So, here we are in the eye of the Corona Virus storm. Most of us worried about special friends and older family members. Those living alone missing interaction with others and those not living alone probably wishing by now that they did!
I’ve noticed a marked increase in marketing emails offering me up to 70% off leading brands, which as a woman I have of course taken full advantage of! But would I find a flash sale as appealing when it comes to investment opportunities too?
One of the worst feelings is when you’ve bought something before a sale starts and then see your purchase dramatically reduced … do you sell at that point at a great loss? Of course not, so why would you even consider doing that with your investments?
INVESTMENTS … Fight or flight?
Many investors might question at times like this ‘will my portfolio recover?’ That said, the more confident investors among us will see this as a buying opportunity (a sale) and they’d be absolutely right. My view? … seize the opportunity, but with a caveat … As the Russians used to say before Ronald Reagan stole it and used it against them: “Trust, but verify.” Think back to the basics, the reasons why you started your investment. Very often tax planning would have formed part of your decision, so try to remember why you bought your particular investment and how it benefits you.
I am often asked, why do I need a Life Assurance Bond as a wrapper? Why not just hold the underlying investments directly or use a Platform? There are a number of reasons for holding your investments in a Bond, too many to cover in this article. But the use of an Offshore Bond in particular can offer very valuable tax breaks for those living in the UK AND those living abroad, especially when it comes to making your money last as long as possible. Take a look at the graph below, which plots the effect of tax on growth (based on 4% net return pa) for three different types of investments; an onshore bond (one based in the UK), collective investments such as Unit Trusts, OEICs, UCITS or indeed a Platform in your own name, and an Offshore Bond (one typically based in Dublin or Isle of Man, the type you should have depends on where you are tax resident) …
The following graph plots the residual value of a £100,000 investment after 5% (£5,000) pa is withdrawn over a period of 20 years. The difference is the effect the tax payable along the way has on each type of investment.
So effective tax planning plays its part when considering your investments.
Let’s also consider the historical effect of Pandemics on the stock markets. The message isn’t new, it’s a great reminder to anxious investors that while current market performance may well be of concern, history tells us that a calm approach, patience and a longer-term view are likely to result in a better outcome than pressing the panic button.
Historically, data stretching back to the 1920’s shows the stock market will recover. The current market situation presents investors with a long-term view, the opportunity for entering the market with a diversified portfolio of assets 10-20% cheaper than mid-February 2020.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT MY PORTFOLIO WILL RECOVER?
To answer this you need to dig deep into your own portfolio, hence my suggestion to ‘trust, but verify’. A sizeable part of your portfolio should be invested globally, and most global funds typically invest around 50% in the US. So let’s take a closer look at the deeper elements of a global investment, at what’s going on in some of the global businesses you may be familiar with and may often see as a holding within your own investment portfolios. I regularly read investment fund manager reports following visits they have made to some of these businesses, absolutely essential reading for us as investment advisers to our clients … it’s no good playing ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ when it comes to picking underlying investment funds for our clients! Here’s what they had to say following a recent visit to businesses they’re either thinking of buying or are already invested in within the US …
Twitter’s management are focused first and foremost on their product. Profit is a distant second. This makes sense when you’re selling something: build the best and yell it from the rooftops, the profits should take care of themselves.
Amazon have opened around 25 Amazon Go Stores in the US. These automated stores have no checkouts, only a matrix of cameras and futurist tech that can determine who you are and what you take out of the store with you. One of them took two chocolate bars off the shelf, had a walk round, put one back and then departed. Checking his phone afterwards Amazon had deducted the cost of one chocolate bar from his account.
Very innovative Amazon for sure, which is crucial to the survival of any business (I learnt this when studying for my Masters degree in Innovation and Change), but is it a viable idea or a very expensive science experiment? Time will tell, but whichever way you look at it, Amazon have a successful business already that knows months ahead of time what you’re likely to buy and its octopus-like network can have it on your doorstep the very same day. This has made it the first port of call for hundreds of millions of people.
Perhaps less well known but worth a mention all the same. Clorox makes many products, including charcoal, lip balm and bleach. This company dates back to 1913 and its first product was bleach, so it’s safe to say it’s survived a fair few international disasters of one form or another in that time! A bit dull on the face of it compared to the likes of Twitter and Amazon, but dig deeper and it’s actually an extremely innovative business.
Take charcoal: they engineer it so it gets to optimal barbecue temperature in 12 minutes. They could cut that to five minutes, but their research shows customers tend to have a beer after they’ve lit the coals. The charcoal would lose much of its value before the punter had even started grilling! A small thing, but a consumer business like Clorox is built on a fortress of small things. Clorox spends more on its Research and Development than any of its peers. It uses digital platforms and simulation software to tinker with products, packaging, admin and supply chains to cut costs too.
OK, so when considering your own investment/pension portfolio, you need to be mindful of even more variables (that’s why I highly recommend you take advice from a QUALIFIED specialist in this area). Most people would not want the high level of risk associated with buying individual stocks and shares. Typically, most investors hold a bond/wrapper/platform within which there are a number of underlying collective investments … or at least, there should be a number of underlying collective investments!
There are four points in particular to take into consideration when thinking about your own investments …
1. Staying invested
As the old investment adage goes, it’s time in the market – not timing the market – which is key to returns. By delaying investments, or cashing in during a dip, you risk missing out on the best days in the market. The global economy has endured plenty of adversity over the decades, and yet the stock market has continued to climb, given time.
2. Compounding – time is everything
Compounding is extremely powerful when it comes to investing. Albert Einstein apparently described it as the eighth wonder of the world. It is, simply, earning returns on your returns. For instance, somebody earning a 5% return pa would see their investments grow by a compounded return of 63% after 10 years. After 20 years, this rises to 165%, and over 25 years it balloons to 239%. This demonstrates the cumulative effects that compounding has on capital.
3. Investing typically beats cash
Savings accounts typically struggle to keep pace with inflation, seeing savers lose value in ‘real’ terms. If you are prepared to accept the risk that comes with investing, and have time on your side, you give your wealth the greatest chance of growing and beating inflation over the long term.
4. You benefit from diversification
Our portfolios are well diversified. This means that your investments (and risk) is spread across different assets, across the globe – including equities, bonds and cash. Different assets typically will not react in the same way to sudden economic shocks, so a combination will limit how much your portfolio ebbs and flows in value. Over time, this reduces the impact of volatile periods on your investments’ overall performance.
CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR OWN INVESTMENTS?
If you’re concerned about your own portfolio, speak to Speed Financial Solutions today – and remember that the investment environment changes all the time, so have regular reviews of how your affairs are structured to ensure that your portfolio is aligned to your attitude to risk AND offers you sufficient diversification to reduce risk as much as possible.
If you would like assistance from us contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Speed Financial Solutions are a highly qualified financial services provider looking after clients throughout Spain and the UK. We provide a discreet and comprehensive service to individuals, and our service is tailored to suit your needs taking advantage of tactical opportunities as they arise in respect of your pension planning. We seek innovative solutions for our clients and employ our skills, based on many years of experience, to apply tax legislation to your advantage. Our relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. We are ready to answer your questions, giving you the confidence you want when dealing with a sensitive issue such as discussing your pensions, investments and savings.
Our Principal, Andrea Speed, is a qualified Discretionary Investment Manager specialising in Investment and Risk, Taxation and Trusts, and a qualified Pension Specialist. Andrea is also a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world.
Fellowship is the highest qualification awarded by the CII and is universally regarded as the premier qualification. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels.
Along with a Fellowship, Andrea is a CII Chartered Financial Planner.
Please take a look at our website – www.speedfinancialsolutions.com
For further information contact us on Tel 951 315 271 or 951 318 529
We are happy to discuss your own situation in more detail. One of our advisers would be pleased to spend some time with you either in your home or at our office to review your current savings, investments and pensions, so do call to make an appointment. Our Financial Review is completely free of charge and without obligation. Follow us on Facebook for regular updates.
The contents published are not recommendations or decision aids for your investment decisions and they do not constitute any type of advice. We are not tax advisers and independent tax advice should always be sought.
Andrea J Speed FPFS (DM), M.A.
Principal, Fellow and Chartered Financial Planner
Speed Financial Solutions
14 April 2020