Our clients’ investment portfolios tend not to be created in ‘one fell swoop’. More typically, they evolve over time and that often leads to different types of investment being held in different types of plan, with a mix of old and new.
Attention to detail can eke a little more value out of most portfolios by controlling costs and ensuring the optimal tax efficiencies.
Sometimes fundamental changes are merited, but we are also happy to see ‘old’ plans and investments kept in place if they are cost-effective and give access to appropriate investments.
But we believe it is important to look beyond the ‘plans’, ‘pots’ or ‘silos’ which comprise a portfolio, and look closely at the underlying investments, considering how each one affects the balance and direction of the portfolio as a whole. We try to tie these in to each client’s own objectives.
We believe in the fundamental benefits of portfolio diversification.
And we encourage clients to invest for the long term, ensuring shorter-term needs can be met out of income, or cash, or other secure resources.
We also believe in the merits of low costs, and in switching investments only when the advantage of change clearly outweigh the cost of change. For this reason we favour investments which are suitable for holding in the long term, and we believe our clients benefit from the cost savings this approach brings to their affairs.
We offer a genuinely bespoke ‘advisory’ investment advice and our clients participate in making their investment decisions. Portfolio construction and maintenance is based on an individual’s tolerance of investment risk, their long-term plans and objectives, and their cash flows. Our key tools are a blend of actively-managed and index-tracking investments, and we use both ‘closed-ended’ investment trusts and open-ended ‘OEICS’, ‘Unit Trusts’ and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), alongside cash and other investments selected chosen by our clients. Each of these ‘structures’ have specific attributes which we ‘blend’ to construct suitable portfolios.
This approach genuinely sets Fitzallan apart from the multitude of financial advisory firms, large and small, who seek scalable efficiencies through the ‘model portfolios’ into which so many of their clients are ushered.
We also appreciate that the financial world is awash with over-hyped ‘opportunities’ which are often unnecessarily expensive and all too frequently fail to deliver on their promises. We therefore bring scepticism, as well as diligence, to our research. We do not chase the latest fads and are not adherents to any single investment philosophy, system, product provider or fund manager, because we know from experience that such approaches too often fail in the face of change.
Our clients’ financial future is far too important to make it subject to one single ‘belief system’ so we try to remain pragmatic. We are neither ‘active only’ nor ‘index trackers’.
While we advise on a wide range of investments, we do not recommend aggressive, ‘cutting-edge' solutions; clients come to us for sensible, impartial, professional advice which should stand the test of time.
We can offer some certainty where it does exist. While investment performance is essentially unpredictable, the negative impact of high investment costs is ‘knowable’. We therefore always ensure that our clients access the ‘platforms’, products and investments which offer the best choices consistent with their objectives at the lowest costs we can achieve for them.
Underpinning everything we do is the understanding that our function is not to risk client’s future through speculation, but to improve it by helping them make sound investment decisions. To quote the late ‘Intelligent Investor’, Benjamin Graham:
“The most realistic distinction between the investor and the speculator is found in their attitude toward stock-market movements. The speculator's primary interest lies in anticipating and profiting from market fluctuations. The investor's primary interest lies in acquiring and holding suitable securities at suitable prices. Market movements are important to him in a practical sense, because they alternately create low price levels at which he would be wise to buy and high price levels at which he certainly should refrain from buying and probably would be wise to sell.”