Time, an interesting concept, especially in the world of investments. Clients often ask ‘when is the best time to invest?’ ‘what return can I expect each year?’ ‘is it best to keep my money in cash until such a time as the markets pick up?’
23March 2020 – what was different about this particular day?
On Monday 23 March 2020 the British Prime Minister announced the initial three weeks of tough measures to beat the spread of Coronavirus … shops and businesses were closed, public gatherings prohibited and weddings cancelled! As we all navigate the Coronavirus lockdown and many of us adapt to the “work-from-home era,” extreme shifts in economic expectations have been reflected in financial markets.
This was the day both the UK and American indices fell to their lowest. Take a look at the following charts, which show the movement of both financial markets year to date in 2020:
As you can see from the charts above, the 23 March 2020 represented the lowest point in both the FTSE 100 and the S&P 500 and therefore the optimum day to invest. Since then we have seen a rise in the markets and although we will continue to see further volatility, if we look back on the FTSE 100 chart below covering 1984 to date, we can clearly see that historically a strong growth period follows sharp dips.
Some investors may be fearful of what the future might bring. The biggest killer of growth is typically not economic factors, but emotionally driven decisions based on fear. If you take away emotion and look at the bigger picture, we are being presented with an opportunity to pick up a bargain and invest at a discount. Investing sooner rather than later will mean you will not miss the growth when it comes.
Putting aside the financial markets, it is true to say that we are still in the midst of this pandemic and most people are still trying to come to terms with the impact it has had on everyone’s life globally. At the same time we’ve seen dolphins and whales swimming in places not normally seen, the repair of the largest hole in the ozone layer, and neighbours who have previously probably barely said hello exercising together in the street!
Return to Freedom
As Governments signal a phased and steady return to freedom, we will slowly but surely see a return to what is now being referred to as the ‘new normality’. But what does the ‘new normality’ look like?
As I write this, New Zealand is considering introducing a four-day working week to help boost domestic tourism, productivity and correct historically poor work/life balance.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has flagged the idea of using the shorter working week and including additional public holidays as part of a “nimble” and creative approach to resuscitating the economy. New Zealand’s strict seven-week lockdown has been praised around the world for stopping the spread of Covid-19 in its tracks. Of its 5 m population, New Zealand has had 1,153 Covid-19 cases and 21 deaths.
At the time of her appointment as Prime Minister in 2017, she became the world’s youngest female head of government, achieving office at age 37.
“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.” (Jacinda Ardern)
Later becoming the world’s second elected head of government to give birth while in office (after Benazir Bhutto) when her daughter was born on 21 June 2018, she said …
“I am sure having a baby around a working environment changes the tone a little bit.”
A PM who makes her ministers travel to events in vans together to save tax payers money, this premier lady definitely brings imaginative, fresh ideas to the world of politics together with a progressive mindset and is courageous enough to bring about radical changes. Maybe the world of politics needs more ‘Jacinda Arderns’!
The ‘whisper’ in the financial sector is that we may well see a rally in the markets in June. So, if you are currently sat in cash, or in mediocre investments that have not benefited from previous rallies, now is the time to review your portfolio and invest tactically over the coming weeks. If you don’t, you run the risk of missing out on some fantastic growth.
Which investments should I buy?
This depends on a number of factors, too many to include here, but broadly includes your residency status for tax, the period you are able to invest for, your income requirements and your attitude to risk. Typically, clients hold investments within a Platform or a Bond. I discussed in my last article how effective tax planning plays its part when considering investments so for more on tax planning read my article entitled ‘Back to Basics’ http://www.speedfinancialsolutions.com/back-to-basics/
I am also often asked, why do I need so many underlying investments? The reason is twofold, to reduce risk whilst at the same time include tactical opportunities. I have also referred to this in a previous article ‘Battening down the hatches’ http://www.speedfinancialsolutions.com/battening-hatches-eye-storm-coronavirus/ .
There are many different asset classes that an investor can choose, each possessing different risk characteristics and growth potential. There is no guarantee that the sector that performs well one year will be top the next. The graph below demonstrates how risk can be reduced by increasing the number of underlying investments and the importance of not trying to cherry pick just two or three to hold within your portfolio.
Let’s also consider liquidity risk. The inclusion of a small number of underlying investments increases your dependence on those investments for growth and their ability to pay redemptions. Any investment fund that suffers large outflows has to create the cash to cover those outflows, and often that means selling assets off at a loss. In order to avoid this scenario a fund can ‘stagger’ or ‘suspend’ redemptions, let’s not forget the renowned fund Manager Neil Woodford and his fund’s liquidity problems … even the mighty can fall. By holding a diversified number of underlying investments, you automatically reduce the liquidity risk.
What do I need to look for when reviewing my own portfolio?
The investment selection process, investment philosophy, integrity, qualifications and experience of your investment adviser all play a part in the makeup of any investment portfolio. ‘Qualified’ covers a broad spectrum ranging from very basic qualifications to the highest specialist. To say one ‘specialises’ in investments or pensions for instance, can mean that the adviser focuses on those areas but is not necessarily ‘qualified’. I recommend that you always check the level of qualifications your adviser holds.
Investing typically beats cash
Savings accounts typically struggle to keep pace with inflation, so money held in the bank/building society will lose value in ‘real’ terms. With the best ISAs currently offering a fixed rate of 1.65% PA gross for locking your cash up for 7 years, savings accounts leave a lot to be desired when you consider that the UK inflation rate is currently at 1.94%.
Interest rates are likely to remain low for a long time, resulting in a loss of buying power for savers. If you are prepared to accept the risk that comes with investing, and can invest for five years or more, you can give your savings the greatest chance of growing and beating inflation over the long term, even if you need to take an income or withdrawals from your investment during that time.
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
21 May 2020