Investments

This is a case study I have taken from my book ‘Retire Faster’ for Company Directors available on Amazon.

As a business owner I would imagine that controlling costs are very important to you. Especially costs spent by those you employ. You probably have budgets that restrict their spend, but when it comes to managing your pension or investment portfolio’s, how much budgetary control do you have. Very little I would imagine. More to the point, how much is this lack of financial control costing you and what affect is it having on your long term financial wealth.

This case study is not unusual … in fact I would go as far as saying its standard practice. Read the case study and decide as a business owner what would you do?

CASE STUDY 1 – MR K.

Mr. K is a Business Owner with a Small Self-Administered Pension Scheme (SSAS) valued at £660,000. Mr. K asked us to carry out a wealth efficiency review on his pension arrangements as they had not been reviewed for a number of years. We found Mr. K was paying 4 levels of charges per year:

  • The Administrator of the SSAS who charged £650 + VAT
  • The Discretionary Fund Manager (DFM) who charged 0.65% + VAT + additional dealing fees
  • Annual Management Charges (AMC) of the funds purchased, in the region of 0.57%
  • The Financial Adviser who charged 0.5%

Although these charges initially appeared competitive, the actual charges appeared to be excessive. After further investigation we found that the DFM routinely sold parts of the funds held in the SSAS and bought similar stocks just to justify increasing the dealing charges.

We found that instead of selling just one fund (perhaps due to poor performance) and re buying another, partial sales of all the stocks took place (even though some had performed to expectations). We felt this practice was unusual because there was a £100,000 cash balance in the fund. These additional dealing fees added an extra £1,822 to the annual charges and we could find no justification (even re-balancing… adjusting the risk of the portfolio) as to why these transactions were made.

Therefore in monetary terms Mr. K was paying in the region of:

  • £780 to the SSAS Administrator
  • £5,148 to the DFM (adviser annual management charges)
  • £1,822 to the DFM (additional dealing fees)
  • £3,296 in fund annual management charges (AMC)
  • £3,300 to the IFA (who had not made contact for over two years)

Total charges for the fund management were in the region of £14,346 per year, equivalent to a reduction of 2.17% off Mr. K’s portfolio growth rate. This is about average for the industry.

We highlighted to Mr. K that using new technology he could reduce his fees to:

  • £780 to the same SSAS Administrator
  • £1,122 in fund annual management charges (AMC)
  • £3,300 to the IFA (if he chose to keep his current advisor)

 Total charges £5,202 per year, equivalent to a reduction of 0.78% off his portfolio growth rate. That is a saving of £9,144 per year.

The best way of seeing the effects of high charges on Mr. K’s portfolio is to project the future value of his fund at a growth rate of 5% per year, over a period of 25 years. We can then apply the different charging structures of 2.17% on his original portfolio and the 0.78% on the proposed portfolio and note the difference in projected fund values. It is important to note, that we are not stating that the new portfolio will perform any better or any worse than the existing portfolio, but we are purely looking at the effects of charges.

The cash flow analysis showed a positive difference of £586,000 by using the proposed proposition, which also gave Mr. K access to a low risk globally balanced portfolio holding over 5,375 stocks.

What would you do with an extra £586,000 in your pension fund or investment portfolio?

More to the point, Mr K employed these discretionary fund managers to do a job for him. Not content with their quoted fees, additional fees were taken (which as discretionary advisers they are entitled to do under their terms of contract) but their actions were equivalent to them dipping their hands into Mr K’s till at a rate of £64 per day over and above what we would term necessary.

As a business owner what would you do if this was happening to you… are you sure its not happening to you? …  is it worth a conversation?

Ironically Mr K runs a security company… sometimes you just have to smile….

 

Now is a very important time in history, where individuals need to take notice of what is happening around them in the financial world, should they wish to acquire additional wealth and have the option to retire faster. Government lending is at an all-time high, the Banks have been given a crutch by the Government, the Bank of England (BOE) has reduced interest rates to an all-time low, Quantitative Easing and austerity cuts look as though they may be here for many years to come, pension schemes remain underfunded and we are now all living longer. On top of all this we now have Brexit and I have to ask the question ‘what have you and your financial adviser done to hedge your pension and investment portfolio against the UK’s exit from Europe’?

It’s frightening to think about what the future holds, with economies, cultures and technology changing at the rate it has over the last decade, it seems almost impossible to imagine what the world will look like as we arrive at the later stages of our life. But we can give ourselves a helping hand if we act quickly enough and reclaim our personal power from the financial services institutions.

Creating sufficient wealth over our working lifetime will enable us to have choices in later life. Being dependent on others in the future, I do not believe, will be a happy place. The question is “how do we create additional wealth without putting additional pressure on our current expenditure?” With low interest rates and mediocre investment returns, creating additional wealth is becoming more difficult. However, suppose I could show you how to create additional wealth from the money you have already accumulated to date. No additional expenditure required, but a very favourable outcome.

Many investors concentrate their portfolio in their home stock market and in some cases they only hold a small group of stocks. This is often a common occurrence when people have bought shares because of Utility or Bank offers or inherited a share portfolio from their parents or a relative and feel obliged not to cash them in and take the proceeds. Many company directors working for larger organisations also have large shareholdings, often in share incentive schemes and due to a sense of loyalty, find it difficult to sell the stock when it’s a good financial decision to do so. There is often an emotion attachment which is difficult to shift.

Limiting one’s investment universe to a handful of stocks, or even one stock market, is a concentrated strategy with possible risk and return implications. Consider the analogy of the roulette wheel. If you want to gamble for the highest odds you place your chips on a single number and if you are successful you win big. Likewise you could spread your chips around single numbers on the table (not to dissimilar to the retail unit trust fund managers or buying individual stocks and shares) and hope that the odds on the numbers that win are more substantial than the losses that did not.

Alternatively you could gamble by spreading the risk in your supposed favour by betting on red or black and get offered even returns by the house (or by using in-house managed funds). But it’s not the 50:50 odds you would expect. The wheel is always in favour of the house therefore by betting on red or black you will have an 18/38 chance of winning 47.37%, with the house winning 52.63%. This is again similar to active fund managers, even if they do outperform the benchmark, the additional charges incurred will most likely, over the longer term, reduce the return to below the benchmark. The question is, does investing with active management make a substantial difference to your return or is it just gambling with your money?  It is worth remembering that while a betting system may sound like a good idea, over time, they have been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be losing plays.

The media is full of experts predicting which markets are going to perform best over the forthcoming months and years, so investors by listening to this noise, quite often form a biased opinion of what’s going to happen next. If they decide to follow up this prediction with action and buy or sell stock to put themselves in a financial position to take advantage of this prediction, they are gambling not investing. The financial professional may make a prediction because they want to appear on some form of media commentary, or to advertise their company or make some noise with their prediction because they would like some personal acknowledgement. However, if it all goes wrong, which it does, the consequences have to be faced. I believe making predictions is foolhardy, because any amendment to political, global currency fluctuation or investor sentiment will see all bets fall out of the window and who can control such changes.

If I am ever asked ‘which financial sectors should I buy next, to get the best return on my investments?’, I often in the nicest possible way, have to refer to my lack of crystal ball reading skills and point out that no one knows with any degree of certainty. Even if a commentator calls the markets correctly, you still have to ask was it skill or just random luck. Even the most powerful professionals in the world of finance make these predictions and call it wrong big time, with huge global consequences.

So, why try and predict outcomes not under your control. Ask yourself “why would you pay somebody, who said that they can predict what is going to happen next?” and perhaps worse, why would you believe them if they said they could. According to Google, there are 1.2 million fortune tellers (or people suggesting that they can predict your future) appearing on their site, and without checking them all, I would expect a financial fee to be passed across their palms before they tell you about your long healthy lifespan and future search for love. Perhaps some may say we should add fund managers to this list.

A good question to ask yourself is: “would you pay a fortune teller to predict your financial future?”   If not why are you paying your fund manager?

The financial services world is not always as it seems. Wealth that belongs to you, is systematically being taken from your pension and investment accounts unnecessarily, transferring your wealth from you, to the financial services industry in the name of active management (I call this guessing or gambling). I believe now is the time to stand up to the industry and take back power and have control of your money.

My book ‘Retire Faster’ available  on Amazon will guide you through the investment jungle, where currently, the investor is the prey. I will show you how to become the hunter and demonstrate to you, that there is another way to create wealth. A way that allows investors the opportunity to achieve greater financial efficiency, greater independence and a more profitable return, whilst enjoying a much more transparent and consistent investment experience.

The question is, do you want to continue to gamble with your retirement fund, or invest it efficiently?

 

Ever wondered what an ISA is or what it can do for you?

Here is another of the simple Did U Know Guides to help you understand.

As always if you have any questions contact me: hannah@goldsmithfs.co.uk


 

As an Independent Financial Adviser with many years of experience I am often asked to exercise my psychic abilities. I’m asked to answer questions like “Where do you think the Global stock markets are going?”, or “a friend has been promised a 15% per annum return on their investment, what do you think?”

I believe these types of questions are asked, because for decades large Investment and Life Assurance Companies have supported mass marketing campaigns in the financial press. The financial press has therefore received enormous advertising revenues from these campaigns which in turn has seen the inevitable growth of the financial industry itself.

However, all these campaigns focus on one common premise which is finding the next ‘must have product’ or the next ‘must have fund’.

This has created an investment market where by retail investors’ clamour for financial promises without too much investigation. Some even being ignoring the old maxim, “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is”.

With all the broken promises and financial returns, that fall a long way short of the advertising, it’s not a surprise that potential investors are both disappointed and disillusioned with the investment markets. Quite often I have seen people scouring publications and the Internet, to see if they actually bought the ‘prime investment’ they (mistakenly) thought they already had.

For the financial press it makes sense to support these “sales campaigns” from the major investment houses, as it generates more advertising revenue. However, does it make sense for the investor?

The real problem is that finance publications earn revenue from predicting, the next best or worst shares, or financial sectors for the coming year. The retail public lap this up but can they afford the consequences if the financial publications get it wrong?

The plain truth is, giving investment advice boils down to making an almost psychic forecast. The publications are making a forecast, but have no more knowledge of the future than anyone else – you or I included. But how many publications would you sell boast a title like: “We have no idea what’s going to happen with your investment” or “buy our next issue and we offer you the same investments as last month”.

Investors have therefore grown up with the expectation that advisers like myself, (or the financial press) can look into a crystal ball and predict the future…..well we can’t. As the small print says “Investments can go down as well as up”. No one can accurately predict the future. What you do get from us is honest and informed advice, BUT there are no guarantees.

By Hannah Goldsmith – Goldsmith Invest

Tweet at @hannahGfs

Website : https://www.goldsmithfs.co.uk/

Linkedin – https://uk.linkedin.com/in/hannahgoldsmith

Cards on the table time. I have a strong dislike for British financial services companies. Ever since the Equitable Life debacle I’ve viewed them all with huge scepticism. Recent experience has proved that nothing much has changed and that the entire industry is a self-serving shambles. Fortunately my point of view is supported by the author of this book. My dilemma is this: How do I make plans for my retirement without having to resort to a large financial services company that’s going to screw me for every £ I want to put aside for a rainy day?

To my delight, this book appears to understand my predicament. Not only am I understood, I’m catered for. Marvellous. I’m used to financial and investment texts being dry, boring and full of caveats. None of that appears in this book. It speaks in a language I can understand and it deals with things from my perspective. It seems to help that the author is almost as anti the financial establishment as I am.

As I skimmed through the book initially I found myself stopping for the little exercises – actually completing them – and then quietly realising that I had learned something not just new but extremely useful. I don’t think you can expect to get all the answers in a book of this size, but it certainly gives me the confidence and a basic understanding to take some steps towards getting this important life skill right.

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