A Few Farewell Thoughts

Editor's Views: The past couple of years have been anything but boring, but my last column for Morningstar could be

Holly Black 3 September, 2021 | 10:22AM
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This will be my last column for Morningstar. I wrote my first just as the Woodford Equity Income fund collapsed, and then saw the H20 Allegro Bond debacle, wrote through the UK General Election, the Boris Bounce and eventual getting over the line of Brexit. There was a pandemic, a stock market crash, a stock market rally, a shift to home-working, a Bitcoin record high, a meme stock phenomenon, a short squeeze, the introduction of value assessment reports, and yet another bit of badly named regulation about sustainable investing (SFDR).

In that time, we’ve also launched a revamped website, ramped up our ESG coverage, and started to get some amazing data through on diversity at companies. We’ve looked at how many fund managers are named Dave, how long it takes a market to recover from a crash, and stood in front of an oversized whiteboard to look at all things personal finance. And surely among my favourite projects has been getting our amazing team of junior investment experts in to speak to our analysts and, more recently, explain jargon-laden investment acronyms. I also painted my kitchen. It’s fair to say it’s been a busy couple of years.

Empowering Investor Success

At Morningstar, our mission is to empower investor success. We want to keep you updated on the latest market moves, fund launches and industry trends, but we never want to encourage short-termism or panic selling. That’s why you’ll have heard me bleat on more than once or twice about the importance of a long-term investment approach, of regular investing, and buy and hold. I appreciate I’ve been incredibly boring.

If I look at my own investment portfolio over that period, not much has changed. I still hold the same smaller companies investment trust I bought eight years ago – which I’ve taken profits from twice – and a European equities fund is still trucking along quite nicely. My frontiers investment trust got off to a strong start when I first bought it several years ago, but has tailed off in a rather disappointing way, and I was very pleased to finally eject my Gold ETF at a profit last year, after years of it languishing in the red – I decided that tracking precious metals just wasn’t for me, it's too volatile and too unpredictable. Have I empowered my own investment success? I'm sure my gains could have been greater if I'd tried, but I do know that my portfolio has never caused me to miss a single moment of sleep, and that to me is a success.

Stick to What You Know

So, my investment style has not changed – I’m all for buy-and-hold and buy-what-you-know – and being around Morningstar’s crack team of expert analysts has probably only made me double down on all that: wide economic moats, low fees, and diversification are all top priorities, but I also know that I’m allowed some mad money – and while I haven’t yet taken the plunge and bought any meme stocks or crypto, I do allow myself some riskier plays (that frontier fund among them). Mostly though, I don’t want to feel like I have to check in on my portfolio more than a few times a year.

So, as I leave you in the talented and capable hands of Team Morningstar, I'm afraid I have no new exciting advice, just the usual: do your research, only invest in things you understand, and set up that regular investing account. Thank you for reading, it’s been an absolute pleasure to be on this journey with you over what has been a truly remarkable, unpredictable, once-in-a-generation period for markets and investors.

 

 

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

Holly Black  is Senior Editor, Morningstar.co.uk