While homeowners can still benefit from low mortgage rates, savers will be struggling to enjoy any kind of growth on money they have on deposit, leading some to consider a riskier investment.

If you're considering investing in the stock market, one crucial and very personal issue is, quite simply, how you feel about the prospect of putting money at risk and your ability to accommodate any loss in value.

What's your appetite for risk?

It's a fact that risk and the potential for reward go hand in hand: Investments that are low in risk are low in potential reward, whereas the more risk you're willing to take with your money the greater the potential for reward.

Factors in determining risk

As investment advisers, we will consider a range of factors  when assessing your attitude to investment risk:

  • Age - how old you are may affect how you would like to invest, particularly the closer you get to retirement.
  • The need for emergency cash - you should always keep a certain amount readily accessible (for example, in a deposit account) in the event of an emergency or as a foundation for your longer-term savings and investment.
  • Can you afford to take a risk? - if your investments dropped in the short term, do you have the time to wait for them to recover?
  • Can you afford not to take a risk? - leaving all your money on deposit may carry minimal risk, but you may miss out on higher potential returns and possibly see the spending power of that money fall due to inflation.
  • Are there tax-efficient opportunities available - such as pensions or ISAs?

Devising an appropriate investment strategy

Once you are clear about the risk you need to take to reach your goals and you feel entirely comfortable with your risk profile, you'll need an investment strategy that is finely calibrated to deliver the results you’re looking for.

This is where a number of other key aspects of investment come into play:

  1. How to avoid the ‘eggs-in-basket’ principle. We can make sure your portfolio is invested across a range of assets in order that the positive performance of some neutralises the negative performance of others.
  2. Making sure that your money is in the hands of some of the best and most consistent investment managers in the business.
  3. Making sure you can give your investments time - the longer you can leave your investments in place, the more likely you are to cope with any short-term changes in market value.

Talk to us

As members of Openwork, one of the UK’s largest networks of financial advice businesses, we follow a clear and thorough process designed to clarify exactly what you need from your investments. We also have access to a meticulously researched and managed range of investments specifically designed to meet clients’ different needs.

Taken together, you will know not only that your money is in good hands, but also that given time, there is an increased level of probability that it will perform in line with your expectations.

Need advice?

Good investment advice involves building a clear picture of the results you're looking for, taking into account your current financial position, your future goals and your personal attitude towards the subject of investment risk.

Talk to us for expert advice.

The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount originally invested.

The week featured here is 23 – 27 October 2017; a period that saw a number of important global events.

Toni Meadows, Chief Investment Officer of the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service
“My day-to-day work life is broadly split into two roles. One is to monitor and keep in close contact with the managers of the Omnis funds range, while the other is to lead the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service. This is where my team allocates money across the individual Omnis funds according to the risk preferences of the investors whose money we are responsible for.”

An early start and my first port of call is to check what has happened overnight in Asian markets given Sunday’s Japanese general election. Stock markets reacted well to president Abe’s victory, which is good news for our Omnis Asia Pacific Equity Fund. We check in with the fund manager at Baillie Gifford to see how he reacted and his views on the implications of the result.

The team gets together in the afternoon for our quarterly analyst meeting. While we meet formally every week, this is an extended discussion and our chance to talk in real depth about how we are investing in each of the Omnis funds, as well as upcoming meetings and changes to the global economic environment.

The morning starts with a call with Schroders, who manage the Omnis UK Equity and Omnis Global Bond funds. Of interest to us today is how the funds may be impacted by upcoming policy meetings by the world’s big central banks, one of the tasks of which is to set interest rates.

Later that day, our attentions turn to the US where we recently changed the manager of the Omnis US Equity Fund. We are in regular contact with the new manager T. Rowe Price to get an update on performance, buys and sells within the fund and investment outlook for the country.

Given the amount of client money we manage, it is no surprise we are often invited to various high-level conferences and events hosted by top investment strategists and economists. Today I attend Pimco’s Global Advisory Board summit with fascinating speeches from the likes of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ex-US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, and Jean-Claude Trichet, who was president of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011.

From that, I rush back to the office for the Openwork Investment & Proposition Committee, another valuable safeguard for investors, where I am tasked with running through our investment choices for senior directors and non-executives.

Much of today is spent with advisers. Having recently finished our Masterclass events, a series of roadshows meeting advisers up and down the country, I’ve scheduled some follow-up one-on-one meetings. As the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service is a relatively new proposition, it is important to outline exactly how the team works and the benefit we can bring to our investors.

In the afternoon, all eyes are on the European Central Bank, which intends to extend its bond-buying programme until at least September 2018.

After a busy week, it is good to spend some time catching up on research with notes from external economists. I also spend some time on Bloomberg screens, checking the progress of the Omnis funds and analyst notes on yesterday’s news.

As is often the case, I end the working week with plenty of questions buzzing around my head. What is the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates next week? And how might UK stocks and the pound react? While I am certainly looking forward to a relaxing weekend ahead, I can’t help but ponder what surprises wait for me on Monday.

If you'd like to know more about Omnis Investments and the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service, please get in touch.

Given the nature of social media and the millions of us who use it every day, you probably weren’t alone in posting pictures, videos and status updates showing off your recent Christmas presents and festive celebrations.

But did you stop to think that posting information like this on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat could be advertising your property, your whereabouts and your latest expensive Christmas gadget to criminals, and potentially void your home insurance?

Counting the cost of burglary
There were 650,000 domestic burglaries in the 12 months to March 2017, costing, on average, £2,267 in stolen valuables and £566 worth of damage.

Figures also show that the number of claims relating to domestic burglary increases by a whopping 36% from November to March. This could be down to the longer nights providing more opportunities for criminal activity, and the likelihood of burglars finding expensive purchases and presents following the Christmas period.

Take a break from social media
If you suffer a break-in shortly after publishing your latest holiday snaps on social media, it could lead to your home insurance provider deciding you are partly at fault for advertising an empty property and this could affect your claim.

Are you vulnerable?
When assessing an application for home insurance, insurers are reportedly considering asking homeowners if they use social media, as the risk of over-sharing becomes more and more common. If you use social media and think it could affect your home insurance, consider taking the following steps to reduce your risk:

  1. Turn off location-based services on the social media accounts you use
  2. Never share your home address on social media
  3. Make your posts private so that only your friends and connections can see them

It also makes sense to review your home insurance cover, especially after Christmas or birthdays when you may have bought or received expensive items.

If you’re concerned you may not have the right type of cover, or you think you might be underinsured, please talk to us.

Keeping your investments close to home may have its advantages, but only by looking globally can you be sure you’re making the most of diversification.

Imagine mealtimes without choice; your culinary options limited only to British food. No stir-fries, no fajitas, no sushi – no burgers even, and fewer curries (our British national dish the tikka masala excluded, of course).

From a similar perspective, those limiting their investments to just the UK – whether that be in stocks, bonds or property – may be missing out on some much-needed spice and flavours that could be achieved from overseas markets.

That's not to say UK investments are completely insular, after all, up to three-quarters of earnings from FTSE 100 companies are estimated to be earned in international markets. However, any bad news from the UK economy could similarly affect companies listed in this most-famous of indexes.

Why is diversification important?
Professional investors have long supported the virtues of diversification, that is spreading investments across a wide variety of markets, countries and asset types. Take, for example, Omnis Investment's range of portfolio funds that individually put money to work across the US, Europe, Asia and in so-called emerging markets such as China, Russia and Brazil.

Each of these markets will have a different risk profile, sometimes moving in different directions as the global economy ebbs and flows on political shifts and other news events.

Seeking the best opportunities
An extra safeguard comes in the form of the Omnis Managed Portfolio Service (OMPS), run by a team which spreads the risks by investing (and selling) each of these funds according to when they think they offer the best opportunities for investors.

Economic growth has been picking up in several regions and this coincides with attractive valuations in export-led markets like Europe, so the team have been able to add extra exposure to this positive outlook and earn extra returns for clients.

Meanwhile, looking further afield to Asian and emerging markets has yielded even better returns, though with potentially bigger risks attached to these territories, the team is wary of investing here for more cautious investors.

UK stocks and bonds will always have a big part of play in UK investors' portfolios, not least because of the potential impact of fluctuations in overseas currencies. However, time and time again investors have been proven right to mix their assets.

The complex nature of investing means professionals will always have a lot on their plates but, as a takeaway, diversification makes for real food for thought.

If you'd like to review your investment portfolio to make sure it's properly diversified and in line with your attitude to risk, please get in touch.

2017 was the year of the campaign trail, with several key elections held in countries with great influence on global economics and stock markets. Here, we recap on the political posturing that defined 2017, and what it meant of the global stock markets.

On 20 January, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Global stock markets had rallied since the election result on 8 November, with many in corporate America hoping to benefit from promised tax reforms. Not everyone was happy. The day after Trump's inauguration, approximately half a million people protested in the Women's March in Washington DC, making it one of the largest one-day protests in American history.

In Europe, the Dutch were hailed as having “defeated populism” in the 15 March election by denying the Geert Wilders-led Party of Freedom’s bid for power.

On 7 May Emmanuel Macron of En Marche! was declared President of France having won the second-round vote against the Marine Le Pen-led National Front by a decisive margin. Again, the election is billed as a win against populism and Europe’s far-right. World stock markets are at their highest point for the year so far.

Across the Channel, the UK general election on 8 June restored Theresa May as Prime Minister, but only after the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland agrees to support a Conservative minority government. As the results came in, the prospect of a hung parliament led to an immediate fall in the value of the pound. May’s intention was to seek an overall majority, paving the way for easier Brexit negotiations.

After a relatively quiet end to the summer, aside from ongoing Brexit discussions, the Eurozone’s biggest player Germany held its federal election on 24 September. The result saw the Christian Democratic Union win only 33% of the vote – its lowest share of the vote since 1949 – but enough to see Angela Merkel remain as Chancellor. Markets then rallied for the last week of September and continued to climb in October.

Into autumn and it was the turn of the Japanese to go to the polls on 22 October. Given the dramatic fall in popularity that many world leaders had found themselves in over the year, it was a relief for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to secure a big election win. The father of ‘Abenomics’ and the ‘three arrows’ policy of monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reform, Abe’s victory was welcomed by a rise in markets.

Elsewhere in Asia, perhaps the most significant global change was happening in China where the hugely powerful Communist party held its five-yearly congress. President Xi Jinping cemented his legacy with his own political philosophy being written into the country’s constitution.

Emerging markets will dominate the electoral calendar in 2018, with votes due in the likes of Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Pakistan.

If you're concerned about how global events could impact your investment portfolio, please get in touch.

BBC News round up of the key points of the Budget -

To be in with a chance of winning:

Go to the competitions post on our Mortgage Advice Centre Facebook page here

Closing date for entries is midnight on Friday, 24 November 2017

A name will be drawn randomly from all entries made by Steve Thompson, a director of the firm, at 11.00am on Monday, 27 November 2017 and the winner notified by close of business on Tuesday, 28 November 2017.

Good luck!

Terms & Conditions

Competition closes at midnight on 24 November 2017

  1. All entrants must be over 18 years of age.
  2. Entry into the competition is free.
  3. Employees, ex-employees (and their families) of Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd and all agencies connected to this contest are not eligible to enter.
  4. The closing date for this competition is midnight on 24 November 2017.
  5. The prize is a Marks & Spencer gift voucher to the value of £50. There are no alternative prizes.
  6. The decision of the Email Marketing Manager at Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
  7. Entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  8. One entry per registered user.
  9. Entry costs (where applicable) are as advertised. Entrants are liable for their costs to access telephone, mobile or computer networks.
  10. Unless otherwise stated, entries must arrive by the published closing date for the competition. Entries received after this time will be disqualified. Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd may, at its discretion, extend the closing date without prior notice.
  11. All entries, photographs or other matter submitted as part of a competition entry shall become the property and the copyright of Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd. Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd reserves the right to transmit them all or in part or use them in any way it thinks fit without the permission of the entrant or payment for such use.
  12. Except where it is expressly stated that the winner will be the first correct entry or entries drawn at random from the total entries submitted. Other prizes will be awarded in accordance with the order of priority stated with the competition.
  13. Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd reserves the right to change the rules or void the competition at any time.
  14. In the event of a printing or broadcast error (obvious or otherwise) which affects the competition in any way, Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd reserves the right to administer the competition as though the error had not occurred having informed the entrants, through the original media, of the original text.
  15. Winner(s) of prizes will be announced on the Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd Facebook page and/or notified within four days after the winner has been ascertained. Names of winners and results competitions will be available on request, enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope.
  16. Prize is as stated and unless specifically stated, there is no cash alternative in any circumstances whatsoever to the prizes offered. Prizes are not transferable unless otherwise stated. If for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd reserves the right at its absolute discretion to substitute a similar prize of equivalent or greater value. Only one prize will be awarded per household. Please allow 14 days for delivery of all prizes.
  17. In some competitions, entry may be restricted to entrants of eighteen years and over. However, where there is no age limit or other restriction of entrants in Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd competitions, in accordance with Rule 18, Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd will not offer an alternative prize to any winner (such as a minor) who for any reason whatsoever is prevented from receiving or making use of the prize offered. Entrants under the age of 18 should seek permission from the account holder before making an entry via website, phone or mobile phone and must have permission from the parent or guardian.
  18. If the winner of a competition is unable to take up a prize for any reason Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd reserves the right to award it to an alternative winner, in which case the first winner chosen will not be eligible for any share of the prize whatsoever.
  19. All winners are required to co-operate with Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd to publicise their win as Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd deems appropriate.
  20. Failure to comply with any of these rules will disqualify an entry from taking part in the competition. Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd reserves the right to disqualify any entry at its absolute discretion.
  21. Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd.’s decision is final in all matters concerning a competition. It is a condition of entry to the competition that the entrant agrees to be bound by these rules whether they be broadcast on the Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd website and in particular that the decisions of Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd and judges on any matter whatsoever arising out of or connected with the competition are final.
  22. Where prizes are to be provided by a third party then the winner(s) will be required to complete all appropriate or applicable booking or other formalities direct with such provider. Carter Thompson & Associates Ltd will have no responsibility for the acts or defaults of any other persons.
  23. The personal details supplied by entrants (name, address and phone number) will only be used for the purpose of the competition entered. Email addresses will be added to our email database.
  24. The prize is not in conjunction with any other offer, prize, discount or promotion.

The UK’s Buy to Let market is in a state of flux, with an extra 3% Stamp Duty on the purchase of additional properties and changes to the way a landlord’s income is taxed.

If you think an increase in your mortgage repayments could have a negative impact on your lifestyle or financial well-being, you may want to consider fixing your mortgage.

34% of first-time buyers relied on their parents for financial help, making the bank of mum and dad’, the equivalent of the UK’s ninth largest lender in 2017.