- With over 25 years in the financial services industry, what are some of the investment myths you’ve seen people operate under?
One of the biggest myths is that investing is complicated and best left to the “professionals.” This stops the majority of individuals from even considering the stock market as an investment vehicle. Another myth is diversification, or as I like to call it, “di-worsification.” It is common for individuals to be told that they need to hold 20 to 30 plus stocks in their portfolio in order to minimize risk. While this makes the brokers money, it does very little to enable an investor to generate wealth. The reason for this is because over-diversifying a portfolio actually exposes a portfolio completely to market risk, which cannot be eliminated by diversification. Indeed, you don’t get twice the benefit from holding twenty stocks than you do from holding ten. Likewise, you certainly don’t get ten times the benefit from holding 100. It is also common for the industry to promote that you should diversify within asset classes in order to reduce the risk of your investment portfolio and increase returns. Some also argue that investing in international markets can lower risk without sacrificing returns. Unfortunately, this too is a gimmick that will cost investors much more over the long term. You not only have to contend with market risk in another country, but also the fluctuations in exchange rates, which have the potential to worsen returns as well.
- How does someone avoid losing money in the stock market?
Either stay out of the stock market or develop the skills and knowledge to ensure you protect your capital every time you invest. I have never had anyone tell me they were concerned about a stock they owned going up in price, although it is very common to hear from them when it is going down. This trend begs the question as to why so many people spend the majority of their time looking at what stocks to buy, rather than actually managing their portfolio. Anyone can buy a stock, but so few people know how to protect their capital using sound risk and money management strategies. This aspect of trading, however, is the most critical to your success in the stock market and your longevity in building wealth.
- What are some of the secrets to building a powerful portfolio?
You first need to identify the goal of your portfolio. For example, are you seeking growth, or growth and income? Once you have made this decision, you then need to develop a watch list of stocks to suit the goal of your portfolio. I always recommend that you don’t stray too far outside the top 150 stocks by market capitalization on any market. If you do stray, you will not only increase your risk level, but also the knowledge required to successfully manage the risk. You also need to consider the amount of capital you have to invest, as this will determine how you initially construct your portfolio.
- Is achieving financial independence possible if one is aged 40 and has around $25,000 to invest?
Achieving financial independence is possible for anyone; all it takes is a desire to learn the right strategies and putting in the time and effort to implement them. I often say to those I teach that the profits will flow when you earn the right to achieve them. Once you are earning profits consistently, you can then use leverage to accelerate your wealth and achieve your financial goals. If you can prove to yourself that you can make 10 percent consistently, then moving the decimal point one place to the right to make 100 percent from the same strategy is very achievable if you use leverage. When you compound your returns and use leverage, your wealth accelerates.
- You have some Golden Rules for investors. What are they and why do you believe in them?
- Regardless of the amount of money you have to invest or the instrument you are trading, you should always spend the same amount of time researching your options to ensure you are protecting your capital on each and every occasion.
- Always aim to have between five and twelve stocks in your portfolio because smaller portfolios are easier to manage and represent lower risk.
- Never invest more than twenty percent of your total capital in any one stock. This rule helps to reduce your exposure to risk, while allowing you to achieve good returns.
- Only ever invest 10 percent of your available capital in trading short-term/highly leveraged markets. Allocate the remaining 90 percent to trading a medium to long-term portfolio. This is a very solid money management rule that allows you to take a low risk approach with your money while still achieving good returns on your capital.
- Why do you say many investors over complicate the process of taking profits from the market?
This gets down to behavioral patterns, as many over think things because of their underlying beliefs about money or success. It surprises me how many people look to world markets and events in an attempt to understand the stock market, only to suffer from information overload and confusion. All you really need to do is look in your own backyard to see what is happening. Trading stocks is really quite simple because it is based on the law of supply and demand. If more people are buying than selling, prices go up. If more are selling than buying, prices go down. Unfortunately, most people get this wrong as they are trying to predict the next best thing or be in front of the market. In reality, buying good solid stocks that are rising in price will ensure you profit provided you implement solid risk and money management strategies.
- Many people make money in a bull market. What changes for investors when the market declines? There is an old saying from Dr. Denis Waitley: “your attitude not your aptitude determines your altitude.” People are careless in bull and bear markets, yet bull markets hide many mistakes. In a bull market, traders become increasingly over confident. The more the market rises, the more confidence they gain, until one day the market runs out of buyers.
The market then falls and traders start living in hope of a recovery back to the good old days of a bull market. When this doesn’t happen and the decline continues, traders become increasingly fearful. The more the market falls, the more fearful traders become until the selling is exhausted and the cycle repeats. When it comes to the stock market, your attitude towards it will determine your success. A person with a healthy attitude will always outperform someone who has more aptitude.
- As a wealth manager, why do you recommend individuals should invest on their own?
I believe that with the right knowledge and skill, investors can consistently outperform professionals. This would help them save on the fees they would otherwise have to pay in order to have someone invest on their behalf. Even if individuals were to achieve the same gross return as the institutions, they would do so without having to pay fees, which still means they would outperform the fund managers.
- You also don’t endorse day trading. Why?
Trading is about creating a lifestyle, not making it your lifestyle! If you had the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge that enabled you to trade a couple of hours a week and enjoy your life for the rest of the week rather than replace one job with another by sitting behind a computer all day, I know which one I would choose. Many have a misguided belief that if they trade more they will make far more money. In reality, however, the opposite rings true. Many individuals are taught to trade on daily charts, which is like having your face planted up against a brick wall. Looking at this micro detail means you are unable to see the bigger picture of what is actually unfolding in the market. From experience, individuals who trade less, using weekly and monthly charts, make far more money and experience far less stress.
- You don’t believe in the “dollar-cost averaging method.” Why?
A common myth that is perpetuated in the financial services industry is the concept of dollar cost averaging, which is a strategy that was designed for institutional funds to enter and exit the market. This allowed them to move depending on the size of their transactions, so as not to substantially move the price of a stock or market. Proponents of this strategy emphasize the supposed inability of the investor to “time” the market. As a result, investors are encouraged to invest smaller amounts over long periods of time to take advantage of the fluctuations in the market. In my opinion, this strategy is flawed because the investor has lost the opportunity to invest their funds in assets that are rising in value. In addition, they are taking higher risks by investing in assets that are potentially falling in value, with no guarantee of making a profit!
- Are there specific sectors, companies, or markets that you believe should be avoided or particularly pursued?
I don’t advocate specific sectors or companies, although I do believe everyone should shop in their own backyard when it comes to investing in the stock market. The general rule I recommend is to not stray too far outside of the top 150 stocks by market capitalization. These stocks are highly liquid, are generally profitable businesses with, and they are traded heavily by institutions, so the chances of these companies going broke is very small.
- Can the market be timed?
This is a resounding yes! Indeed, timing the market is everything. It is important to buy low and sell high, which will give a small investor a huge advantage over fund managers. Getting it right will alleviate the problems associated with having your capital tied up for years in unproductive investments. Unlike fund managers, who must invest your capital when they receive it, despite whether the market is rising or falling, individuals have the flexibility to diversify the timing of their entry and exit to ensure they only invest when the market is rising. Selling stocks when the market is falling or moving sideways will enable you to compound your returns by selling shares at a higher price and buying at a lower price.
About the Author:
Dale Gillham, labeled as “one of Australia’s most respected analysts” by Wealth Creator Magazine, is the best-selling author of How to Beat the Managed Funds by 20%. With over 25 years of experience in various sectors of the investment community, including banking, financial planning, stock market education, and professional trading, he has helped countless others reach their goals of achieving financial independence. Gillham co-founded Wealth Within 16 years ago to provide genuine education as well as independent investment advice to traders and investors who have become disillusioned by the industry.
He has shared his market commentary with many major media outlets overseas, including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Sunday Age,The West Australian News, and The Australian Financial Review, as well as national television appearances on CNBC, National Nine News, and Channel Seven. For six years he was interviewed monthly by Sky News. He resides in Melbourne, Australia.
For more information, consult https://www.wealthwithin.us/
Q&A with Clare George-Hilley, co-founder, Centropy PR
Clare George-Hilley is the co-founder of Centropy PR
Global Banking and Finance Magazine recently caught up with Clare George-Hilley, co-founder of fintech and financial services specialist PR agency Centropy, as the company toasts to three years of trading. We asked Clare about what life is like running an agency in the city, the trends she is seeing in the financial services space and what the future holds following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Why did you decide to set up Centropy PR?
I was looking for an opportunity to launch my own agency, both my husband and I had been in the public affairs and public relations industry for over a decade and we thought the time was right to go out on our own.
We could see that the financial services industry was surging, with challenger brands and new technology transforming traditional banks and setting new standards of customer service. There was a huge market opportunity to create and launch a PR agency that could provider first class comms support, alongside a deep understanding of complex regulations such as AML, KYC, and the GDPR. Likewise, many traditional technology firms are diversifying their offerings, to tap into the growing market opportunity posed by the fintech boom.
So, we worked on a business plan, designed a strategy for winning clients and officially launched in September 2017. Within a few months we had a growing portfolio of clients and a thriving business, since that point, we have never looked back!
How is Centropy doing now and what are you plans for growth?
The last three years have flown by and our client portfolio has grown and diversified quickly. We now manage PR campaigns for clients on everything from cryptocurrency, wealth management to payments and trading software.
We’ve also hosted parliamentary debates with key industry figures, including Members of Parliament (MPs) on topics such as the future of the financial services industry and the impact of challenger banks on traditional providers. The team is expanding quickly and we’re investing heavily in the latest training and support to ensure our team members are equipped to reach their full potential.
How do you see the next 12 months?
The Covid-19 outbreak has crippled the economy, forcing millions of people to work from home due to the very serious health risks. The knock-on effect of this crisis will lead to companies cutting costs where possible to save jobs, so tech will play a vital role in ensuring many businesses stay afloat.
We are already working with contactless payments specialists and other fintech companies that offer solutions to help companies survive and thrive despite the inevitable challenges ahead.
We aim to continue building our portfolio of expertise, testing ourselves with new challenges and delivering the best possible service to clients
This is a Sponsored Feature.
Lessons from past recessions and advice for business owners during the coronavirus pandemic
By Neil Davis, managing director and co-founder of Sterling Networks
What is Sterling Networks?
“Sterling Networks is a professional organisation founded in 2014 which facilitates networking events for businesses across the Midlands, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and the South West. Over 300 members attend our fortnightly breakfast and lunchtime meetings.”
What is your background prior to establishing Sterling Networks?
“During the 1990s, I worked in the corporate team for Halifax. My wife, Tracey, and I went onto own a manufacturing business, which was also called Sterling, and produced a range of gifts, merchandise and promotional items.
“We soon realised tradeshows were a great way to meet distributors and clients. From there, the business grew exponentially, and we managed to build a network of around 500 distributors. Eventually, we became ground down by the manufacturing business – in part because the local manufacturing sector was being devastated by competition from China – and took the decision to sell the business and relocate to Spain.
“After spending several years living abroad, we moved back to the UK to set up Sterling Integrity (EXPO’S) & Sterling Networks (Networking) We were inspired by a desire to help businesses make meaningful connections with one another, and we haven’t looked back since.”
The UK has recently entered a recession, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. What have you learned from past recessions and how are these experiences helping you to navigate the current crisis?
“I’ve lived through a number of recessions and have seen the pain that insolvency causes companies on a large scale. It’s taught me that there are those who win and sadly those who lose, and that businesses must adapt to a rise in demand for certain products or services at a time of financial crisis.
“Given the nature of what Sterling Networks offers [an opportunity for business owners to connect and grow together] I decided we could build upon the brand due to the demand for new business during the pandemic. We therefore moved our networking events from face-to-face to virtual via tools like Zoom and have gained a steady stream of new members in recent months, reaching an overall total of well over 300.
“On top of that, we’ve taken new staff on during the crisis and have launched a number of new regional groups across the country. I was determined that Sterling should come out of the pandemic with a head start, so my attitude to the recession has been much more positive than those who are forecasting nothing but doom and gloom.
“We can’t pretend high street retail wasn’t suffering long before the pandemic came along, and thousands of new businesses are sure to start up to meet the demand for the products and services that people require at a time such as this. In order to develop and grow businesses need to focus on where changes need to be made to meet this demand.”
Sterling Networks has been providing emotional support to its members throughout the pandemic. What advice have you been giving to members that could be useful to other business owners?
“I try not to be too opinionated and respect other people’s views when giving advice to members, as there are always two sides to every circumstance. I’ve been careful not to say to people that they should be doing one thing or another, as I don’t know their business and its needs quite like they do. The only thing that I have been telling members is the importance of setting up one-to-ones with one another. By doing so, they can listen to the needs and concerns of other, like-minded business owners and work out ways that they might be able to help one another.
“The pandemic has meant we all have a bit more time on our hands, so the advice I would give to people is to use this extra time wisely. Not having to travel physically from one meeting to another means there is a greater opportunity to connect with more people. It’s important to remember that individuals outside of your business can be just as valuable as those within it.”
What makes you hopeful for the future and are there any words of encouragement you can give to budding entrepreneurs?
“The key events that have happened to this country during my lifetime – whether wars, recessions, or the pandemic – have enabled me to take stock of things. While these experiences are certainly challenging, we all become stronger for living through them, and it gives me great confidence that the world will ultimately improve as a result of the pandemic.
“The whole world is effectively rebooting right now, as is the business community. I like to think entrepreneurs will recognise this opportunity to take better care of their peers, and this translates to greater collaboration between organisations. Speak to as many people as you can, ask all the questions that you need to and do your homework. This might well be a difficult time for us all but planning for the future must start now if it is to become as prosperous as I know it can be.”
Exclusive Interview with Ugo Loser, CEO of ARCA Fondi SGR
Arca Fondi SGR is a mid-sized Italian active asset management company. Founded in 1983 by a consortium made up of 12 regional banks, the company has grown in time, expanding its network of distributors and its client base. Nowadays Arca manages Mutual Funds, Pension Funds and Institutional Accounts with total AUM exceeding 30 € bln, reaching more than 100 banks and financial institutions and serving more than 800,000 final clients.
What are the key contributors to ARCA Fondi SGR’s success over the past 35 years?
Arca has always put clients and distributors first. That is to say we have always privileged fair pricing for funds and developing high quality products and services for our customers. This requires constant innovation as an objective and looking for people’s talent to be free to produce its effect
Why are people the founding element of ARCA Fondi SGR and how have you sustained this vision over the years?
We work in small teams, people are young and motivated and can perform duties with a high level of autonomy and responsibility. Innovation is asked to everyone, everyday
What makes Arca Fondi SGR different from other asset management firms in Italy?
Arca is a company focused on doing what it can do very well, that is to say mutual and pension funds, services for clients and banks. We never follow short term trends but always look for long lasting impact on the industry, like we’ve done may times in the past
What products/services has ARCA Fondi SGR pioneered?
Arca has been the inventor of “Arca Cedola”, fixed-horizon, coupon paying funds, which have been with no doubt the greatest product innovation of the past 12 years on the Italian market. This type of funds, at first strictly based on bonds and later as a balanced product, has encountered an enormous success both with clients and distributors due to its simple and effective value proposition. Arca is a market leader also in the “PIR” segment of funds, a range of product focused on mid and small sized companies, that have been the best performers in the Italian stock market for the last few years. In services, Arca is a leader in technology applied to asset management. Our website, app and digital services for clients and banks are award winning, state of the art combination of data, technology and channels, and the best is yet to come on this side.
What strategies do you have in place to sustain your market position and withstand professional competition in the country?
As I mentioned, we do not waste resources on projects with dubious results, instead we constantly invest on people, products and services. The high level of profitability that Arca has been able to maintain even in difficult years for the markets of the banking sector is a further testimony that this strategy works very well
How do you use technology to create meaningful experiences for your customers?
First of all, we have created a whole new division, Arca InnovAction Lab, dedicated to technology, data and processes. This ensures projects are delivered quickly and they are free to leave bad past practices behind. Arcaonline.it, Arca’s website, provides distributors with detailed information on clients’ portfolios, asset under management and subscription/redemption requests. It monitors aggregate selling data offering to our partners a suite functions and analytics to track commercial campaigns. And if the banks branches need assistance, they may ask Sara, our digital chatbot. A broad and timely multimedia production, covering exclusive reports, comments, presentations, videos, webinars and newsletters is also available on the website.
Customers, subscribing Arca’s funds through its distributors’ network, may access Arcaclick, a dedicated area on Arcaonline.it. With Arcaclick the client can easily browse through her portfolio of funds, analyze its characteristics, view transactions and historical funds’ performance in customizable views. Arcaclick is also a powerful source of information on Arca product range: Prospectus, KIIDs and other literature is easily accessible along with news, comments and reports. Arcaclick may also be accessed via Arca Fondi App, a free application for mobiles and tables, running on both iOS and Android. Available 24/7 and in mobility, Arcaclick gives clients the opportunity access information, news and details of their personal portfolio anytime and anywhere.
What key trends will drive pension growth in 2020 and beyond?
The Italian market for pension funds is still very small and therefore there is a great opportunity to grow. Arca Fondi manages the biggest open ended Italian pension fund and it’s been constantly at the top of its rankings. As people and workers are looking for yield and to weather short term volatility, the pension fund is very well poised to profit from this trend.
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