Invest

Our overall aim is to capture as much of the growth potential as possible from the asset classes available, whilst reducing volatility. This may mean our approach is relatively cautious compared to others.

Growth Potential

Traditionally, many investors have held a spread of collective investments (e.g. unit trusts) and committed their monies to these funds for the long term, trusting that those funds would provide them with a superior real return compared to cash deposits. We would still expect a diversified portfolio of investments to provide meaningful long term real returns but in view of the more volatile conditions that have become the norm in the last few years we believe that fund portfolios need to be proactively reviewed. The events of October 2008 led us to formalise a different approach.

 

The Directors of the firm have followed this approach since 2009 under previous employment and this process builds on that experience.We do not believe in static asset allocation models that take no account of the current or expected economic/market environment. The portfolios will aim therefore to reflect a pragmatic reading of the house view.

Our overall aim is to capture as much of the growth potential as possible from the asset classes available, whilst reducing volatility. This may mean our approach is relatively cautious compared to others.

 

Diversification

We take the view that diversification is achieved through the use of collectives which themselves allocate to dozens, if not hundreds, of different securities and therefore holding a large number of funds (i.e. the ‘safety in numbers’ or the ‘scattergun’ approach) can have a negative impact through the averaging effect. We believe that each fund should have a meaningful weighting within the portfolio in order that it might positively contribute to the investment return.

 

“Diversification demands that each asset class receive a weighting large enough to matter but small enough not to matter too much.”

David Swensen, Chief Investment Officer at Yale University

 

Risk

More risk does not always equal more reward: rather, the more risk we take on, the greater the range of outcomes that can await us. Take no more risk than is necessary to achieve your objectives. We place a high emphasis on seeking investments which offer and can deliver strong risk-adjusted returns.

 

Volatility

Unless you are in a very fortunate position, we will need to engage with financial markets to find the returns you need to meet your goals. Some investors with time on their side can be patient and look beyond short term volatility; but crucially, for those requiring income in retirement, in our view, this means reducing the potential for sharp losses.

 

Style

The focus of our approach is asset allocation and to seek to exploit changes in the relative valuation of different asset classes but we will not follow the crowd and will not include assets where we do not presently believe the risk-reward balance is in our favour.

We firmly believe that you should be trying to buy those assets which have become cheap and sell those which have become relatively expensive. In this way you follow a rebalancing process which is pragmatic rather than automated.

 
“Investing requires us to decide how to position a portfolio for future developments but the future isn’t knowable.”

Howard Marks, Chairman, Oaktree Capital Management

There is no guarantee that the portfolios will achieve a positive return and an investor may not get back the full amount invested.

 

Time Horizon

We are long-term investors and therefore our portfolios are not intended for an investor who plans to withdraw their capital within three years. Typically, our investment portfolios will be positioned with the aim of meeting objectives over a 6-10 year period or longer.

Cost

We believe regulatory change, competition and technology will lead to lower investment costs and we are both alive to this trend and will seek to exploit it for our clients’ benefit wherever possible and justified. At the same time, we remind ourselves that it is the net investment return after costs and inflation that is key to achieving our clients’ aims.

 

Passive versus Active

We believe that blind adherence to exclusively active or passive investment is too dogmatic. Whilst we recognise the weight of academic research that supports passive investment we fundamentally believe that active investment management can add value over time. Therefore we will consider the use of both types of approach within a portfolio.

 
The value of the investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back as much as you put in.
 

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