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MAP Blog

Bydylanharper95

Investing in variable markets                   

My last blog (before my holidays that is) was at the end of May when I saw some little green shoots coming through.  Came back from holidays and those shoots had shrunk back into themselves something terrible and dashed any of my hopes that we were maybe just maybe coming out of this trench that we are in.   It’s all very depressing looking at valuations day after day and seeing no signs of recovery or pickup at all, but this merely reminded me of one of the mantras about investing in that we invest for the LONG term and we shouldn’t concern ourselves too much about the short term.  

Since coming back from holiday, I have had a few phone calls from clients concerned about how much they have dropped in the last few months, and the main problem here is that they are looking at things almost daily and getting all worked up about “losses”.    As an adviser we always tell people that investments can go down as well as up, but people invariably forget this and treat an investment like a bank account in that they want to look every day and see how much interest has been added – kind of thing.   It doesn’t work like that at all though.

When we do an Investment we always cover risk and we determine whether someone wants low middle or high risk and what combination of each and this tells you that basically all investments are speculative and so will need time to work – and certainly not measured in days or weeks.     When someone does an investment, I would suggest that it is looked at on average about once a month as this will give you a better picture of how things are progressing – you won’t get that picture if you look at things daily or very regularly.  Most investments are for the longer period anyway so why get all excited when it doesn’t perform for a few weeks or even months as it is years you should be concentrating on. 

As I have said before the old adage is very true – you want to buy cheap and sell dear – and this takes time, and so you need patience and a cool head when doing investing.    I have seen some people panic and put investments into cash because they are losing money short term, some people even take out all their money form an investment in the bad times.   If you think about that – it is the opposite of buy cheap and sell dear – and all because an investment is losing money short term.        

If your investment process is good (and at MAP an analysis we did in November 2021 showed that we got a steady 15.3% p.a. for the previous 5 years which is pretty good), then just because you are losing money just now using that same investment process, doesn’t mean that the process is bust.   It just means that the markets are poor, because if there was money to be made, then I am very confident that we would identify where and would capitalise on that. 

So it is at times like this that you need to keep a steady head, and continually do your research to see what green shoots are coming through that means something and can be built on.    There are no easy answers and you need to work at it, after all if it was that easy – then everyone would do it.   

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice.  You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions.  Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement.  Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation.  Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing in Uncertain Markets

Looking at the markets this morning – the last day of May 22, we actually see little shoots “maybe” coming through the gloom, and only time itself will tell us if they are shoots or not.    Values today are almost the same level as they were at the beginning of May – and that is something, because all they seem to have done this month is go down down and further down.      

For all business that we have had lately, this is currently sitting in cash waiting on a tell tale sign that things could improve before we invest it, as previously all values seemed to do was go down and nothing else.    Now what happens in the markets is that any growth that you earn will only appear on something like 7 or 8 days in the year, and that will be the growth for the whole of the year, so you need to be ready to capitalise on this i.e. be invested.   The other 250 odd days, the market rises and falls and by and large wipes itself clean so you will make very little or lose very little, and these days don’t count at all.  It is only the 7 or 8 days when it goes up big time.      

If we get 1 more day when the values rise, then we will start looking at investing some money, but don’t ever think that once you are on the upward projection that that is you made – far from it.  What invariably happens is that when you get an uplift in values, some investors will cash in when the going is good, whilst others will cash in and cut their losses, and so what this does is to reduce prices and then valuations.   In reality, things tend to level out for a period before they make any further movement and yes this can be down as well as up – you don’t know.    This is where you need to do your homework regularly to see what funds are improving over time and warrant your investment.   

The fact that you have money available on an investment platform ready to invest is great, because this lets you react quickly to improving markets otherwise you could easily lose out.  If you had money sitting in your bank account and wanted to invest this – it could take 2 – 3 days to get it onto the platform ready for investment, and so you would find that impossible to capitalise on the increasing markets.  

Remember the old adage of buy cheap and sell dear – and this is what you need to do if you are to get good growth.     To get this you need to do your homework A LOT, and then be ready to pounce once you have the facts showing that it is good to invest.   This is what M A P does for its clients regularly.     

Whatever way you adopt, you need to keep watching and monitoring things until they start picking up and then you will see the actual areas that improve most.    There are no easy answers and you need to work at it, after all if it was that easy – then everyone would do it.   

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice.  You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions.  Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement.  Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation.  Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing in a falling market

At times like this when it seems that the market only goes down, then you need to approach things slightly differently. There is no sense in merely putting money away only for it to fall – so you need to do your homework first.

First of all I would say that you NEED to be invested, because if you are not in the market when it rises, then you will lose out, so you need to be in it to win it. Bear in mind that the growth in the stock market is really represented in something small like 7 or 8 days and these are the days when you will make the growth for the whole year, so as I said earlier, if you are not in the market in those days – you will lose out big time. The other 250 odd days, the market rises and falls and by and large wipes itself clean so you will make very little or lose very little, and these days don’t count at all. It is only the 7 or 8 days when it goes up big time.

Now that you have decided to be in the market – where do you put your money ? There are 2 main alternatives here and they are 1. Most platforms have a cash facility and whilst this will pay buttons for interest, the simple fact that the money is in the platform and ready to invest at a moment’s notice is the main thing. Then if you keep your eyes on the markets and are ready to invest at a moments notice, then at least you have a chance of getting something. If you had that money in a bank account and wanted to invest quickly, you would find that impossible as it can take a few days to get money on and cleared ready for investing through most platforms – so that would defeat the purpose. 2. The other alternative is that you invest the money into funds that you believe will benefit from any pickup fairly quickly as you may not have much time to get invested. For example over the last few months a lot of tech funds which previously had very good growth, have fallen by a significant amount, so much so that you think that they represent good value if they were to rebound. Remember the old adage of buy cheap and sell dear – and this is what you need to do if you are to get good growth. You may decide to do some research over the long period and see what funds have had a good consistency over say the last 3 years and invest in those. To get a good consistency takes good management and this doesn’t vanish overnight although market factors might have reduced value overnight (or so it seems) so it’s not a daft idea to invest in them as they would be more likely to rebound than others.

Whatever way you adopt, you need to keep watching and monitoring things until they start picking up and then you will see the actual areas that improve most. There are no easy answers and you need to work at it, after all if it was that easy – then everyone would do it.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing in general terms

No wonder the public are confused about investing when everyone and their granny has a different way of looking at things. Some people follow fund managers, some follow fund companies, others will look at what is happening in the world and pick companies affected – and so on and on. As I said it seems that everyone has their own way of looking at things, and they all have their merits, but I would say that you need to treat all of this with a bit of perspective.

If you follow a fund manager, you would need to look at what he or she was good at and then analyse what areas they plan to move into. Similarly if you follow fund companies – do they have the necessary expertise in the new field ? If you look at what is happening in the world and pick companies that will benefit from that, then you need to take into account size etc – this might only represent say 5% of that market – and so on. I would say that there are disadvantages for all of these approaches, because before you invest your hard earned cash – you need some kind of solidity to your facts. If you build your house on sand – then it will be a disaster, whereas if you build it on solid ground – then you can only go up.

What we do at MAP is use facts only and so we are hoping to minimise any subjectivity at all – which is what a lot of other people do when they give you their OPINION. What MAP does on a regular basis is analyse funds to see what their long term AND short term performance is and then we only use and recommend funds that have both of these, so what we end up with is a fund that has good consistency over the long term and is also performing short term – what could be better. MAP does the long term analysis every calendar quarter, and the short term performance analysis every week, and so this allows you to look out for the trends over the weeks and months and that will give anyone a better understanding of things.

This method means that biases, prejudices, feeling etc are all kept out of the mix and we only look at ACTUAL performances. Personally we don’t think that it can get any better than this.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing in companies or funds

At the weekend I was reading the financial section of one paper and the writer was giving tips for what companies to pick and giving the rationale. Personally speaking, I think that this is way too risky and one that I would never take, simply because it is too risky. What they were recommending was company A , B, D etc and they gave perfectly good logical reasons why you should invest in that company, but they also added that the investor needed to do some research on the different aspects of what they were talking about. This means that the investor would have to go knee deep into the accounts and do a lot of research – and bear in mind that a lot of people cannot read accounts, whilst I can as I am an accountant, but I can tell you that this is hard work sometimes, and you would need a good knowledge of accounts to do this properly. The biggest danger, as far as I am concerned though, is that this is the kind of work that you need to do before you invest in just ONE company. What if you want to do 15 investments – that is a lot of hard work, and a lot of time as well, and basically this is not practical for most people.

As an IFA we invest in funds, and whilst the constitution of all funds varies according to the fund manager, most funds will invest in anything from 50 companies to around 100 – so the fund manager does all the hard work in going through the accounts and looking at each company. Moreover, they do this research regularly to convince themselves that they should keep their investment in place – and this makes the research aspect a full-time job. What we as advisers do therefore is look at the statistics of the fund itself and we track the most consistent and half decent performing ones – so that simplifies matters greatly.

I also spoke about risk – so if you invested £20,000 in company ABC Ltd and it faltered, and perhaps even goes into liquidation, then you could lose all of your money, and this makes it high risk. If you invested the same £20,000 in fund BCD, and one of the companies goes bust, then you could lose £20,000/60 = £333 and to a large extent this is bearable, and so in one fell swoop you can reduce your exposure to risk by a huge amount.

Investing in funds is easier than individual companies – and you can also reduce your risk by a very big amount.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Using Best Buy Lists


The main reason why people use the best buy lists from platforms is that they don’t know how to do the relevant research themselves and are looking for help on this from the experts. It’s just a pity that they don’t understand how they are made up. Everyone will think that the best buy lists are pointing them in the right direction for their investments as they will be the best places to invest – but is it that easy. No of course it’s not.

These lists are made up by people working for the platforms and the lists are made up on a whole variety of reasons – which may or may not agree with your NEEDS, and what I say investors should do – is look at what investments they need, not what someone else is pushing. If someone is doing their own investing, you need a logical approach to what you are doing because one of the most important aspects of investing is getting a good spread. This means that you need a good spread of risks, and you need to choose what you want in percentage terms between low middle and high risk. You also need a good spread of geography, in that you don’t want to have everything in the one country or the one area. You need a spread of UK, Europe, Asia, America, Japan, Global. You also need a good spread of types in that you can invest in Healthcare, Technology, Multi Asset, balanced etc. Finally, you need a good number of funds to invest in to get a spread of all the above factors, and what we are talking about here is numbers.

In general, when investing money, it is easy to say that a big spread will reduce risk a lot but you can get to the silly stage where you have too many funds. We have always worked to something like 9 or 10 funds as that should give you a good spread, but doesn’t give you too much work in keeping your eye on all the funds used. We always do a minimum of £5k an Investment fund and a kind of a maximum of £60k – or so. This should be enough funds to give you a good spread but also make sure that you are not going overboard just for the hell of it.


When MAP invests money for clients, we look to do all of the above spreads, and to make things simpler for DIY investors – try the following :-

  1. Decide how many funds you are going to use in total but no more than 10
  2. Then you need to decide how many funds you want in low risk – in middle risk and finally in high risk
  3. Then do your research of those risk areas and pick the funds that (a) are half decent performing and (b) give you a good spread.

This starts you off, and form that point, you need to keep doing your research time and time again, and don’t be afraid to change any of the choices if they are heading south. MAP always works on facts by looking at past performances and also the trends – and if you keep dong this, you can get a successful portfolio,

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or
enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

 Using Best Buy Lists                

All of the DIY and indeed other platforms today offer people their best buy lists, and personally I don’t think that they are worth the paper that they are written on.  I don’t doubt for a minute that there is an awful lot of work put into them and they will all be done very differently BUT I think that they are flawed from the start.

One organisation puts a lot of emphasis onto how cheap a fund is – whilst needless to say, others will only give that aspect lip service.    Most of them are also trying to guess how they WILL do in the next year or so – and that will be laden with assumptions, so what if that didn’t happen etc.   Before anyone uses these best buy list, they would need to have a good look at all the assumptions to see if they agree with them or not, before they started using them – and that kind of defeats the purpose I would say.

All of them are looking at the past and trying to guess what the future might be like- and that’s way too impossible I would say.  Who could have guessed about Brexit, the pandemic, about Russia invading Ukraine etc 

A lot of investors – especially new ones – won’t have much of a clue about where to invest and how much etc – and so it is only natural that they will look at best buy lists to see what the “experts” are doing, but this is not always valid.   I would say that there are very few experts in investing just because it changes so much and so rapidly.   My crystal ball would be spinning – that’s for sure. 

MAP doesn’t produce best buy lists, but what we look at is actual performances.    What we do before we use any funds is research consistent funds over the previous 5 years, and we do this quarterly, and then we look at what of those funds are still doing the job in the previous 3 months – and we do this weekly.  So what we end up with is a small list of funds for each risk category that are doing it long-term and also short-term, but, we don’t stop there, because we need to keep looking at funds over the short term i.e. every week – and so watch the trends of what funds are improving and what ones aren’t. 

There is only ONE GUARANTEE about investing – and that is, that everything changes – and that’s why our process – I believe- is the correct one, because we are looking out for all the changes – whilst best buy lists usually stay for a few months at least – but they don’t incorporate changes.

There is nothing to beat hard facts and that’s what MAP works on – facts.    We look at past performances and also the trends – and personally speaking I don’t think that you could do anything else other than this.   

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice.  You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions.  Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement.  Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation.  Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing Money

When we do any investing for clients it is a two tier process. First of all we look out for half decent long-term performance and this is usually over 5 years, and then we look at the short-term performance over the previous 3 months to just ensure that funds are working for us both long term and short term. This tends to give us a good bit of consistency over time and helps with fund selection and investment, but needless to say, in the troubled times that we are n today – it is irrelevant, because we don’t have any long-term performance.

What we have been looking at in the last week or so, is short-term performance only, and whether this is enough to persuade us to invest some clients monies. Interestingly when I looked at some low risk funds recently, I did come across 5 funds that were worthy of another look as their performance in the last month alone ranged from 1.80% to the largest at 3.16%. That’s something given all the turmoil in the world just now.

The top performing fund was an Infrastructure Income fund, and then we had 2 Absolute type funds so even in all the turmoil, there are some funds that are still performing. You might then say – should we not invest in those funds ? and my answer would be no, because you are not looking over a long enough period to be able to make a reasonable decision. Yes some funds are doing well over the last month, but in my opinion, that is not enough time to commit money to an investment, and in fact if you look at the best performing fund – which I said was an infrastructure fund – these types of funds are measured over years and not a single month.

One of the main things that I have repeatedly said about investing is that you need to do your research over and over again – research is not a one off thing, and needs to be done repeatedly, and with perhaps different approaches as well. MAP only invests a clients money if we can see reasonable long-term performance and also short-term performance, as well as having a reasonable consistency and a half decent sized fund – at least £100 million plus.

If you invested solely on short term performance, you would probably end up switching funds every month or so – and that is a waste of time, and wouldn’t earn you anything. MAP won’t start to invest the money that we currently have in cash awaiting investment until we can see viable performance stats over the long and short term, and we need to see some green shoots appearing before we start.

So remember – when in doubt DON’T.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing Money in Falling Markets

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of being pessimistic when you look at the value of your share portfolio and think about turning it into cash – to stop any further falls, but in hindsight you will see that it is a knee jerk reaction – and you shouldn’t do this.

Having been through a couple of big market falls before, you do need to keep your nerve and hold tight – as this is the best reaction. I remember reading a while ago about an analysis that a large Scottish insurer did on the stock-market, and in general they found that all the growth in a full year came in something like 5 – to 7 working days. So, if you were in the market on those days you could benefit, and if you weren’t – then you would lose out. All the remaining days the FTSE would go up and down and basically stay in the same place. This fact surprised even me, but it was statistically proven.

Now taking this into account, if someone is checking their portfolio these days, they could get very pessimistic indeed with looking at values that only head South. It’s very depressing and you feel that you really NEED to do something, so you need a lot of willpower to get rid of those feelings and stick to the facts.

FACT 1 If you switch funds to try and improve things, how can you do that with any degree of accuracy when all funds are falling – because you may very well switch money into something that is falling faster than you think.

FACT 2 If your investment process is robust enough and you are sitting in investment funds that have served you well in the past, if you moved out of them at any time, then you might very well miss any resurgence – as this only happens in 5 – 7 working days a year.

FACT 3 You also need to remember that buying and selling investment funds today is anything but instantaneous and in the vast majority of cases it could take 3 to 4 days to finalise purchases. Most people will probably think that you can press a button and abracadabra it all happens. No, it doesn’t. So, by the time you react to something in the market – it could all go by you in a flash.

So, remember – when in doubt DON’T.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement. Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation. Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk

Bydylanharper95

Investing Money in Falling Markets

Investing in a falling market is just as difficult as investing in a rising market, albeit with slightly bigger consequences.   The bottom line in both – is that you need to know what you are doing BEFORE you take any action at all.

Every calendar quarter, we produce lists of funds that have shown a reasonable bit of consistency over the previous 3 – 5 years that merit investing in, and these lists show different risk categories being low risk, middle risk and high risk, and we call this our Recommended Fund List – our RFL.    Every Monday morning, from the RFL, we then produce a list of the best performing funds over the previous three months and this gives us an indication of what funds are doing well enough to invest in, because what we end up with, is a list of funds that are performing over the long term AND the short term.  So you get the best of both worlds.   

What we have seen over the last few weeks is that a large amount of funds are just not doing it over the short term and they are not even achieving a plus growth rate, they are all minus rates.   It is very difficult therefore to invest anyone’s money when all you see are minus figures and so the simple answer is that we don’t invest, and instead leave this in cash.     It could easily be the situation where you go from the frying pan to the fire – so we don’t.    I have said many a time – when in doubt – don’t.

Only once we see positive rates coming through in the short term, can we start investing again and until then we are quite happy to leave clients accounts in cash as it isn’t losing anything.   

In practical terms, we need positive rates in the short term so that we can actually identify what funds are actually getting better before we invest, and the MAP investment process confirms this as we do our research over and over before we commit a clients money. 

The logic of investing follows the age old rule of buy cheap and sell dear, and yes at the moment the bulk of units that you can buy are a lot cheaper than they have been for a while, BUT, you need to buy sensibly and that means that you should only invest once the research points the way.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal or other form of advice.  You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions.  Links to external sites are for information only and do not constitute endorsement.  Always obtain independent professional advice for your own particular situation.  Money Advice & Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  For any enquiries, contact Andrew on 07957 836211 or enquiries@mapfinances.co.uk