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A way for individual investors to pool their money together, allowing them to invest in assets that would otherwise be unobtainable
The person who decides where the fund's money should be invested. As such, finding a talented manager (such as those with a Citywire rating) is of paramount importance
Funds are grouped together into sectors, allowing fund managers to be judged against their benchmarks and peer group. Each sector has rules about what assets funds are allowed to invest in
A generic term meaning 'what you own'. If you can buy it, it's an asset. In the world of investments the most common assets are shares, bonds, property and cash.
A group of assets with similar properties. For example, while shares will rise or fall in price individually, economic factors can affect all shares similarly. The same economic factors might affect bonds very differently – so shares and bonds are separate asset classes.
The process of deciding which asset classes to invest in. Successful asset allocation is often more important than selecting individual assets (for example deciding whether to invest mainly in shares, rather than which shares to invest in). Since most fund managers are tied to their sector rules, you need to either do your own asset allocation or buy a managed fund.
A measure of how different areas of the markets are performing, against which funds can be compared. For example, a fund in the UK All Companies sector might be compared against the FTSE All-Share index of every company traded on the London Stock Exchange. A good fund manager will be able to beat the benchmark most of the time, but very few can.
A contract representing something of financial value. Shares and bonds are the most common types of securities.
Unlike most funds, which are restricted to investing in particular markets by the rules of their sector, managed funds can invest in just about anything. While they can have subtly different objectives, they are split into 'Active Managed', where the manager is given free reign; 'Balanced Managed', where the manager can invest a maximum of 85% in shares to reduce risk; and 'Cautious Managed' with a 60% maximum in shares.
A share in a company represents part ownership of its assets (e.g. its buildings, intellectual property and so on) and its future income (paid out as dividends). The value of a share depends largely on other investors' expectations of the company's future growth and income.
Companies can issue bonds as a way of raising money. When you buy a bond, the company is agreeing to pay you a fixed income (hence the alternative name 'fixed income securities') for a certain time period, after which your money is repaid. If investors suspect a company may be unable to repay, they will demand a higher income or 'yield' - hence 'high yield bonds'.
The possibility that your investment objectives won't be met. The most obvious variety is 'capital risk' – the possibility that you won't get your money back – but there are many other forms such as currency risk, income risk, inflation risk (that your investments won't keep pace with the cost of living) and so on. To get better returns, you must accept more risk – this is a law of physics in investing, no matter what the people who advertise funds like to claim. Understanding your own risk tolerance is crucial.
A measure of how your investments have performed, relative to your initial investment. For example if you invest £1,000 in a fund, and a year later your investment is worth £1,100, you've made a 10% return.
Otherwise known as maximum 'drawdown', this is a measure of how much you would lose if you bought an investment at its most expensive and sold at its cheapest (which, owing to the frailties of human psychology, often happens). For example if a fund was worth £1 a unit at one point but then fell to 50p – regardless of what happened in the meantime – the fund's loss would be 50%. Comparing the maximum loss for different managers over a given period is a good way of seeing who's doing the best job of safeguarding investors' money.
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Andrew Cole was born in Essex, Britain in 1963. He joined Baring Asset Management as a fixed income dealer in 1986. In 1994, he was appointed as a director in the fixed income department and consequently joined the multi asset portfolio team in 1995. He describes his investment style as GARP (Growth At A Ressonable Price) and Macro investing. Outside of fund management, he likes shooting, soccer and gardening.