Santa Claus makes his annual visit
Investors must have been good last year – the Santa Claus rally, so often a feature of end-of-the-year stock market trading, made an appearance once again.
For the uninitiated, the Santa Claus rally is a phenomenon well-documented by stock market historians over a lengthy period. More often than not, share prices seem to spike upwards over the Christmas period, no matter how well or badly the market was performing in the run up to the festive season.
The precise figures depend on the period you consider. Traditionally, the Santa Claus rally was supposed to take place in the...
3 weeks ago
The platform approach to Isa investment
Make room for the middleman. In most walks of life, if you know what you want to buy, going to the seller direct, rather than through an intermediary, is the best way to get the cheapest deal. But that isn’t generally true if you’re buying investment funds, whether within a tax-free individual savings account (Isa) or on a standalone basis.
In the funds business, the deals that online intermediaries broker with fund managers usually mean that they offer more competitive charges on a given fund than you would get direct from the manager. On these fund platforms, you shouldn’t have ...
1 month ago
How to keep a level head when markets plunge...
Did the all-time high achieved by the UK stock market in October 2016 mark a high-water mark that will not be washed away for some time, or was it only the beginning of an extended period of strong returns? Sensible investors know better than to play that game – they’re in it for the long term, rather than to try to second-guess short-term market movements. That said, however, when share prices do start to slide – and your investments fall in value – it isn’t always easy to stay calm.
The secret to keeping your cool in the face of such adversity is to focus on the lessons of the...
2 months ago
What the greatest investors of all time have in common
Is there a magic formula for investment? If so, no-one is sharing it – but perhaps we might work it out for ourselves by studying the sayings and doings of the investors we admire. And if you do spend some time looking at how the greatest investors of all time have performed so strongly, you’ll find they do share certain attributes and skills; above all, the lesson to learn from these masters is that what matters above all is temperament.
Investment styles, from value to growth, fall in and out of fashion. There’s always more you can learn about the technical aspects of...
2 months ago
Why top-performing women fund managers have the edge
Is your money in a fund managed by a woman? Chances are that the answer is no, since fewer than one in 10 funds available to investors in the UK is run by a woman fund manager. And that should be cause for regret – recent rplan research revealed that women fund managers are punching well above their weight.
rplan looked at the performance of UK funds going back over the past five years and found that while women fund managers were in charge at just 9 per cent of them, they were responsible for a disproportionate 18 per cent of the top performers. In other words, women fund...
2 months ago
Five things sport teaches us about investment
Is there a secret recipe for better investment returns? No, but it’s certainly worth getting to grips with what drives outperformance in other walks of life – and learning the lessons. Take professional sport, for example, where winners very often display particular characteristics; translate these features back into your approach to investment and you may be surprised by the results.
1. Learn the simple things and do them well
How has New Zealand, a country of just 4 million people, managed to dominate world rugby so consistently over the past four or five decades? One of the...
3 months ago
ISAs will survive
The individual savings account is dead; long live the individual savings account. While new tax changes that came into effect in April 2016 may take some of the shine off ISAs, there are good reasons to continue using these popular accounts – particularly the investment variety.
Remember, ISAs are not investments in their own right. Rather they are shelters within which you can hold a broad range of investments – the annual ISA allowance currently allows you to invest £15,240 through an ISA; you can put all the money into cash, all of it into investments such as stocks and...
4 months ago
The Help to Buy Isa explained
If you’re saving to get a foot on the property ladder, the Help to Buy Isa scheme could be for you – it provides a generous Government bonus on top of your savings and it won’t prevent you using the rest of your individual savings account allowance in alternative ways.
The scheme is essentially a cash savings account, with products available from a number of leading banks and building societies. While the interest rates payable on most such accounts are low right now – and likely to remain so given the Bank of England’s commitment to keeping rates down in order to support the...
4 months ago
Hybrid Pre-Selected Portfolios Launch
Hybrid Model Portfolios
Following the release of our Active Pre-selected Portfolios back in 2012, we have noted increasing interest in passive investments by investors.
The principles of passive investments - investing in funds that generate their returns at a reasonable price - reflects the rplan ethos. The increased interest and the obvious ties to our investment principles led us to ask Rayner Spencer Mills Research to look into the possibility of creating our own range of passive portfolios.
So, just over two years ago RSMR created a range of “Hybrid” portfolios for rplan,...
5 months ago
Beat the holiday blues
Depressed by the prospect of going back to work after a great summer break? Don’t despair – now’s the time to focus on investments that will pay for better and longer holidays in the future.
For many people, September is not a happy month. The holiday season is over, children are back at school and the daily grind has returned – in fact, the weekend the clocks go back is just around the corner.
Still, if you’re feeling blue about the end of the summer, it’s time to do something about it: saving hard for the future is the way to ensure you’ll be able to pack in work for good sooner ...
5 months ago
Save more with cheaper share classes
At rplan, we continually look to simplify and drive down the cost of investing for our members. Cofunds and rplan recently reviewed all our members' holdings, and we found that some of our members could save even more by converting some of their holdings to an equivalent, but cheaper share class.
In 2013, the FCA launched the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which aimed to make charges clearer for investors (see our blog post). Following on from that, we moved all holdings in the older 'implicit' share classes to the newer 'explicit' share classes, which resulted in...
5 months ago
Tracker funds explained
“You get what you pay for” is one of those old sayings people like to toss out while nodding sagely. But when it comes to investment, this piece of advice very often turns out not to be true.
When fund managers ask you to invest your money with them, their pitch is a simple one. They say their professional expertise, plus the fact they have access to extensive investment tools and resources, means your money will work harder in their hands than if you looked after it yourself. Naturally, there are charges to pay in return for this superior performance, but these are worth...
6 months ago
How to teach children all about money
Getting kids thinking about money matters early on is a brilliant way to turn them into financially literate adults who save and invest for their future.
If you’ve got children returning to secondary school this autumn, you might notice something different about their timetables this year. For the first time ever in the UK, financial education has been added to the National Curriculum – from the 2015-16 academic year onwards, all children at secondary school will have to be taught about basic money matters.
It’s a sensible move. All the evidence suggests that adults who lack...
on Jul 25 '16
Cofunds alert on UK Property funds
Update 25/10/2016: M&G Investments has announced that with effect from Friday 4th November the M&G PropertyPortfolio and associated Feeder fund will be re-opening, having been suspended since Monday 4th July 2016. M&G also announced that the fair value adjustment applied on 1st July has also been removed.
The group stated it has been selling mostly lesser quality assets over the last four months and that cash levels have now risen sufficiently so they can re-open the fund. M&G stated that 58 properties have been sold, exchanged or placed under offer for a total of...
on Jul 7 '16
Stars in the spotlight
Star fund managers have cult followings. Warren Buffett’s annual meeting for shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway has become an event that is effectively the Glastonbury Festival of the investment world. In the UK, when Invesco Perpetual’s Neil Woodford decided to set up shop on his own in 2015, investors handed him more than £2.5bn of their money to put into the brand new funds he launched.
You can see the attraction. Picking investment funds from a universe of several thousand is a difficult business for anyone – if you’re convinced that a star name is a guarantee of superior...
on Jul 4 '16
Is the new Innovative Finance Isa for you?
Are you considering using some or all of your 2016-17 individual savings account allowance for the new Innovative Finance Isa? If so, you may be disappointed by the choices on offer right now – while there are close to 100 online platforms that trade in the assets eligible for the new shelters, fewer than 10 of them have so far launched an Isa.
That reflects a number of factors – most significantly, that there is something of a backlog at the Financial Conduct Authority, the City regulator, which has to authorise platforms before they can launch an Isa, and is struggling to get...
on Jun 20 '16
Brexit: good news or bad for investors?
If the UK votes to leave the European Union in this month's referendum, will that spell disaster for the stock market?
Or might Brexit provide a lift for investments?
The answer to this question will depend on who you ask. The ‘Remain’ campaign reckons Brexit uncertainty would be bound to be a negative for the markets. Pro-Brexit campaigners, who see the referendum as a chance to free Britain from unwanted regulation and bureaucracy, believe the lift that would give the economy would be good news for quoted companies.
The truth is that neither side can be absolutely sure of the...
on Jun 13 '16
Education, education, education
Future school leavers stand to benefit from the introduction of financial education to the National Curriculum. The 2015-16 academic year is the first in which secondary schools have had a statutory duty to teach money matters to their students.
That’s good news but it won’t do much to help those who have already left education. Most Britons in their twenties and thirties left school with no formal teaching on how to manage their finances.
This was true in the past, of course – these people’s parents didn’t get any financial education either. But the difference today is that the ...
on Apr 28 '16
Platforms explained - the perfect investment solution for the digital generation
Once upon a time, savings and investments generated mountains of paperwork: every deposit you made generated a new receipt, every investment was accompanied by endless product literature, and all your financial services providers sent you monthly statements. The intention was honourable enough, but the effort to keep people informed about their money actually had the opposite effect: it became very difficult to see the wood for the trees, even if you kept on top of the paperwork.
Online investment platforms – sometimes known as fund supermarkets or shops – are the answer to these ...
on Apr 14 '16
How to Automate the Savings Habit
The biggest barrier to getting started with savings and investments is getting started – overcoming the psychological and practical barriers that hold you back. The trick to overcoming such barriers is to knock them down: the simpler and more straightforward you make your saving, the more likely you are to do it. And if you can make your savings habits automatic, so you don’t even need to think about them, so much the better. Here’s five tips for doing exactly that:
1. Get organised
Your current account at the bank should be exactly that: for handling your current and ongoing...
on Apr 7 '16