its previous target 200 million, and compares to pre-Covid traffic levels of 149 million.

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