The world of investments can seem a daunting place. It is important to have a basic understanding of how investment planning decisions are made before carrying out any investments.
This section provides some brief information to help you understand investments and also starts to explain how we provide our investment solutions.
There are many factors that will contribute to how your investment portfolios should be constructed. Also, each investor is different and no two people will have exactly the same objectives.
For you it may be a way to pay off your mortgage, or a way to build a retirement fund or simply to maximise the potential of your longer term savings and investments. Alternatively, you may already have retired and need to generate income.
Whatever your objectives, the level of risk you might be willing to accept as an investor is an important consideration and we will want to establish this with you before any recommendation is provided.
This is the process of dividing your investments between the different asset classes, such as cash, bonds, property and shares.
The aim is to select assets that behave in different ways; the theory being that when one asset class is underperforming, the others are outperforming. For example, bonds and property often behave differently to equities.
This provides a ‘safety net’ by diversifying many of the risks associated with reliance upon one particular asset.
The ideal asset allocation will differ from investor to investor and is based on the level of risk each investor is prepared to accept.
RISK AND VOLATILITY
The most common measure of risk in investments is volatility, i.e. how much returns may vary in relation to their long-term average rate of return.
Assets with higher volatility may be thought of as more risky because there may be greater potential for larger downward movements in price.
Historically, the return from shares (equities) has generally been more volatile than the returns from fixed interest investments, and fixed interest returns have generally been more volatile than the returns from cash based investments.
DEFINING YOUR ATTITTUDE TO RISK
Until recently, you may have found yourself categorised in terms of investment approach as ‘cautious’, ‘balanced’ or ‘adventurous’ or as a ‘low’, ‘medium’ or ‘high’ risk investor.
“But what do these phrases actually mean?”
Each is subjective, and can mean different things to different people and you therefore need to be confident that your own personal attitude to investment risk and volatility is being considered.
Taxation laws are complex, and change on a regular basis.
It is therefore imperative to ensure that your investments are held in such a way as to minimise your own taxation liabilities.
In addition, different asset classes are taxed in different ways, depending on how they are held, and this is a further consideration, when determining the most appropriate asset allocation.