One of the key factors behind the priceincreases is the demand in the retail market. DeBeers calculated that Chinese demand grew by25% in 2010 and this was supported by a 31%increase from India. The US market also beatexpectations with a full year growth of 7%. Charles Stanley's view is that "both the roughand polished diamond markets should continueto enjoy stable rising prices over the medium tolong term." This underpins their long termpositive view on both the commodity and thecompanies that offer investors exposure to thisasset class, offering an alternative orcomplementary investment to equities.The strength of the price of diamonds as acommodity has also had its effect in the auctionroom. James Nicholson is the international headof the jewellery and precious stones division ofauctioneers, and Cripps Harries Hallclient,Dreweatts. James explains that "so far 2011 hasseen a huge demand for good quality antiqueand period jewellery. Antique jewelleryrepresents an alternative home for cash in arecession when cash deposits yield next tonothing. Jewellery and diamonds in particularrepresent 'portable wealth' in a world-widecurrency."According to Dreweatts, there is a particularlystrong market for 18th and 19th century jewelleryas well as Edwardian and Art Deco examples.Dreweatts report that sale room prices for suchitems are up over 10% in the last 18 months onthe basis of supply and demand.Modern jewellery on the other hand has notfared so well. James explains, "retailers, to coverBond Street overheads of running anestablishment, will mark up prices by four to fivetimes what might be achieved in the auctionroom. It is a bit like buying a brand new BMWsports car from a dealer and then taking it backtwo months later when you will be lucky to gettwo thirds of the price paid."Investment in a commodity like diamonds is forthe 'sophisticated investor', says Cripps' privateclient partner Chris Wilkinson "increasingly indiversified total return portfolios, depending onthe client's appetite for risk, a modestproportion of the portfolio may be investedthrough a special purpose investment vehiclemore directly in commodities than in the past.However, direct investment in commodities byindividuals is not for the faint hearted, witnessthe dramatic rise and fall in the value of silverover the last 18 months."'Portable wealth', as described by JamesNicholson, in the form of diamond basedjewellery has its attractions in recessionarytimes, representing an alternative to cashdeposits and being a 'worldwide currency'. Italso benefits from favorable UK tax rules. "Forcapital gains tax," says Roger Holman senior taxmanager at Cripps, "investing in individual itemsof 'portable wealth' can be attractive in so far asany gain made on an item sold for less than£6,000 is exempt from tax and any gain on anitem sold for less than £15,000 will attract areduced rate of capital gains tax."However, there are risks and James Nicholson'sadvice is that the reason for purchase shouldprimarily be for the joy of owning and wearing abeautiful item. They are what is known as'passion investments' and what better exampleof that could there be than the illustrateddiamond and emerald locket given by the Dukeof Wellington to Lady Salisbury which wasrecently sold at Dreweatts auction atDonnington Priory.the diamondmarket hasbegun 2011withunabatedenthusiasmwith theroughdiamondmarket inthe firstquarterseeing pricerises up to 25%CRIPPSLIFE9FIND OUT MOREFor more informationon any points raisedin this article pleasecontact:Chris WilkinsonPartnerT:01892 506 184E:firstname.lastname@example.orgAn emerald and diamond heart locket pendant, dated 1851, agift from Arthur Duke of Wellington to his lifelong friend MaryCatherine Stanley, Countess of Derby, Marchioness of Salisbury,Estimate £3,000 - 5,000.
FIND OUT MORECamilla Beamish Solicitor T:01892 506 128E:email@example.comIf you would likefurther advice pleasecontact:onthe abolition of thedefault retirement ageHow is the law going to change?By abolishing the default retirement age (DRA),meaning employees cannot be forced to retire justbecause they have reached 65.What are the reasons for this change?Demographic changes mean that the population isageing and evidence indicates many people are notsaving enough to live comfortably in retirement. Byworking for longer, they will have the opportunity tobuild up retirement savings. In addition, the DRAhas been challenged as being inherentlydiscriminatory and unfair.If my employer has already served me withnotice of retirement is this still effective?If you are or will be 65 (or reach your company'snormal retirement age) before 1 October 2011, andyour employer has served you with notice ofretirement on or before 5 April 2011 and followedthe DRA procedure the notice will be effective.Under the DRA rules, an employer could give anemployee a maximum of 12 months' and aminimum of 6 months' notice of their retirement.Assuming my notice of retirement underthe DRA is effective can I make a requestto continue working beyond the proposedretirement date?You may request the retirement date be put back atany time between three and six months before theproposed retirement date. If your employer agreesto an extension, they are only likely to agree to arevised date of retirement that is six months or lessafter the proposed date. The reason for this isbecause any longer period would require theretirement process to be started again, which theemployer cannot now do.Can my employer continue to operate acompulsory retirement age after 1October 2011?Yes, but only if they can show that it is a'proportionate means of achieving a legitimateaim'. Employers will need to show that they haveweighed up the discriminatory effect of a fixedretirement age against the benefit achieved by thebusiness and that they have considered whetherthere is a less or non discriminatory way of achievingthe desired aim. Most employers are likely to find itdifficult to objectively justify a compulsoryretirement age.If I have already indicated to my employerthat I will retire on my 65th birthday can Ichange my mind now?If you have given formal written notice to leave onthat date, then your employer does not have toallow you to withdraw that notice. If the notice hasnot been given formally, it may be possible tochange your mind. Can my employer ask me when I plan toretire?Your employer should not ask you direct questionsabout your retirement plans if they want to avoid apossible claim for age discrimination. Generalquestions about your future plans are permissible,for example in the context of business planning oras part of a discussion about your career objectives.If you bring up the subject of retirement then theycan ask you about your plans. Can my employer stop providing me withbenefits such as private medicalinsurance, permanent health insurance orlife assurance just because I have reachedthe age of 65?Yes. These benefits will be exempt from the principle ofequal treatment on age grounds. Employers will be able to stop providing these benefits once you have reached the current state pension age of 65, even if you decide to continue working.From 1October2011employerswill nolonger beable todismiss theiremployeesjust becausethey havereached theage of 6510CRIPPSLIFEiQ&A