Tidal Finances

Tidal Finances

Justin Urquhart-Stewart from 7IM

As they say “all boats rise on a rising tide” except presumably those with holes in. Equally all portfolios should rise in a rising market, except those with investment holes in them. The question is though to what extent can you try and keep your rising gains even when the tide does turn.

This is a question few investment people like to address, after all they all like to talk about their successes and few wish to be reminded of their financial failures. The fact is though that when it comes to equities we have been in a bull market now for over 60 months and by any measure this bull is getting somewhat tired.

As the old phrase goes “you can’t time the market, its time in the market”. As an investment truism it is not wrong, as frequent trading and frenetic asset swapping can just incur extra cost with no guarantee of much gain – except for your commission earning stockbroker! In fact the power of compounding of dividends is generally a far more reliable path to returns than single stock selections.

However, that just establishes a dumb or “fire and forget” portfolio, which would take no account of any external influences. As a strategy it is not a stupid one, but it does mean that as far as tidal flows go your portfolio will be destined solely to rise and fall with the tidal effects of market sentiments. As King Canute found when discussing tidal flows in the English Channel with his acolytes, he too had no power to control the tides; but he did have the power and authority to move his deckchair to avoid getting wet – and so do you with your portfolios.

The construction of a sound portfolio will probably have been based on your chosen plan for longer term strategic asset allocation. This generally is based on historical data in order to provide a balance of risk and expected return for your client. However the application of a forward view or tactical asset allocation will provide more opportunity to try to secure gains and to move out of those assets perceived to be at greater exposure to tidal flow and erosion. Erosions can, of course, always be caused by being tethered onto something more fixed and secure as the water rushes away, be it cash or something similar.

No one like values going down, but at some stage this tide will turn and it’s right that we both prepare for it and remember that investments, like the tides will go up and down.

Like most things in life, the more time & energy you put into something the more you get back. So how about investing some time now on your own hard earned money?

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