This morning we have seen the markets react negatively to the drop in oil prices; last week, fear was driven by central bank action and this all started with concerns over the impact from coronavirus. At times like this, advisers tend to run to ground; looking back over the last 10 years, our blogs tend […]
Over the last few weeks we have considered our process. This last blog falls under the title ‘repeat, repeat, repeat’. I was discussing our process recently and mentioned that the day we stop innovating and challenging is the day that we stop as complacency will have taken over, and this has the potential to destroy all the work we have done. In July and August, I often breathe a sigh of relief. All the clients have agreed to the new portfolios and have been rebalanced into them. For two months I can effectively rest. In September I gear up to start the process again; hence ‘repeat, repeat, repeat’.
“The index fund is a most unlikely hero for the typical investor. It is no more (nor less) than a broadly diversified portfolio, typically run at rock-bottom costs, without the putative benefit of a brilliant, resourceful, and highly skilled portfolio manager. The index fund simply buys and holds the securities in a particular index, in proportion to their weight in the index. The concept is simplicity writ large.” ― John C. Bogle
The human suffering from COVID-19 has been in the news for over a month but until the last week the financial markets had not been materially affected. However, over the past two days markets have fallen substantially, with news of the spread of infections to Europe, especially Italy. It is not possible to know how serious and long lasting this will be. Often in the past, fears in the markets (including medical) have caused significant and rapid falls in prices but have been short term in duration.
I am often found locked away in a room, spending most of my life looking at spreadsheets, and talking to fund managers. About 70% of my time is spent working on the investment strategies. In the last blog we explored why we do what we do. We concluded that it is vital to retain this part of the process, that this is what we are paid for and we should devote our time and energy to it.
“The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” Phillip Fisher When we started the business, we focused on investments; as we have developed, we placed greater emphasis on financial planning. We have produced a series of blogs expanding on the importance of goals and plans […]
“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” – Oscar Wilde I thought it might be fun to start by pulling out some of my thoughts from January 2019: Eurozone Crisis 2 – another Greek style crisis; there are no immediate signs of this happening Military action – we saw drone strikes by Iran […]
Frankly, I am bored! Referendums and elections, but nothing seems to have changed for the last three years. One certainty about this election is that that the outcome is uncertain; opinion polls will tell you one thing but as we have seen over the last couple of years, they have not been a good weather […]
My advice to the trustee could not be more simple: Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund. (I suggest Vanguard‘s.) I believe the trust’s long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors—whether pension funds, institutions, or individuals—who employ high-fee managers.
A key element of my job is meeting and talking to different investment managers. All managers will argue they are different but what really interests me is when a manager explains that short term noise is just that. If I asked people what the two key factors causing uncertainty in the world are, they would likely respond with Trade Wars and Brexit; the problem with this is that often we miss out on what is actually going on in the bigger picture.