Rushed off your feet? How to invest when you’re very busy

Even if your life looks like Piccadilly Circus, there are plenty of investment options

Consider a multi-manager fund as a time-saving option.

We all know how difficult it can be to juggle the demands of modern life – and your financial affairs may feel the squeeze from time to time. “In our experience, a great many people who started out as DIY investors with bags of enthusiasm conclude that they just don’t have the time or inclination to look after their own investments,” says Jason Hollands, managing director of Tilney Bestinvest.
Even if you are in the habit of making regular contributions, your investments could still come up short if time is at a premium. It’s one thing, says Hollands, to be able to check whether your funds are of decent quality, and that there are no “dogs” (funds that substantially underperform their peers) lurking in your portfolio, but quite another to understand “where your underlying asset allocation exposure is across the portfolio, rebalancing it periodically to ensure it remains relevant to your risk profile, objectives and where the shifting sands of market opportunities are.”

SPREAD YOUR NET

If this sounds familiar, you should be looking at some form of managed service, says Hollands. On the most basic level, Danny Cox of Hargreaves Lansdown suggests that a platform for investments and pensions is a good place to start. This can “simplify their management immensely and provide the ability to manage all your holding online and in one place.” Some platforms will offer mobile access, meaning you can view your portfolio on the move.
At the other end of the scale, discretionary investment management is the “ultimate delegation service,” says Cox – offering you a mix of financial planning and investment management, tailoring the portfolio to your needs, time horizon and risk profile. This comes at a cost, however. And recently, firms like Nutmeg have started offering similar services online, providing an attractive option for those who are cost-conscious.
A more traditional route is to consider consulting a financial planner or adviser. From there, you can either manage your investments yourself, or utilise a service that makes the investment decisions on your behalf, suggests Cox.

PICKING FUNDS

But if you still want to run your portfolio yourself, what funds should you be considering? Many recommend multi-manager funds, which provide ready-made, off the shelf portfolios made up of other funds. The beauty of these, says Julian Chester, partner at Killik & Co, is that you’re getting exposure across a range of asset classes and access to specialist areas.
A multi-manager is also useful in managing risk in your portfolio in uncertain times, says Maike Currie of Fidelity Personal Investing – “getting the mixture of assets in your portfolio right can be tricky if you’re short on time.” A manager will adjust the allocation to meet a certain outcome – income, growth or both. This should mean a more balanced combination between growing returns and the preservation of capital, she adds – and often with reduced risk. Just be aware, warns Hollands, that some funds may only invest in one fund company’s products, or just in passive funds.
Look for funds that emphasise wealth preservation, but where the manager is “not afraid to invest in riskier assets when appropriate, and has proved adept at doing so,” recommends Currie. Managed by Chris Burvill, John Pattullo and Jenna Barnard, the Henderson Cautious Managed Fund is a good option, she says, with the team actively adjusting the weightings between different asset classes to anticipate and reflect changing markets and economic conditions. Another option is Fidelity’s Pathfinder range of multi-asset funds, where experts actively manage your cash in a fund that invests across a range of others, giving you the option of choosing what’s best for you, based on risk appetite.

RISKY BUSINESS

And if you are struggling to make sense of time-saving options, don’t rush into a decision, says Hollands: “if you’re looking to use your Isa or pension allowances by the end of the tax year... open the account with cash and then invest later, when you’ve had time to make a well-considered choice”. A service like Killik’s Monthly Savings Plan, which helps you diversify away from cash, could prove useful.

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