CRASHING PRACTICE

CRASHING PRACTICE

It has now been ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the investment bank at the centre of the credit crunch. The impact of this has been felt here in Britain with years of austerity, tax rises and pay cuts. You and I have lived with the consequences and are mindful that it may happen again.

In reality a market crash happens about 25% of the time and despite required regulatory warnings that the value of investments may go down as well as up, the reality is that they will fall in value and they will rise in value. Fact. The issue is not if they will but when and why. As a financial planner I am sorry to tell you that those offering to know when or why are delusional fraudsters. We only know after the event and frankly, even then we may not truly understand why.

Time in the markets, not timing the markets

The unvarnished truth is that over time, over decades, investment in mainstream equities rise in value. This is proven time and time again. However, few of us are very good at thinking long-term and obsess over the short-term. This is for good reason – we can relate much more readily to the short-term and cope better planning for it, but thinking longer-term and much further ahead proves very difficult for us. Inevitably investors are persuaded by the short-term reality more than the long-term probability.

The Lehman Trilogy 

It is timely that “The Lehman Trilogy” by Stefano Massini was shown at the National Theatre to “sell out” audiences. So much so that the production is moving to the Piccadilly Theatre in May next year. The play charts the early beginnings of Lehman’s, arriving in New York. Their story is familiar. In 1844 Hayum Lehmann arrives with nothing, moves to Alabama and starts a modest shop selling equipment to farmers. Along with the new business is a new name Henry Lehman is born or created. His brother Mendel follows a couple of years later and finally Mayer arrives in 1850. Lehman Brothers.

150 years in the making 

Their story unfolds, experiencing the ups and downs of commercial life, but also reflecting the wider society and the development of business and capitalism. Disaster and opportunity meet along the way, the business diversifies becoming a cotton buyer and then trader. Experiencing blight, fire and the American Civil War, using maths and credit to smooth the path from the present to the future, eventually becoming a bank in 1867 to help rebuild the nation. Agricultural know-how becomes financing of business. Throughout all challenges, adapting and surviving. In many respects Lehman’s practiced crashing – regularly experiencing very dire trading circumstances, yet confused survival for skill and ultimately began to believe that they could not pick anything but winners…

The story is wonderfully presented by Sam Mendes and the three actors (Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley) were brilliant. A single, rotating minimalist set and the audience is transported through time, which you should allow 3 hours to cover 150 years that is very well spent. If you get the chance to see it in 2019, I would recommend getting tickets early. Here is a link to the ATG ticket booking site if you are interested.

Here is Sam Mendes talking about the production at the National Theatre.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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CRASHING PRACTICE2018-11-07T17:13:31+00:00

RETURN TO THE 1970s

RETURN TO THE 1970s

There has been a fair bit of talk about aspects of our current political rhetoric that threaten a return to the 1970s. Whilst my early childhood was pretty care-free in that time, there is little of the 70s that I would welcome back.

Insert a film set in the 70’s. A bleak story of a character that everyone’s limited television of the time cannot fail to recognise. “Funny Cow” has a title to offend and a story that will offer little other than despair as it pushes all the stereotypes and clichés of the time. The miserable family existence that passes for life in a northern town. The wife-beating, loud-mouthed husbands and the hollowed shells of wives that have turned to the new prison of alcoholism. Yet sadly this is very close to her story.

Solomons IFA review of Funny Cow the movie

A galaxy far, far away…

If you are inclined to revisit the 70s then this film is a reminder that it really is best left consigned to the past and a collection of good memories when we were all younger. The times were very different and have thankfully changed for the better. It seems like a long time ago… a galaxy far, far away… yet in practice it’s just 4 decades ago, closing in on 5. In reality that is the sort of time that most investors save and then live off their investments.

Short-term memory

The changes in our lives are not always easy to see but flipping through your photograph albums (remember them?) is a useful reminder of our journey. When it comes to investments, the opposite happens. We are constantly bombarded with a moment by moment update of the markets, what has changed in the last 5 minutes, rarely does anyone report or assess the long-term value of investing, billboards, newspapers, emails and websites are all set to the short term, as if this tells us anything of value. In reality the valuable information is surely only the long-term results. What has happened over not 3, 6 or 12 months, but over 10, 15, 20, 25 years. However, that requires a patience that most of us have been taught to ignore.

Here is the trailer for “Funny Cow” it’s well acted, (Maxine Peake is very good) but frankly unless you want to watch misery unfold for a lengthy 102 minutes, (the irony isn’t lost on me) a better use of your time would be to sort out those photos you still haven’t put into an album… or had one printed.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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RETURN TO THE 1970s2018-11-02T23:36:16+00:00

SHREDDED

SHREDDED

I wonder if you have seen the video of the moment that a Banksy piece was shredded as soon as it was sold. There has been speculation about whether this was simply a stunt or a genuine attempt to expose the folly of the art world. It does not matter, nothing will change. The world we live in is obsessed by fame and will spend vast sums to share in its light. It is always something of a mystery that so many will be taken in by so few.

The financial services world is no different. Obsessing over performance that happened and marketing investment gurus or fund manager as stars. Fund Managers are actually given stars by ratings agencies. Those same agencies that told us all that day was night when it came to “creditworthiness” before the credit crunch.

Drawn to Success

Time has moved on, memories fade. Promises of lessons to be learned have come and gone. We are still lured by the glisten of success. Little has changed to investor behaviour. It is about as bad as it has always been. We may have some new terms or names for it, may even be able to spot it a mile off, but few are willing or able to adopt behaviours that are actually successful.

To be a successful investor you have to take a long-term view. You ought to hold a high proportion of your portfolio in a globally diversified portfolio of equities, bought as inexpensively as possible and held, ideally within a wrapper that enables you to choose how and when you draw money to suit both your circumstances and taxation. That is pretty much it…

You can attempt to beat the market, through selecting specific stocks/shares but remember that this has at least two key decisions – when to buy and when to sell. Few people achieve this with any repeatable success. They will tell you that they do, but the truth is rather different. Conveniently forgetting their losses which make up their averaged net returns.

There will always be someone willing to forecast precisely what will happen in the future. In a planet of over 7 billion people, there are plenty of them. Many will promote their views as alternative or counter-narrative, pandering to your sense of doom, or throw so much money and impressive glossy statistics at marketing a theory that you come to believe that they really are onto something different. Occasionally they will be right for a time.

Unvarnished Truths 

Here are some truths. If you plan to withdraw money within the short-term, bank it, do not invest it. If you wish to build the value of your money so that you have a shot at financial independence, invest. Invest cheaply, invest long-term, invest heavily in equities, invest globally. Invest with an understanding of taxes. If you want to give yourself a good dose of anxiety, look at your portfolio on a regular basis. If you want to enjoy life, don’t – but have a plan and make sure that someone is monitoring yours.

Normal and Ordinary Perfection 

Remember that market corrections are normal, crashes are normal, booms are normal. We do not know when and mostly do not know why. You cannot control the markets, it is impossible to time investments perfectly in a repeatable way. The same cannot be said for Banksy, who timed his (or her) shredding of “Girl With Balloon” to perfection, shredding it… whether the value has depreciated or in fact appreciated is a debatable point and only time will tell…

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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SHREDDED2018-10-10T08:52:09+00:00

KING OF THIEVES

King of Thieves

The movie world is full of theft and deception at the moment, perhaps this is symptomatic of the current state of global politics. This movie, The King of Thieves is yet another film about a real event. This time the Hatton Garden robbery during Easter 2015. You may recall the news items that showed clips of some rather concerned customers who feared and claimed to have lost millions in a robbery that was committed over the Easter weekend, when everyone was on holiday. The initial view was that the crime was perpetrated by a well-organised international gang of jewel thieves. In practice, it was some experience burglars, who were some significant way into their “retirement” and even went to the scene using their own pensioner bus pass.

The casting for the film has been done very thoughtfully. We all know the actors and probably have a fond or favourable attitude towards them, yet these are essentially villains that would do some serious harm to anyone in their way, each other and would not spare much mercy. Old does not mean nice or kind. It just means old.

Solomons Independent financial advisers london

Lack of Purpose

The sadness about this story is that there is a palpable sense that these men knew little else and believed that it was their purpose, to be thieves gave them meaning and significance. It certainly gave them a tribe. There is a sequence when they are all recalling how they got into crime – invariably it was stealing food, which of course is indicative of their outlook and circumstances. Perhaps had this not been so, their lives may have been rather different.

Keep up with Technology

The film follows the frankly unbelievable ease with which the robbery was performed. Yet despite being a movie, this is the reality. Security systems at Hatton Gardens were woefully out of date much like the criminals who really failed to appreciate the power of CCTV, mobile phones and a Police Force that knows its stuff. Their open dialogue in public settings may be simply an overconfidence or a lapse of concentration, but surely desperately foolish.

Honour among Thieves

The bickering, infighting and back-stabbing implied that honour amongst thieves is probably a very exaggerated claim. They all steal from each other and it is only when caught that they come together again to present some basic form of a united front. Who you select to work with is perhaps a key lesson, as indeed is having a well thought plan, that allows for interruption and frustration.

Given that the men pleaded guilty, but most of the money has never been recovered, the accuracy of the character portrayals is naturally questionable, perhaps for dramatic reasons, perhaps because the truth, when it comes to criminals, is as slippery as “Billy the Fish” the hapless fence, Billy Lincoln played by Michael Gambon. It would seem that only Brian Reader (Michael Caine) understood the value of diamonds and knew a gem from junk. Terry Perkins (Jim Broadbent) supposedly a great wing-man to Reader was little more than a bully (if the portrayal is fair) and Carl Wood (Paul Whitehouse) would seem to be an unwilling participant at worst. Danny Jones (Ray Winstone) was the sharpest operator, but seemed innumerate and failed to count the money and Kenny Collins (Tom Courtenay) seemed to spin a story to suit the listener.

Fair Cop

The Police did a pretty impressive job, arresting Reader within 5 weeks of the crime. Before a year had passed the team was convicted and imprisoned. Crime does not pay… well perhaps it does, hardly any of the claimed £200m has been recovered, but as Reader warned, many of the deposits were held by other criminals. The truth may never be known. As for your investments and savings, who you trust and where you place your money is vital to understand. There are still many cases of financial fraud and theft. Would that it were not so.

Here is the trailer…

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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KING OF THIEVES2018-09-24T17:17:38+00:00

SURPRISED? BASE RATE NOW 0.75%

Surprised? Base Rate now 0.75%

The Bank of England have announced today that they have increased the base rate from 0.50% to 0.75%. This will be welcome to anyone peddingly news for the next 24 – 48 hours. It will not however mean that you get much more interest on any cash deposits that you hold. It also is not likely to have a huge impact on mortgages or loans (it will have no impact immediately if you are on a fixed rate loan of any type). The decision to raise the rate was unaminous and part of the attempt to keep inflation at 2%.

The next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting will be after the summer break, on 13 September 2018. If you wish to know more, simply click this link to the Bank’s website.

SURPRISED? BASE RATE NOW 0.75%2018-09-25T10:10:07+00:00

The Fuss About Platforms

Head Over Heels [81] – the fuss about platforms

You may have come across news in various papers (The Telegraph for example) about some investment platforms being costly and offering inducements to advisers to use them. I couldn’t miss the opportunity of commenting about this.

A platform is basically an online administration service. This enables your investments to be traded, bought, sold and rebalanced. Some enable you to hold all sorts of investments, others are more restricted to mainstream funds. The platform has legal responsibilities in delivering its service and providing statements, contract notes and so on. Every financial adviser that decides to use a platform on which to hold your investments, must justify why it is selected.

Money, Money, Money [76]

Some people will always see price as the first hurdle, if one platform is much like any other. Some charge a fixed fee, most charge a percentage. Most have a sliding scale, so that the more you have “on the platform” you begin to have charges reduced through a tiered charging system. However, this is your money, not a takeout meal. Reliability is crucial.

Ring, Ring..[73]

You can have a platform with rather more “bells and whistles” but invariably, this comes with additional costs. The ability to hold investment property within a pension, shares and so on, all have various additional costs. Some also charge for each type of “wrapper” which is really a charge for a product – a SIPP, Flexible Drawdown Pension, ISA etc.

Naturally these costs all begin to add up and a valid question is really whether you would make use of all the “bells and whistles”. Many will not, but some certainly will. So, selection of a platform ought to suit you more than your adviser. One of the main advantages of any platform is the saved aggravation in attempting to deal with different companies or constructing a portfolio of funds from very different investment groups. I cannot repeat what I think of some providers but let’s just say that they give the impression that they have only just come across a fax machine.

Move On [77]

One of the age-old problems of financial services is inertia. Many will stick with what they know, despite the reality that there are better alternatives. The hassle with all those forms can seem overwhelming. In addition, any adviser that guarantees that moving from A to B will be better, is delusional, the new arrangement may be considerably, better, cheaper, faster etc, but it is not possible to guarantee a better outcome. In the same way that I cannot guarantee that I will rise from my bed tomorrow, I should, but I may not.

The temptation for clients and advisers is to believe the marketing. In addition, advisers may receive helpful bits of kit to enable them to do a better job. This then begins to blindside and erode impartiality.

Knowing Me, Knowing You..[76]

So, what do we do at Solomons? Well we pay for all the tools we use so that we can deliver the service we want. These evolve. This year I have started to use at least 3 new different tools. I’m aware of bias and so we get an independent company to research and assess platforms for us. We do not influence the research or results. We provide details about who we currently use and an overview of the sort of clients and their holdings that we have. We do this once a year.

Most of our clients do not need all the bells and whistles, so we use platforms that suit their requirements. There are lots of unused funds, but that’s not the same thing.  If I want to buy a suit I go to a shop that sells suits, I don’t by them all, some would be too small (most) and some too large, wrong style, colour and so on. That does not mean I am paying for the other suits, merely going to somewhere to obtain what I want.

Another Town, Another Train [73]

If there are good reasons to change your platform, we will advise you to do so. There will not be any new costs because we treat this as a part of the annual fees that we charge for your investments on a platform. All the platforms we have selected to date do not apply exit charges, unlike Waterloo [74]. This was done deliberately.

Cheapest is not best. Back to the suit buying… (surely you bright folk get it) price is one element of the purchase. Does it do the job? Well, when it comes to technology, sadly, all too often platforms break, which is more than a minor irritant when attempting to comply with regulations, designed to protect investors, albeit often with utterly daft realities.

The Winner Takes It All [80]

Good platforms are about two things – sustainability and innovation. The price differential between good platforms is nothing like as significant as these two. Is their business model sustainable? Most platforms do not make a profit, which to put it bluntly means that something must change. That’s just The Name of The Game [77]. Those that do not innovate will eventually be left behind, and when your business is essentially a technology solution, that is a bad business plan.

In summary, we do not use platforms because of the tools they provide, or any other incentives. We will move you from one platform to another if there is good reason to do so. All platforms that we have advised, do not apply exit charges. We tend to only use platforms where the bells and whistles come at no extra cost or are not charged if not used. We like innovation but above all, the business model of the platform needs to be robust.

When All is Said and Done [79], we look after our clients for decades, not months or a couple of years, but On and On and On [80]. Decades. So there seems to me to be no point in ripping anyone off. What goes around comes around and all that…. and with the idea of A to B, platforms and things coming around again, its all about money, money, money… so here’s the trailer for Mamma Mia 2.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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The Fuss About Platforms2018-07-23T15:56:33+00:00

Ocean’s Eight

Ocean’s Eight

It is an odd thing that we have an affection for certain types of criminals. Those brought to life within a film invariably are the anti-hero. “The Italian Job” or the “Lavender Hill Mob” both hold an almost iconic cultural reference point. Ocean’s Eight is essentially a criminal gang of women, who steal. I’m not sure what the appeal really is, but it is undeniable. Perhaps there is something buried in childhood stories about Robin Hood, which leaves us marvelling the execution of a fantastic plan to outwit and outmanoeuvre authority.

The opening sequences of Oceans Eight may provide some insight. It is perhaps the force of brazen confidence that enable Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) to take advantage of the unsuspecting. Frankly, this sequence ought to be shown to every retail employee as an example of what to observe and I have to admit to being a little concerned that it gives thieves more ideas.

The Double Bluff

Perhaps there is the sense in these films that somehow a balance is being restored in a rather Robin Hood-esque way. I’m sure that there are many examples where this might be the case, but the darker reality is that perhaps, we are all a little enamoured by the criminal mind and but for the consequences, fancy ourselves as a mastermind of bluff and double bluff that has a payoff. Perhaps it intrigues, because we don’t live our lives that way and for good reason.

Where is the promised Cold Calling Ban?

The financial world is full of scams, often by clever people, sometimes just by the downright brazen. As a victim the consequences are very real, having identity stolen or pretty much all your life savings. These are the reasons why we have laws and regulation. Yet it occurs on a massive scale every day. We all need to be vigilant and I am angered by yet further delays to the introduction of the Cold Calling Ban by the Government. I appreciate that Brexit is currently taking resources, but meanwhile criminals are stealing from pension funds and so on. Whilst often we are told “it’s not personal” having your home, bank account or pension fund broken into by a thief feels very personal indeed.

We are complex beings, both victim and perpetrator, but mainly neither. The traditional financial services industry calls this fear and greed, aligning its material accordingly. The job of a fiduciary, such as a financial planner, is to help spot these incidents and to avoid them. There are often not obvious indications and often the best place to hide a lie is in plain sight, between two truths.

As for the new film, I really enjoyed it. I think it is because of the clever planning and skill on display, but actually it probably helps satisfy my darker side. Here is the trailer.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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Ocean’s Eight2018-07-04T14:23:30+00:00

The Happy Prince

The Happy Prince

There is a new film about Oscar Wilde – The Happy Prince currently in cinemas. It is a wonderful portrayal of the literary genius, but desperately sad. Oscar is played by Rupert Everett, who extends the character he played not so long ago on stage in “Judas Kiss”. Wilde was an obvious genius whose fall from favour and grace was spectacular only in its indictment of Britain then.

As we all know Wilde was a married man, who was also homosexual. These days it is hard to fathom how this is either anyone else’s business (though of course our culture remains just as preoccupied with what happens out of sight) let alone how this detracts from his obvious literary accomplishments.

In this portrayal, Everett makes plain the self—destructive path of addiction. In this case Wilde’s frankly inexplicable addiction to the loathsome Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas (Colin Morgan). It is his inability to manage his feelings and actions which lead him to penniless ruin, living in the squalors of Paris.

Self-Destruction

Whilst much has changed in society since the life and times of Oscar Wilde, one cannot fail to realise that whatever the form an addiction takes, it has the capacity to lead to ruin. There are moments in the film in which Wilde’s friends Reggie Turner (Colin Firth) Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas) and wife Constance (Emily Watson) all urge him to take a different path, to forget the selfish indulgence of Bosie. Yet knowing the consequences of being financially cut off, Wilde follows his self-destructive desires all the way to the grave.

Drama, Drama

We are all prone to addictions… how is that smartphone addiction? Or perhaps an addiction to the media? These may seem like rather innocuous addictions, with little apparent consequence, certainly unlikely to suffer illness or death, yet there is growing evidence that many are suffering from an overload of information, a sense of powerlessness and being overwhelmed in a world that appears outside of our control…

When it comes to investing, our addictions to the news and perhaps following the markets are likely to cause us to make poor decisions. Responding and reacting to “the news” yet this invariably has little to do with our own lives and financial plan. Chasing the illusive winning funds is a habit that many have developed. Yet the reality is that we can control very little, but what we can control, we do indeed need to focus on.

Don’t make a crisis out of a drama

Attempting to time the market, second guess the best performing funds or shares is nothing short of speculation, it is not a proper investment strategy. It is a very good way to run out of money and the FCA recently produced a report outlining the errors of holding too much cash in a pension fund. Presumably investors do so because they don’t trust pensions, the market, advisers or all of those them and simply attempting to time the opportune moment to invest. This, it has been found leads to dramatic underperformance and penury.

Here is the trailer for the film.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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The Happy Prince2018-06-29T16:12:10+00:00

Picking Winners – Financial Myths

Picking Winners – Financial Myths

Most of the financial services industry thrives on inertia and misplaced trust. The investing world can be broadly broken down into two categories – active or passive management of money. The terms are not helpful but can broadly be best described as active management is where Fund Managers attempt to outperform the market by use of skill, philosophy and information. Passive management basically says this is possible, but impossible to do with any repeatable success, so invest into the entire market (or index) to obtain the market return.

There are skills, systems and processes needed within passive management if truth be told, particularly when an index is forced to alter its constituents (much like the end of season promotions and relegations). However, costs are generally much lower – unless you are unfortunate enough to own a Virgin Money Index tracker. Generally active funds are more expensive – considerably. This it is argued, is due to better performance.

Anyhow, research from American Dimensional Fund Advisers, who rather pride themselves of academic research and evidence, recently concluded their study of US funds available to US investors. OK, its America not the UK, but given that the US is roughly 8 times the size of the UK stock market, let’s use it as a better sample.

Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head No.1 Album in 2002Atomic Kitten - The Tide is High No.1 single in 2002

The Unvarnished Truth

The evidence looked at equity funds and Fixed Interest Funds over 5, 10 and 15 years (2002-2017). Given that most people are investing for their lifetime, though behave as though they do so for about 12 months, these are sensible starting timeframes for such research. For the sake of brevity, I will discuss their equity fund findings (the results were much the same for both asset classes).

Of all the funds available, only 14% to 26% outperformed their Morningstar category index. The longer the time frame the lower the number that outperformed. So, in simple terms about 1 in 4 outperform over 5 years, 1 in 5 over 10 years and about 1 in 7 over 15 years.

Survival of the Fittest

However, even if it was as simple as simply picking funds on that basis, you are more likely to have picked a fund that closed. Over 5 years 18% of the funds did not survive (about 1 in 5). At 10 years this rose to 42% failing to survive (1 in 4). At 15 years, well just 51% of the funds you could have chosen from survived. That’s 1 in 2.

Top of the Pops Investing

As many advisers and most online sites promote and select “top performing funds” it may interest you to know that a Fund Managers historic performance does not ensure a decent future performance. The data revealed that top quartile performance for consecutive 3-year periods occurred on average between 17% and 33% of the time. In short, not many sustained even a short-run, or strong track records failed to persist. Coldplay and Atomic Kitten both had good years in 2002 (when the data range begins). Who remains “successful”?

As stated, an often-cited argument is that active funds cost more because they perform better (we have established that some do – 14% of them over 15 years). Higher costs mean better results, right? Well not according to the evidence. Those with high charges (fund manager costs) with an average expense ratio (AER) of 1.93% almost entirely underperformed (94% of them). Those with the lowest costs (AER of 0.83%) delivered better results, with 25% of them outperforming.

The research also found that trading costs also impacted results (unsurprisingly). Some Fund Managers changed their portfolios almost entirely, the more they did and the longer the timeframe, the fewer that beat their benchmark. Yet this is typically claimed to be their true skill. Only 9% of high turnover funds beat their index over 15 years.

Hey Big Spender…

I have been in this game for quite some time, but it doesn’t need much experience to learn that those with more money have more money to spend…. On their version of reality (marketing) which is why many advisers, Product Providers and media swallow the myth that active management costs more because it delivers more. It can, but only in a very small number of cases and the chances of selecting such funds is virtually non-existent when most look at 3-year top quartile performance data.

There is another way, a better, cheaper way. We call it low-cost investment techniques rather than passive investing, because there is nothing passive about it. High costs and excessive turnover are likely to contribute to underperformance. You can avoid this completely, if you want to.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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Picking Winners – Financial Myths2018-06-21T16:30:43+00:00

Lady Luck – The Domino Effect

Lady Luck – The Domino Effect

I have a growing awareness of my good fortune.  I might call it luck. This week I was on a training course and we had a very good talk about diversity. We examined the topic from several perspectives, but for the sake of time, this was for application to our own firms (how we employ and empower staff) and also for clients and prospective clients – how we engage in a way that is authentic and accessible.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am fortunate. Lucky to have many “natural” and geographic advantages. Lucky in so many ways and many that I will probably never truly appreciate.

The session prompted some thinking and will inform some of the decisions I make in the future. New, helpful, relevant information tends to do that, doesn’t it?

Luck is not a Superpower

On the train home, I thought about the new film “Deadpool 2”. OK, it probably isn’t everyone’s “cup of tea”. It is an ironic, send up of the superhero, by a superhero. Violent and full of choice language it pokes fun at itself and the cinematic world. There are many comedic moments, which are best understood in the context of superhero films, this is not really a family film, yet it is about family.

Domino (Zazie Beetz) claims that her superhero strength is “luck”. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) mocks her, claiming that “luck is not a superpower… it’s not cinematic”. It is unreliable and outside of anyone’s control…yet Domino uses her natural skills which are enhanced by luck, which of course makes for an amusing sequence of events in the movie.

Checking back to real life, many of us may fail to appreciate the luck we have. Few can fully do so, some give it a different name. However, when it comes to reliability, luck sometimes isn’t a lady (Guys and Dolls). Luck is not a plan, it is not a super-strength and it definitely has no place in a financial plan, unless your plan is to gamble.

Coming to terms with Carnage

Markets are what they are, hostile for those that do not appreciate how they operate, they have their own “natural laws”. One is a correction. Equities are volatile, we need them to be, that is precisely what provides long-term growth and value. Yet almost everyone behaves as though it is your enemy. The media will fill its vacuum with tales of Armageddon like carnage that neither Deadpool or The Juggernaut could possibly match. Yet this is the unvarnished truth… markets are volatile, they fall, and they rise again… repeat, ker-ching…

The great untruth, is that risk can be removed, that there is growth without pain. Risk can only ever be swapped, not removed.

OK, so here is the trailer… click play at your own risk, lots of F-word and violence. You’ve been warned.

Oh.. if you do go to see the movie, as with all Marvel films, there is more to come within the long rolling credits.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

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Lady Luck – The Domino Effect2018-05-17T19:57:55+00:00