The key to successful investment is asset allocation - the allocation of funds between the main choices or ‘asset classes’ open to you as an investor:
- Shares (equities): have historically produced the highest returns over long periods of time, but in the shorter term their values have been subject to greater fluctuation. This fluctuation can be higher for non-UK shares because their value is affected by changes in currency values.
- Fixed investments usually offer a higher income than shares and the possibility of increased capital values, but their values can still fluctuate.
- Commercial property sits between shares and fixed investments in terms of its investment characteristics.
- Absolute return funds and structured products are a new asset class which use money market instruments in an attempt to produce a positive return which will exceed the return on cash, regardless of market conditions.
- Cash is the safest type of investment, but holds no prospect of capital growth, and values are therefore likely to be eroded by inflation over time.
- Take a look at The Investment Spectrum within each of the asset classes. Our task is to achieve a spread of investments which achieves your investment objectives with regard to your tolerance to risk and time horizons. This boils down to balancing safety and return, and in order to assist this process we have given each asset class a risk rating on a scale of 1 to 5, (5 is the highest risk in relative terms).
Core Holding Theme: Our recommendations are based on choosing investment funds within what is known as a "Core Holding Theme". The Core Holding is the central part of the portfolio that aims to be consistent and reliable year after year and this is the foundation of the portfolio. Additional funds, referred to as "Satellite" funds, will be added to the Core Holdings in order to meet specific aims and the risk profile of the individual investor. The optimum balance is often achieved by mixing higher and lower-risk investments and selecting investments which are likely to behave differently in given economic and market conditions. For many investors, a suitable starting point or Core Holding might be a multi-manager or multi-asset fund, which combines at least two asset classes and therefore offers greater inherent stability.
Funds & managers: Having determined the composition of the portfolio at the generic level, we then go on to select the most suitable funds and managers. We confine our choice to collective investments rather than suggesting direct holdings in shares or other securities because collective funds help to spread risk by investing in a large number of securities, and they also provide the benefit of expert securities management. Another advantage of funds is that they are available through a different range of "tax wrappers" - for example, Unit Trusts and Open Ended Investment Companies; ISA's, Pension and Investment Bonds - which enable the holder to improve returns by reducing the tax charge. Our selection of a suitable tax-wrapper is based on each client's individual tax status.