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Absolute return promises – easy to make, but hard to keep.

The combination of short-term market uncertainty, human nature and an immediately attractive sounding moniker for an investment is a marketing man’s dream.  The investment industry has been masterful at constructing and selling such products, not least ‘absolute return’ products,  which employ active management strategies that seek to deliver positive (absolute) returns in any market conditions i.e. up, down or sideways, with minimal losses.   By way of background, in June 2016 net inflow into these funds was…
31st August 2016

Your adviser’s role as your investment coach

The hardest part of investing is having the confidence and emotional fortitude to...

It is always tempting to judge the value of your adviser on the recent performance of your investment portfolio.  That is unfair as it fails to understand both the true value that a good adviser delivers with respect to investments and the fact that no manager can control the returns that the market delivers.  A good adviser can earn their ongoing annual fee several times over, simply by helping clients to have patience, fortitude and discipline in their investing.  As the founder of…
17th August 2016

The foundation stones of good investing

Investing is the process of delaying consumption from today to some time in the future and employing that money in the meantime in the markets to grow at a rate at least in line with inflation, but preferably more.  Investing money well requires a logical and robust framework on which to build a lifelong investment programme.  Ten foundation stones provide the solid base on which to build such a programme. Foundation stone 1: Have faith in capitalism and confidence in the markets…
30th June 2016

So it is ‘leave’…

The UK has woken up this morning to a vote to leave the EU, the Prime Minister is set to leave office in October and the markets are suffering a bout of jitters.  We all knew that these were possibilities.  To some this is a good day, to others it is not.  But we are where we are and we need to look forward to where we go from here. We should not, however, lose sight of the fact that what…
24th June 2016

The outcome of the referendum and your portfolio

The impact of a leave vote on your portfolio As the referendum to remain in, or leave, the European Union draws near, we thought it would be a useful time to touch base and provide some reassurance that the investment portfolio that we look after for you is well positioned to weather any investment storms ahead.    In this brief note, we raise a number of potential risks that exist and how these are mitigated, to a large extent,…
10th June 2016

The fall and decline of buy-to-let?

The British continue their love affair with being buy-to-let landlords.  After all, with bank deposit and mortgage rates so low, and a rapidly rising property market, it all seems so simple: take your cash and make a 20% down payment on a buy-to-let property and borrow the rest at a low rate of interest; then find a tenant – perhaps one of the younger generation who cannot afford to get on the housing ladder – who will pay rent in excess of the…
30th April 2016

The ordinariness of market falls

Short term losses are common and a central part of growing wealth Unfortunately, humans are hard wired to ignore their rational thought processes and to focus in on, and become emotional about, adjustments to share prices.  Three key behavioural flaws, deeply embedded over millions of years surviving as a species, work against us. The first is immediacy; this is the propensity to focus on something that is happening or has just happened, such as the readjustment of the outlook for global…
29th February 2016

A bad start to the year…so far…

It is never a nice feeling when markets go through periods when they fall; and it certainly does not help to settle the nerves when we see sensationalist headlines like ‘RBS cries “sell everything” as deflationary crisis nears.’ (Daily Telegraph) or ‘Worst start to market year in two decades’ (FT.com).   To feel unsettled is natural; to panic and sell out of equities is an unreasonable overreaction to the normal workings of the…
19th January 2016

Expected portfolio returns – there are no guarantees

All investors know that risk and return are related – taking on more (sensible)...

Estimating future asset class and portfolio returns is an important – if tricky – part of the financial planning process.  Advisers may provide clients with an ‘expected’ rate of return for a portfolio as a guide to what it might deliver, on average, over time.  These forward looking assumptions are best based on a horizon of 20 years or more.  Trying to make short-term guesstimates of market returns in the next year or two would be speculation.  In a statistical sense, the ‘expected’…
31st December 2015

Crowdfunding: peer-to-peer lending– a fad or the future?

Much has been written over the years about the increasing disintermediation of the...

Peer-to-peer lending – a fad or the future? Something quite remarkable is going on in the world of finance; it is the disintermediation of traditional financial services providers.  The internet is revolutionising the way in which consumers access traditional financial services.  Crowdfunding is one such area where the middle man (the bank) is being replaced by internet based models.  Put simply, crowdfunding is about matching those who need to borrow money with those who have it and are seeking a return for its…
31st August 2015

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