"My Football Fund was an Own Goal"

Investor Views: Private investor and part-time referee Marc Rister holds a range of equity and cash holdings

Emma Simon 7 October, 2020 | 10:54AM
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Investor Views

Like many people in their 20s, Marc Rister’s most immediate financial goal is to get on the housing ladder. To help him save towards this goal, Marc has taken out a Lifetime Isa, an account which gets you a 25% top-up on your savings from the Government. 

But after four years of investing, Marc has recently switched his money out of the stock market and into cash to protect his money.

He says: “I first started investing when I left university – I studied economics and now work for a banking and wealth management firm, so I was aware that investing was a better long-term option for growing my money than holding cash.”

Marc initially invested in six funds but as he moves closer to his savings goal, he wants to protect his money; he didn’t want to risk large market movements that could significantly reduce the gains he had made. And given the sharp fall in share prices at the beginning of this year, this has proved to be a prudent move.

Outside of this Lifetime Isa, Marc, who lives in North London, also invests in a pension and has a Stock and Shares Isa as well as a general investment account.

“The pension is obviously longer-term savings. With my other investments I just wanted to do something with my excess income,” he says. “Perhaps these funds will be useful when I come to buy a house or just to have some additional savings for a rainy day.”

Cheap Trackers

When it comes to selecting funds Marc prefer to use large, well-known companies and likes BlackRock, M&G, L&G and Pimco. He also aims to find funds with low fees and which pay dividends.

He adds: “More recently I have also started to look at different index tracking funds as I feel these offer the best value, are the most diversified and simplest to understand.”

Index funds funds track various different geographic and sector indices. For example, he holds the L&G US Index and the iShares UK Equity Index funds.

This L&G tracker has a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold, and Morningstar analyst Briegel Leitao says: “This fund offers passive exposure to a broad and diversified index of US equities in a category where index strategies have built a strong investment case over active peers.

The iShares UK Equity index has a Silver Morningstar Analyst Rating. Analysts say the fund offers broader exposure than a FTSE 100 tracker, with between 20 and 25% of its allocation in mid- and small-cap companies. With an ongoing charge of 0.05%, the fund is very competitively priced, particularly in relation to active funds investing in the same sector.

Alongside these broad index-tracking funds, Marc also invests in specific sectors through funds such as Neutral-rated BlackRock World Energy and Pimco GIS Credit. He says: “Until last month all of these funds were making me money and were in positive territory, but the most recent dip hasn’t served me well. I am not too concerned though, as they are all longer-term investments.”

Football Index Strays Offside

Marc tries to use a regular investment strategy when putting money into his funds to get the benefits of pound-cost averaging, effectively helping to smooth out the ups and downs in the stock market.

He adds: “I used to invest in the Polar Capital Technology fund but sold that at about 50% profit. Other funds I have sold over the last year or so have been in positive territory, but the gains have not been as substantial.”

While the vast majority of his holdings have grown in value, one of his poorer investments have been in a football index. Marc is a part-time referee and while he dreams of one day refereeing in the Premiership, his enthusiasm for the sport hasn’t so far translated into decent investments returns.

“This is a fairly recent investment and it is currently down 20%. I am starting to think this was perhaps a bit of a stupid idea,” he admits.

Marc, 26, has become more confident about investing in recent years. “I have become more comfortable about volatility and am happy to ride out day-to-day fluctuations. I also find that I try to stick more money into some of these funds if I see a dip.

“I do still tend to check my investments daily, but while I used to get annoyed or concerned if they were down, but now I’m more optimistic that over the longer term everything will be alright.”


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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About Author

Emma Simon

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

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