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UK investments living in Portugal

By Mark Quinn - Topics: Investment portfolios, ISAs, Portugal, UK investments
This article is published on: 2nd August 2022

02.08.22

Can I keep my UK bank accounts, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) and other investments?

Moving to a new country is exciting, although it does present challenges. New processes, bureaucracy and language, but it also may mean you have to reshuffle your finances.

Each person should seek individual advice when it comes to financial planning, but here I touch on commonly held assets, the main points that you should be aware of and what you can do about them.

Bank accounts
Whilst many expats will open a new bank account in their new country, most of us also keep our UK bank accounts, not only for practical reasons but also because we understand and feel comfortable holding them.

However, post-Brexit many UK banks are asking account holders living outside of the UK to close their accounts. This can pose a problem because if you have already moved to Portugal, it is unlikely that you will find an alternative UK bank that will be willing to accept new non-UK customers.

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are popular alternatives to the UK when it comes to banking, but you should be aware that these are considered ‘blacklisted jurisdictions’ by Portugal and therefore interest is taxed punitively at 35%, rather than the usual 28% or 0% under NHR (Non-Habitual Residence).

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs)
Firstly, consider the tax dimension. They do not retain the tax exemptions when held by Portuguese residents. For (NHRs), interest and dividends are tax exempt during the 10-year period but realised gains are taxed at 28%. For non-NHRs, interest, dividends and gains are taxed at 28%.

But whether you decide to retain your UK ISA or restructure it will depend on your longer-term plans, some things you might consider are: how long you will stay in Portugal, do you need to make withdrawals, do you want to top up, can you make changes to the underlying investments if a Stocks & Shares ISA, or what are the returns on Cash ISAs?

If your move to Portugal is short-term, or if you are not certain that it will be your long-term home, then there is a case for retaining your ISAs. Although you cannot add to them whilst non-UK resident, you can continue to hold them, and once you return to the UK they resume their tax efficiency.

A planning point you may wish to consider if you have a Stocks & Shares ISA is to ‘rebase’ by selling and then immediately repurchasing the same funds within your ISA prior to leaving the UK to ‘wash out’ any taxable gains accrued to the point of your departure. This way, if you did decide to restructure, encash, or withdraw from the ISA as a Portuguese tax resident in the future, there would be little or no tax to pay in Portugal.

As a general guideline, if you believe your move to Portugal is long-term (as a rule of thumb, 5 years or more) then restructuring and starting an investment vehicle that is suitable for residency in Portugal would make sense for greater tax efficiency, amongst other reasons. If this is the case, planning well in advance is advantageous, as there is no tax on ISA closure for UK residents.

UK investments living in Portugal

National Savings & Investments (NS&I)
NS&I savings and Premium Bonds are popular products held by many UK nationals and are seen as ‘safe and secure’ as they are backed by the UK Treasury.

Aside from this point, they do require you to hold a UK bank account which could be an issue for some. The interest rates offered are low, well below inflation, so you are losing money in real terms and interest is taxable in Portugal, unless you have NHR.

Premium Bonds on the other hand offer no capital growth or income, only the possibility of winning a sum of money. These winnings in turn are taxable in Portugal, not tax-free as they are for UK tax residents – this could be disappointing if you do win that million!

Investments with UK-based Financial Advisers
Most significantly, Brexit brought an end to the passporting rights that allowed UK-based advisers to advise clients across the EU member states and vice versa. This means that many advisory firms may not have the right permission to continue providing advice to clients living overseas.

Obviously, this can be worrying for those who have worked alongside their trusted adviser for many years, but in reality, good financial planning and structures for UK residents are unlikely to retain the same benefits for those living outside of the UK.

Understandably, many UK advisers do not want to lose their clients, and whilst you can continue your relationship with your UK adviser and pay their fees, without the right permissions, you should be aware that they cannot service your accounts e.g. provide investment advice for portfolio rebalancing or fund switches, and more importantly, you might not have proper recourse if anything were to go wrong. This will not only affect your investments and performance, but you will end up paying for advice that you cannot (legally) take advantage of.

Likewise, if you hold offshore investments provided by EU institutions, they may not be able to accept instructions from a UK-based adviser if they do not have the right licenses.

Lastly, there are practical implications. Does your UK adviser understand the rules in your new country of residence? Are you missing out on tax planning opportunities, paying more tax than you have to because you could be structuring or drawing your income better, or have they fully understood the knock-on effect of their advice in relation to income tax, interaction with NHR, or taxes on death?

What can you do?
The overarching message is that Brexit has changed the landscape for establishing and maintaining our investments. Reviewing your personal finances is more important than ever to ensure that you are not hindered when managing and making changes to your investments and savings, but that you are fully protected and have recourse should anything ‘go wrong’.

We are UK-qualified Chartered Financial Planners and tax advisers, so have a firm grasp of the planning and issues UK expats face. We have also been living and working in Portugal for a combined period of 15 years, so we not only understand the local rules and regulations but also have vital local experience and knowledge. If you would like an informal, confidential initial chat at no cost to you, please get in touch.

Are you paying too much on your investments?

By Jeremy Ferguson - Topics: Investment objectives, Investment portfolios, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain
This article is published on: 19th July 2022

19.07.22

Paying too much for something is never a good idea!

Unless you have been spending all your time either on the beach or playing golf, it would be almost impossible not to have seen what´s been happening in the financial world at the moment.

Stock markets have had their worst start to a year in 50 years. Almost every day all you see and hear is doom and gloom about rising inflation, rising food prices, rising fuel prices, rising interest rates, supply chain issues, falling consumer confidence. And on and on it goes.

As usual with such issues, it can affect retirees who live here the most, as their Pensions and Investments are normally exposed to the stock markets and various other investment instruments, pretty much all of which are falling at the moment. How much worse can it get? Who knows.. When will it recover? Who Knows.. How long will it take to make up for all of my losses this year? Who knows…!

Nobody does, and looking at history can give a good indication as to the likely answers, but as I keep saying, this could well be history in the making, as opposed to history repeating itself.

Looking at history can help calm the nerves and add perspective. Over the last 150 years there have been 13 major stock market crashes. In 1877 markets fell by 33%, in 1970 they fell by 25% and again in 1974 by 39%. The latest memorable events were the financial crisis of 2008 which resulted in losses of 49% and the Covid lockdown period, which again resulted in heavy losses.

Taking the median of all of these 15 events, an average fall of 33% has taken on average of around 2 years to recover. So, although I have said this may well be history in the making, what we can all be sure of is that things will eventually get better. It’s just a question of how quickly, and that again is an unknown. The speed of recoveries is always quite impressive. Many people miss the fact that if you lose 50% on something, that something has to double in value to return to where you were.

Paying too much for something is never a good idea!

One thing I do know though, is that if you have Pensions and Investments which are expensive, trying to reduce the costs incurred is one thing that will have an immediate positive effect on your returns, and can have an incredibly positive effect on the long-term returns.

Something else that is also relevant to costs, is the type of investments retirees are in. One of the first things to assess when I meet a client is what risk they are prepared to take with their investments. Typically, (as most are retired), I think being driven by caution (or fear) rather than greed is paramount, meaning a client should typically be very concerned about protecting their capital, and therefore their investments should be at the lower end of the risk scale.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense if you are looking to achieve a certain annual return that reducing the annual costs as best you can will mean you can take less risk to achieve your objectives, and therefore see better capital protection.

Many people are coming to me asking if we can take a look at their existing arrangements, and very often we are able to offer a solution to reduce the costs and achieve a more suitable strategy in view of where we find ourselves.

In these times of rising costs, every penny helps, and very often just talking through situations like this and having someone to listen to your worries can be a great help, so if you would like a quick chat in confidence about your financial situation, please get in touch.

Falling investment markets

By Mark Quinn - Topics: Investment objectives, Investment portfolios, Investment Risk, investments in Portugal, Portugal
This article is published on: 9th June 2022

09.06.22

Markets have fallen recently with concerns over rising inflation and interest rates and the war in Ukraine. In this uncertain environment, clients are asking me: “should I sell?”, and those with cash to invest are uncertain if now is the right time to commit to investing.

Why do falling investment markets cause concern?
Rather than seeing movements in markets as being completely normal and part of the regular cycle in markets, I believe the media instills fear among investors. I follow the financial news every day and read headlines dominated by talk of slumps, crashes, stagnations, recessions etc. but rarely see positive news stories about investments and markets such as how many global stock markets reached all-time highs in 2021.

This is getting worse with internet-based news as “click bait” headlines are used to prompt us to click through to read these apparently disturbing events.

Humans are bad investors
Our brains are not designed to make sound investment decisions as we are subject to biases and cognitive distortions and our emotions, rather than fact and logic, overly influence our decisions. One of our biggest weaknesses is our loss aversion which can lead to not taking advantage of investing at low prices during market falls.

Professionals versus amateurs
We often see professional investors reacting in an opposite manner to the general public/retail investors. Many retail investors will sell and are fearful when markets fall but professionals will be taking advantage of lower prices and be purchasing investments.

falling investment markets

Context for investing
It is important to reassess exactly why you should invest. Most people do so to protect their lifestyle as they want to ensure their investment and pensions maintain their real value after inflation over time – this isn’t possible in cash.

If you are investing for the long term, then you increase your chances of generating longer term growth and we know that, even though markets may go lower in the short term, over the longer term you are “stacking the odds” in your favour.

Time is on your side with investing
Data shows that the risk of stock market investment reduces with the time you spend in the market as you have the ability to weather the short term ‘blips’ in market. For this reason there is a popular stock market adage that time in the market is more important than timing the market.

Holding through downturn
The benefits of holding though short-term falls in the market were highlighted to me recently by Terry Smith, manager of the Fundsmith fund. He gave an example of a share he purchased at the end of 2007 for $7.07 and by 26th February 2008 it had lost almost 40% of its value at $4.28 – this promoted a lot of investor anger at his decision. However, this short term blip is dwarfed by the enormous increase the share price subsequently enjoyed, increasing in value to $172.39 by 4th February 2022. The company was Apple, until just last week the most valuable company in the world.

Tips for investors in this climate

  • Invest as early as possible and remain invested – act against ‘herd’ instinct
  • Remove the psychology from investment – draw up an investment plan and stick with it
  • Minimise tax – one of the biggest eroders of investment returns
  • Minimize fees on your investments and pensions – another big eroder of returns
  • Asset allocation – predicting which parts of the market will weather the storm better is difficult, so ensure you have a correctly constructed portfolio which is widely diversified and importantly, has corelation benefits

Investment management styles

By Mark Quinn - Topics: investment diversification, Investment objectives, Investment portfolios, Investment Risk, investments in Portugal, Portugal, wealth management
This article is published on: 27th May 2022

27.05.22

There are several different investment management styles to consider and each will have benefits and drawbacks. The key difference are between a managed/active/discretionary route, and a passive/tracker approach, and this can be a divisive area within the investment industry.

In order to put into context the differences between these styles and which approach may be right for you, let’s first look at what a stock market index is.

An index simply measures the performance of a group/basket of shares. For example, the S&P 500 index tracks the performance of the shares in the largest 500 companies in America. As the US market is the largest stock market in the world, and the US is the world’s largest economy, it is often seen as a barometer for the health of global markets in general. The equivalent index in the UK is the FTSE 100 index.

investment styles

Managed/active management/discretionary
Historically, most private investors would invest through a fund manager. In this way, you would pay an annual percentage fee to an investment institution to actively manage your investment i.e. make the buying and selling decision on your behalf.

The aim of investing in managed investments is to generate better investment returns than the stock market index as a whole, or another appropriate benchmark.

Discretionary investment is a specialist branch of managed investment whereby the manager has a greater range of investment powers and freedoms to make buying and selling decisions without your consent (although always within with the remit and investment powers that you grant at outset).

Over recent years there have been numerous studies to suggest that many fund managers do not achieve their aims of beating their respective benchmarks, and it has led some investors to favour a “passive” investment approach.

Passive or index trackers

Passive investment does not employ a fund manger to make decisions, and instead of trying to outperform the market, you simply ‘buy’ the market as a whole. For example by investing in an S&P 500 tracker, you would effectively be purchasing the top 500 shares in the US stock market.

The key difference between the managed style is cost i.e. whereas a manager may charge between 1-2% per annum to manage your fund, you can access a tracker fund from as little as 0.1% which can make a huge difference to your fund value cumulatively.

Proponents of this approach accept they will only even achieve the return of the market as a whole (with no outperformance) but because you are spending far less in fees, believe they will do better over the longer term.

Proponents of active management on the other hand highlight the drawbacks of the passive approach viz. in a falling market, you will only ever track a falling market, tracker funds “blindly” sell what may otherwise be high quality investments at inopportune times, and that tracker investments can still be complex to understand, such as the difference between ‘synthetic’ versus ‘physical’ tracking methods.

Summary – balance pays
As my previous two articles have demonstrated, tax and investment planning generally involves shades of grey, rather than black and white solutions and in practice we do not believe either approach is the ‘holy grail’.

Rather each management style can offer benefits within a balanced portfolio. Holding passives can reduce the overall cost of your portfolio (thus increasing your net return) and using managed funds can complement by avoiding “blind” automatic sales and potential downside mitigation.

Whichever route you choose, minimising fund fees is crucial as it is the biggest eroder of returns over time.

When to keep ‘unsuitable’ investments

By Mark Quinn - Topics: Investment objectives, Investment portfolios, Investment Risk, investments in Portugal, Portugal
This article is published on: 20th May 2022

20.05.22

A lot of people contact me believing they cannot keep certain investments. As I said in my article last week, it’s all about the subtleties, so let’s look at some examples.

Individual Savings Account
For Non Habitual Residents (NHRs), interest and dividends are tax exempt during the 10-year period but realised gains are taxed at 28%. For non-NHRs, interest, dividends and gains are taxed at 28%.

If your move to Portugal is short-term, or if you are not certain that it will be your long-term home, then there is a case for retaining your ISAs. Although you cannot add to them whilst non-UK resident, you can continue to hold them, and once you return to the UK they resume their tax-efficiency.

A planning point you may wish to consider if you have a stocks and shares ISA is to ‘rebase’ by selling and then immediately repurchasing the same funds within your ISA prior to leaving the UK to ‘wash out’ any taxable gains accrued to the point of your departure. This way, if you did decide to restructure, encash, or withdraw from the ISA as a Portuguese tax resident in the future, there would be litle or no tax to pay in Portugal.

As a general guideline, if you believe your move to Portugal is long-term (as a rule of thumb, 5 years or more) then restructuring and starting an investment vehicle that is suitable for residency in Portugal would make sense for greater tax efficiency, amongst other reasons. If this is the case, planning well in advance is advantageous, as there is no tax on ISA closure for UK residents.

investment decisions

Investment bonds
‘Non-compliant’ bonds are those that are not officially recognised by the Portuguese authorities. Usually all premiums paid into ‘compliant’ bonds are taxed, albeit at a very small amount. This effectively registers their tax favoured status and guarantees the tax breaks, assuming all conditions are met.

There may be a case to retain a non-compliant structure if you do not intend to make withdrawals because there is no tax to pay if nothing is taken out. However, you should still review the plan as there may be lower cost or newer options out there. If you do withdraw funds, we have seen some non-compliant bonds benefit from the same tax treatment as compliant bonds, but there is no guarantee.

Encashment would be a good idea if the policy originates from a blacklisted jurisdiction as tax on gains is punitive at 35%, rather than 28% or less depending on how long the policy is held. Also, if you want to guarantee the tax advantages and policy qualification, you will want to ensure you are holding a Portuguese compliant product. Other points that might affect the decision are how succession laws are affected, policy flexibility, currency and fund choice, and the consumer protection offered.

UK pensions
Pensions are a more complex area of planning and if you get it wrong, it could have consequences for your future lifestyle or ability to support yourself in retirement.

You should always seek personalised qualified advice when addressing your retirement planning, but as some food for thought:

You may wish to retain your UK pension if you have no lifetime allowance issues or do not plan to take withdrawals during your lifetime. Again, you should still review the pension regularly. You might look transfer to an EU based scheme if your total pension benefits are close to, or more than, the UK lifetime allowance (currently £1,073,100), or you are concerned about currency fluctuations and want certainty. You might even withdraw completely if you have NHR, no UK Inheritance Tax or succession planning considerations and want tax-efficiency post-NHR in Portugal.

There are of course many other investments or structures out there such as premium bonds, EIS, VCTs, trusts, QNUPS etc. that may or may not work for you in Portugal and I suggest you discuss your options with a qualified and experienced professional.

Investment portfolios | The Principles of Success

By Mark Quinn - Topics: investment diversification, Investment objectives, Investment portfolios, Investment Risk, Investments, investments in Portugal, Portugal
This article is published on: 18th May 2022

18.05.22

The world of investments can be intimidating, even for the most seasoned investor. Here, we will put aside the jargon and push past the hype of ‘the next big thing’, and instead focus on the key principles that every investor should know when building a portfolio of investments; irrespective of how engaged or involved you wish to be.

Ideally, you should look at your assets as a whole – your pensions, property, savings and investments, rather than at each area or structure in isolation. This way you can apply the principles to your wealth as a whole and be in the best position to potentially meet your financial objectives.

Asset allocation is key to investment success
Asset allocation is the percentage of each type of asset class making up your overall investment portfolio. In turn, asset classes are groupings of similar types of investments such as cash, equities, commodities, fixed income, or real estate.

The key principle behind asset allocation is to include asset classes that behave differently from each other in different market conditions to reduce risk and generate potential returns. For example, if equities are falling in value, certain fixed income assets may be rising.

The goal here is not solely to maximise returns but to blend your holdings to meet your goals, whilst taking the least amount of investment risk. The right allocation for you will depend on several factors such as your willingness and ability to accept losses, your investment time frame, and your future needs for capital – unfortunately, there is no one size fits all.

Many studies have shown that asset allocation is the most important driver of portfolio returns, so getting this first step right is critical.

Diversification to reduce risk
Once you have decided on the right asset allocation for you, you must then pick the individual types of holdings or investments within each asset class. Each asset class is broken down into subclasses, for example, fixed income includes holdings such as fixed deposits, gilts and government or corporate bonds.

It is not enough to simply own each type of asset class; you must also diversify within each asset subclass. For example, taking corporate bonds which is a type of fixed income asset class, you can hold them in many different types of companies, industries, currencies, countries, or long or short term.

Rebalancing
As assets perform differently over time, the initial percentage asset allocation will deviate over time. A typical example is the huge increase in the US stock market over the last couple of years which, whilst good for investors’ returns, will have increased the level of share exposure. This increase in the value of equity holdings because of the sustained rise will lead to increased risk across the portfolio as a whole.

This can be solved by regular rebalancing to ‘reset’ the portfolio to your original asset allocation. This involves selling holdings that are overweight and buying ones that are undervalued.

Rebalancing also provides the ideal opportunity to revisit your financial goals and risk tolerance, and to tweak your asset allocation accordingly.

investment portfolio

Long term perspective and discipline
As humans, our emotions can lead to poor decision making when it comes to investing. Decisions that seem logical in daily life can result in poor investment returns, with many retail investors selling through fear at the very point they should be buying at lower prices, and conversely, buying at much higher prices during a gold rush.

It is vital for most investors to keep a disciplined approach as it is easy to get caught up in the daily noise of the markets.

Minimise costs and maximise tax efficiency
Einstein described compounding as the 8th wonder of the world and the effect of compounding applies to fees. A charge that might seem small at the beginning can turn into a significant cost over time and research has shown that lower-cost funds tend to outperform in the longer term.

As a simple example, assume a €100 investment and no growth. After 10 years, an annual charge of 2% will result in €82, a 0.2% charge would result in €98.

Focus on minimising fund, structure and adviser fees. In the world of investing, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

Tax is an often-overlooked cost, which if minimised can lead to the same positive compounding effects over time. This is done by ensuring that your investment portfolio is structured correctly for your resident status, and it might be different planning for normal residents, Non-Habitual Residents, or depending on if your move to Europe is for the rest of your life or if you intend to return to your home country in the future.

Withdrawal strategies
If you are taking income from your investments, you should consider the way in which you do this and the order. Not only will this affect the type of investments you hold within your portfolio, but it could also affect how you hold your portfolio and provide tax planning opportunities or pitfalls.

Focus on total return
With interest rates at historically low levels, it is difficult to rely solely on income returns in this investment environment. The total return is a truer picture of performance and takes into account the capital appreciation as well as the income received.

Be boring!
To quote Warrant Buffet, one of the world’s most successful investors: “Lethargy, bordering on sloth should remain the cornerstone of an investment style”.

Do not try to chase returns or the trends in investments – stick to tried and tested assets. At Spectrum, we only use investments that have worked over the long term, are easy to understand, daily tradable and transparent.

How can expats can get their ‘nest-egg’ savings working harder despite low-interest rates

By Craig Welsh - Topics: Investment objectives, Investment portfolios, Investments, Malta
This article is published on: 2nd April 2013

02.04.13

Returns from bank savings accounts are at an all-time low, and savers are becoming increasingly frustrated. Interest rates in the western world are at extremely low levels, with the euro base rate at 0.75 percent. In the UK it is even lower, at 0.5 percent. While this helps some people, such as mortgage holders with tracker rates, savers are being punished as banks have continually cut the interest rates paid on savings accounts. Retirees drawing a pension, or looking to buy an annuity, have also been hit hard in this low-interest rate environment.

Low interest rates are here to stay
First, it doesn’t look like this will change for quite some time. The prevailing policy of central banks has been to increase money supply (quantitative easing), maintain liquidity in the banking system and keep interest rates low. Even a slight increase in the base rate over the next couple of years is unlikely to result in decent interest rates on savings.

Second, inflation is running at around 2 – 3 percent depending on which part of Europe you live in. It just feels like everything is getting more expensive, especially food and energy costs. The end result is that we are effectively losing money by leaving it in the bank.

Of course, we all need to leave some cash in the bank as our emergency fund (most financial planners would recommend around six months of income). But it is the ‘nest egg’ money (the savings that we don’t really need in the short-term) that we can do something about.

How can you get your nest egg working harder?
With the objective of ‘beating the bank’ over the longer-term, you can build a diversified portfolio of investments. In plain English this means spreading your money around and not having ‘all of your eggs in one basket’. Assets primarily fall into one of the following categories: equities (shares in companies), fixed-interest bonds, property, cash or commodities.

Lifestyle investing
You need to be clear about your ‘Risk Profile’. At Spectrum, we carry out a ‘Risk Profiler’ exercise which aims to establish the level of risk you are comfortable with and helps you understand the relationship between risk and reward. We then employ a forward-looking ‘Life-styling Process’ which means building a portfolio to match your own personal situation and objectives.

The eventual portfolio should therefore match your risk profile, usually measured from ‘cautious’ at the lower end of the scale, ‘balanced’ and then ‘adventurous’ at the higher end. The investment strategy should therefore be appropriate for your stage of life.

What assets to invest in
There are literally thousands of investment funds and vehicles to choose from. At Spectrum, we filter these by using strict criteria when choosing clients’ investments. For example we only use: UCITS compliant, EU regulated funds. This ensures maximum client protection and highest levels of reporting. Daily priced, liquid funds, so that clients do not get ‘locked-in’ to funds. Financially strong and secure investment houses. Funds which are highly rated by at least two independent research companies.

Multi-asset funds
Multi-asset funds are popular with clients as they are managed by experienced asset managers who, through active daily management, can offer access to all asset classes within a single fund. Their job is to capture capital growth while also protecting investors when markets suffer a downturn. Some fund managers have a great track record of doing this, for example Jupiter Asset Management’s Merlin International Balanced Portfolio, which has returned +34 percent (euro share class, as at end Feb 2012) since launch in late 2008, with relatively low volatility.

Multi-asset funds can be used as a ‘core’ holding within a portfolio, with more specialised and sector-focussed funds making up the rest of the portfolio.

Equities (shares)
Many blue-chip companies have very strong balance sheets and pay dividends of around 4 percent, which is higher than current interest rates. This dividend income can be re-invested into your capital (unless you need the income). The capital value of course will fluctuate but if you are investing for the longer-term you have time to ‘ride out’ any volatility.

Equity funds can be global in nature, regionally specific (for example focussing on emerging market countries) or even country specific. Other types of equity funds focus on smaller ‘growth-orientated’ companies rather than blue-chip, dividend paying stocks.

Ethical investing
Ethical funds are also an option. These are funds which only invest in ‘ethical’ companies. They are screened and assessed on criteria such as environment, military involvement or animal welfare.

Fixed-interest bonds
These include government bonds and corporate bonds. Western government bonds were traditionally seen as ‘safe havens‘, however yields are now currently as low as cash. You could consider corporate bonds, which are categorised in terms of risk (higher-yielding bonds means higher capital risk). Emerging market bond funds (with exposure to local currencies) could also be considered.

Many investors like to get exposure to bonds via a fund, which is a diversified mixture of bonds. One good option may be Kames Capital’s Strategic Bond Fund, with a return of +57 percent (euro share class, as at end Feb 2013) since launch in November 2007.

Commodities Commodity-focussed funds can be volatile and would normally make up only a small part of a portfolio. However there is potential for long-term growth by investing in companies with exposure to precious metals and resources (gold, silver, iron ore, copper) as well as other ‘soft’ commodities such as agricultural resources and the food sector.

Property
Collective property funds or property-related shares could also form a small part of your portfolio. Physical property by its nature is illiquid but by using a property fund you can obtain exposure to shares in property companies, keeping your money liquid.

Review your portfolio regularly

It is vitally important that your portfolio is regularly reviewed. One reason why people do not get the most from their finances is the lack of regular attention paid to their arrangements. Consider using a regulated, independent adviser who should offer regular reviews as part of their ongoing service.

At Spectrum we have an in-house Portfolio Management team, helping advisers and clients monitor client portfolios regularly for performance and suitability. One aspect of our regular reviews is ‘profit-take alerts’; when one area of your portfolio has out-performed, then why not take some profits? Investors can really benefit from such active management.