Investor Views: "I Trust My Adviser to Pick My Investments"

Ann Ward explains to Morningstar how finding the right financial adviser has boosted her retirement income and taken a weight off her shoulders

Emma Simon 11 November, 2015 | 10:13AM
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Ann Ward says she finds financial jargon off-putting and investment strategies confusing. But this doesn’t mean she’s prepared to settle for a second rate service, or a poor return on her money. 

The over-riding reason for sticking with my adviser isn't just the returns, it's the service

She says she needed to get financial advice after he husband died two years ago, after a very short illness. “It was obviously a very difficult time, and I needed to get some help to sort out our finances. 

“Most of these savings were in the Halifax and were earning absolutely nothing at all. I asked to speak to a financial adviser there, but they said they couldn’t help. It seems banks like that are no longer able to offer financial advice to their customers.” 

She said shortly after her husband found out he was seriously ill they had a meeting with a local adviser, but she wasn’t particularly taken with him. “I felt he was pestering me once my husband died. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to him.” 

However it was a different situation when she visited Strategic Solutions, a firm of chartered planners in Newton Abbot. “I felt they were listening to what I was saying and were able to explain things in ordinary English. They have been a pleasure to deal with.”

Cautious Funds for Income 

On the advice of this firm she has moved her savings, which were almost entirely in cash, into a cautiously managed portfolio. This ensures that she has additional income to supplement her own small pension and the two small company pensions inherited from her husband. 

The portfolio is managed by Investec. Just over 40% is invested in fixed interest investments and around another 40% in equities, with about 11% in commercial property and alternative investments, and the remainder in cash. 

Within this asset allocation, Mrs Ward’s money is invested across a spread of funds and investment trusts that have a strong track record of paying decent yields. As this portfolio is managed through Investec, some of these are institutional share classes. 

One of the trusts she holds is Murray Income Trust (MUT). Past performance has earned this trust a three star rating from Morningstar, and its forward-looking prospects have been awarded a Bronze medal rating—reflecting Morningstar analysts’ confidence that the trust’s managers will continue to outperform peers. 

Morningstar analysts say: “Murray Income doesn’t shoot the lights out but the income is steady. For many investors, the reliability of income is more important than capital growth. Those holding shares in Murray Income won’t have been disappointed with the income.” 

Mrs Ward says she is not worried about slowly depreciating her portfolio. She feels it is more important to ensure she has sufficient income today, although she wants to retain the more cautious approach when it comes to asset allocation. This is reflected across the funds she holds, which includes defensive funds such as Troy Trojan Income and Newton Real Return

The Troy Trojan fund has a four star rating from Morningstar, reflecting its strong outperformance in recent years. The fund aims to deliver above average income, with the potential for medium-term capital growth. 

Newton Real Return has a Bronze medal rating from Morningstar analysts, who describe it as “a strong choice for investors seeking consistent absolute returns from an unconstrained multi-asset fund,” and add that the fund is “among the most successful absolute return funds.” 

Professional Advice Brings Peace of Mind

Mrs Ward says she likes the fact that she didn’t have to move all her money at once, instead gradually drip feeding it into the markets. But to her, the over-riding reason for sticking with her adviser hasn’t been the returns, but the service. 

She says: “I’ve now moved from Devon to the Midlands, but I still visit my adviser, Abi Stidworthy, once a year to see how my investments are getting on. There can’t be many people who have a journey of almost 200 miles to see their financial adviser!” 

She adds: “They are always there at the end of the phone and I can also speak to Investec if I have specific questions about my portfolio. Abi has made it easy to deal with financial issues; I’ve utmost trust in them. They’ve taken a lot of weight off my shoulders. If I have any queries or letters from HMRC they are happy to deal with them.”

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Rating
BNY Mellon Real Return A GBP Inc127.35 GBP-0.46Rating
Murray Income Trust Ord875.25 GBP-1.66Rating
Trojan Income I Inc169.43 GBP-0.37Rating

About Author

Emma Simon

Emma Simon  is a financial journalist, specialising in investment and consumer issues, writing for Morningstar.co.uk