To target a positive return in all market conditions
Investments tailored to an individual’s needs and risk tolerances
Investment allocations that are unconstrained
To pay a fair price for fund management fees
To combine past performance with modern forward thinking techniques
We have been looking after clients’ money for over 40 years and recognise that while all individuals’ circumstances are different, the main driver for investing money is to make a profitable return. To make a positive return you need to take an element of risk. The management of the risks taken is where we focus much of our time and expertise.
We know that preserving capital in a falling market can be just as important as making profits in a rising one, and core to our approach is creating sustainable investment portfolios that can cope with the marked fluctuations in investment markets.
Classic investment theory states that buying and holding a risky investment strategy should provide the best return in the long run but we understand that markets are not perfect and that real life circumstances mean that we can’t all hold investments indefinitely. We focus on investments that can provide positive returns in a wide variety of market conditions in a risk controlled manner. Our strategy encompasses modern investment techniques using history as a guide but not a rulebook.
Understanding the degree of risk an individual is prepared to take with their investments is fundamental to creating a suitable solution. We take time to understand all the factors that are relevant to an investment decision before finalising a recommendation. We also demonstrate just how investments based on a given risk level would have performed over previous years to make it easier to understand just what can be expected in both the good and the bad times.
Different investment types carry different individual risk levels from lower risk deposit holdings to high risk individual stocks and shares. We look at the fundamental risk levels of each type of asset class as well as the how best to reduce risk through a diversified portfolio.
Discretionary Managed Funds
A discretionary management service is where you give discretion to the discretionary manager to manage investments on your behalf. The discretionary manager will manage your investments in accordance with your investment strategy and objectives, but in making any investment decisions will not refer back to you.
We use a range of Discretionary Fund Managers to provide our clients with an actively managed portfolio run by Wealth Managers who are experts in risk management and portfolio construction, with a focus on making sure that each strategy stays on target, regardless of the prevailing economic conditions. Replicating this through a portfolio of individual assets, investments and funds would require a degree of time and expertise which is not available to the vast majority of private investors.
Our preference is for Discretionary Fund Managers who will incorporate our views on Absolute Return Funds and Passive/Tracker Funds, as detailed over the page.
Risk rated portfolios
We also offer a choice of carefully constructed risk based portfolios, which offer a choice of investment styles across five risk levels. These are competitively priced portfolios and invest in either tracker funds, managed funds or multi manager funds.
Actively Managed Portfolios
We also offer an actively managed solution for our clients, carefully chosen by our Investment Committee, centred around our key principles of capital preservation and aiming to achieve positive returns in all market conditions, not only when stock markets are rising.
Following these principles we have built a range of portfolios that target a level of volatility to match client expectations. These portfolios are comprised of absolute return funds and index-tracking funds absolute return funds as explained below:
Absolute Return Funds
The objective of absolute return investing is to provide a regular return above what is available through a cash savings account but with less risk than a standard stock market fund. Central to all our core portfolios are the use of true absolute return funds. They offer access to a range of sophisticated investment techniques and seek to deliver a positive or absolute return every year, regardless of what is happening in the stock market.
Instead of just buying and holding shares that the fund manager thinks will increase in value, an absolute return manager is able to take positions that will make the fund money, even if a particular holding actually falls in value. In addition, managers can invest in a mixture of shares, bonds, cash accounts, commodities and currencies all with the aim of giving a smoothed return to the investor.
In our view a true absolute return fund is one that does not have enforced allocations to specific investment types that could tie investors into markets that may be expected to fall in the shorter term. However, the success of this strategy is heavily dependent on the skill of the fund manager. Not only must they decide which holdings they think will rise in value, but also which will fall. The manager’s decisions will have the greatest influence on returns, rather than the direction of the market.
In a quickly rising stock market the majority of absolute return funds will underperform traditional funds, but when markets are tough, in theory they can still deliver annual gains. Different absolute return funds have different exposures, techniques and strategies. We look to combine funds that are aligned to our own views of investment management and keep suitability and performance under review.
Passive / Tracker Funds
Allied with the active management techniques of absolute return funds, we use lower cost tracker funds to provide access to traditional higher risk stock markets and lower risk fixed interest markets.
By removing the individual manager input the level of charges for passive funds are correspondingly lower than a managed alternative. This can make a significant impact on total returns over the longer term.
The key to passive / tracker funds is the accurate tracking of the market they are based on, a low cost base and strong liquidity. The funds we select in this area tick all of these boxes.
Coupled with our core portfolios, Bigmore Associates also offer a further personalised investment service for clients seeking greater specialisation. This can include unusual or new asset classes, tax planning, new structures, new markets, capital protected or simply pure deposit accounts.
Our clients can also make their own tactical investment decisions with some or all of their funds. Bigmore Associates can offer advice on the suitability of any of these strategies and allocations where desired.