The tendency of high net worth individuals to split their financial affairs among several advisers is one major cause of poor investment decisions and inadequate diversification. At issue here is what diversification means. Too many investors think they’ve diversified their risk, when in fact they’ve simply spread the same risk between several fund managers.
The purpose of diversifying an investment portfolio is either to reduce the risk for a given expected return or to increase the expected return at a given level of risk, says Johan de Lange, director of Allan Gray Investor Services.
To spread investments successfully, investors should consider a number of aspects, rather than randomly diversifying among managers in the hope of achieving some diversification benefits, he says.
The first consideration is the asset allocation decision – the mix of shares, property, cash and bonds in a portfolio.
“Due to the uncorrelated nature of the returns of each asset class, asset allocation is likely to make the biggest impact on an investor’s risk/return outcome,” De Lange explains. Investors can diversify across different asset classes either by selecting a “balanced” or multi-asset class fund that matches their broad asset allocation mix requirements but gives the portfolio manager the ability to vary this within certain mandate guidelines; or they can create their own portfolio by buying specialist asset class funds.
Choosing an asset manager
Having made the asset allocation decision, the next area of focus should be the selection of the asset manager and the individual funds. The most important decision is selecting a fund that is likely to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns – it’s one that should be taken in light of a fund’s proven long-term track record. Investors should consider choosing multiple funds if, when combined, they have the effect of reducing risk. De Lange says that to achieve the benefits of diversification, investors should select managers who employ different investment philosophies and styles. “The best strategy is to invest in funds that behave differently under different scenarios, funds that are uncorrelated in their return and their risk profiles.”
Choosing fund managers is one of the biggest challenges for retail investors. Veronica Goodall, asset management consultant at stockbroker BJM, says that all too often the decision is based not on an asset manager’s strength of ability, but on their strength of presence – or the size of their marketing budget. The fact that a brand is all over the media tends to make them top of mind, but Goodall says investors need to look deeper, at the BJMs, the Coronations and the Allan Grays of this world, and not just the biggest players.
Creating the relationship
Goodall explains that unless the investor has a R10 million portfolio, it is likely the relationship with the asset manager, once selected, will be hands-off. “So all the hard work needs to be done upfront in choosing the right manager of your money and placing your trust in them – because there will be no massive personal relationship afterwards,” she says. In BJM’s case, that relationship consists of two roadshows a year, which clients are encouraged to attend and where they can air their questions, as well as regular newsletters and fact sheets.
The bulk of the information is freely available on its website – and so it is with most asset managers. A multimanager such as SYmmETRY does all the fund manager research for the investor, to a depth that no individual could possibly do for himself, and CEO Raymond Berelowitz says there are risks in choosing a fund manager that the average individual could simply never be aware of. In a skills-short country like SA, teams frequently change with profound consequences. If your selection criteria are the asset manager’s performance over the past five years, the loss of key personnel effectively means it is a new team and past performance is no longer relevant.
“In SA, there is a preference for the team-based approach, and changes in personnel affect the credibility of the team so much that you henceforth have to take their performance data with a pinch of salt.
“The average investor would probably never even know of such a change, and even if he did, he might not get the significance. We have the muscle to get plenty of face-time with asset management houses, because we need to understand a team, when there’s a change and whether past performance is still relevant,” Berelowitz says.
(Infographic) The Financial Advice Millennials And Gen Zers Want To Know
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful. And that starts with getting the right advice.
Whether it’s saving for retirement or paying off credit card debt, money management can be a challenge. Of course, different people have different concerns – and that often comes with age. While a 60-something baby boomer might be organising their savings for retirement, your 20-something millennial might be focused on paying off student loans.
In a recent study, financial intelligence company Comet surveyed more than 1 000 people to uncover the top financial concerns of various age groups, as well as the financial advice millennials and Gen Zers want to know and what they hear instead.
Overall, saving for retirement was the top concern across all age groups, with saving for an emergency and affording monthly bills following in second and third. However, it’s no wonder these are some of the most pressing worries – according to the research, 23 percent of people admit they don’t have a savings account, and 43 percent reported not being on track towards their retirement goals. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t hear the right advice growing up. At least that might be the case for Gen Zers and millennials.
According to the research, these young people want to learn things such as how the stock market works, how to manage an investment portfolio, how to invest in real estate and how to build credit. Instead, they’re simply told how to create a budget, save for retirement and pay credit card bills in full every month.
Having a grasp on your financials is tricky, but it’s crucial if you want to be successful and comfortable. To learn more, check out Comet’s infographic below.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
14 Ways To Make Quick Cash On The Side
If you need money quickly, here are some solid ideas.
Need to make some fast money on the side, whether it’s to pay off a credit card or to make your rent?
Keep in mind, making quick side cash isn’t about making a lot of money or getting rich. It’s about getting a shot of capital to help tide you over and put something extra in your pocket. However, some of these side-income ideas can build up your wealth over time. There’s many ways to accomplish this: By participating in the gig economy, the sharing economy, online sales networks, passive income techniques and more.
If you’re looking to make extra money in a relatively short period of time, check out these 14 slides.
Take Advantage Of Financial Democracy Made Possible By The New Stock Exchanges
Why should financial democracy matter to entrepreneurs?
Because it creates a society able to afford products and services. Without it, even the innovative products and services that are entrepreneurs’ bread and butter will fail.
What is financial democracy, exactly?
It’s both the right and the ability of the (wo)man in the street and business people to make the decisions that affect their financial circumstances.
Financial democracy does not automatically follow political democracy. For almost 25 years after South Africa’s political transformation, the exclusiveness of our financial markets continued to deprive the vast majority of South Africans of the means to invest, save, and build wealth. South Africa has, therefore, never developed a retail stock exchange environment. So, it has deprived the majority of small and medium sized business of access to capital.
For entrepreneurs to truly flourish, they need a mechanism that easily and seamlessly connects the investor pool with every size of business. And, they need affordable ways to enter both the retail and institutional market.
In short, they need stock exchanges. Ones on which listing takes weeks rather than years, doesn’t break the bank for listing fees, and provides the shortest route to the largest possible potential investor base.
That’s not been possible in the stock exchange monopoly that existed for six decades. Now, it is.
We now have four new stock exchanges. The resulting competitive environment will significantly reduce the cost of listing – and the cost for investors of buying and selling shares.
Instead of restricting share trading to people or organisations who already have tens of thousands of rands to invest or millions to spend on listing, by licensing four new stock exchanges, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA, formerly the FSB) has recognised that most financial decisions do not call for high levels of education.
Most people know how to spend their own grocery money. Most know that it’s better to keep their R1 000 monthly income in a coffee jar than spend R50 of it on bank account fees. People who can barely read and write are immensely skillful at manipulating air time deals to their advantage.
There is significant financial savvy in all social strata.
In the same way, although the mechanics of bookkeeping and accounting may be unfamiliar territory to many entrepreneurs, most have a clear understanding of the difference between profit and loss.
The FSCA has therefore enabled democratisation of the financial markets by enabling the broadest possible spectrum of entrepreneurs and investors to use stock exchanges to participate in and contribute to the economy – on their own rather than prescriptive terms.
How do you take strategic advantage of this democratisation?
- Base your business strategy on people’s instinct for making decisions in their own best interests. Trust financial decentralisation, such as one sees in crowd funding and in digital environments such as block chain, where people would far rather trust one another than institutions and governments. This is democracy innately at work in the financial environment and it’s accelerating organically as digital technologies give people more means and the confidence to help themselves – to information and opportunities. Ride the wave.
- Tap into people’s desire to innovate. Consumer organisations have proved that letting people interactively help them develop products is a powerful growth engine. Apply the principle by letting people grow your business by buying shares in it, giving you capital and themselves a platform on which to build wealth.
- Remember, the ultimate loyalty reward is equity.
Your financial democracy business plan
Look to list on an entrepreneurial stock exchange; one that was founded by entrepreneurs on entrepreneurial principles.
That means: A stock exchange that is already built on financial democracy and decentralisation. One that has, at its core, a single operational concept that keeps things simple for you, automatically gives you an immediate competitive advantage, and, ensures that no matter what your business needs in terms of attracting capital, the exchange can provide all the options in the same, consistent way.
What does such an exchange look like?
It has fintech capabilities. So:
It slashes your listing costs. It achieves this, among other things, by enabling you to populate an electronic prospectus, demonstrating your financial viability, and self publish.
It gives you control by having the granularity and agility to impose relevant governance right down to the individual investor. You get to decide the types and quantities of investors you want to attract. This also enables you to achieve black economic empowerment in perpetuity.
It leads the world by clearing and settling trades in T+0. No-one in the value chain has to hold large sums of money for days following a transaction. Small transactions become profitable. Investors don’t have to risk their life savings on a single large trade. A retail market is opened. An investment and savings culture is entrenched. The economy expands. Your business grows steadily.
It enables anywhere, any time trading via a mobile app that allows investors to see share value in real time. See economy expansion point above.
It integrates processes and procedures, simplifying them and ensuring rapid onboarding of issuers and, therefore, speed to market with new concepts and alignment with the digital economy.
It operates a principles-based regime. So:
It treats you, as an executive, with respect. It’s not prescriptive. It does not insist on excessive oversight, allowing the Companies Act to guide you to sustainability.
It does not attempt to squeeze your company into a pre-defined business or listings format. It recognises and works with your uniqueness.
It obviates the need for expensive specialist listings advisors.
It focuses on financial inclusion and access. So:
Shares can be bought and sold for no more than R1 000. See economy building point above.
The new world of stock exchanges is integrated, synergistic, holistic, organic, self-fulfilling
Decentralisation of financial control, democratisation of opportunity leads to a whole new economy. One in which, for instance, a taxi operator can finance a minibus through a company in which his purchase gives him shares. A single purchase gives him two benefits: a vehicle on which to found his business and a longer-term investment in shares that he can trade. The funding company gains liquidity through access to a wider base of investors while being able to control who buys and sells and the conditions on which trading takes place. Increasing black equity in business becomes an organic, natural, self-perpetuating process.
Everyone wins in a decentralised, democratised financial market. And it’s the stock exchanges that drive the process.
As an entrepreneur, can you afford to ignore the acceleration that listing could give your business growth?
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