Hannah Smith

Specialist funds: how will niche funds perform in 2020?

Over the past year, the focus of many investors has been firmly on liquidity, and how much of their portfolio should be in niche funds that could take longer to sell. But they have not lost interest in specialist funds altogether; some, such as technology funds, have had a stellar run, while property is a perennial feature in diversified portfolios.

Income investors: where to find value at the start of 2020

This year was a healthy one for investors looking for an income from their portfolios – provided you didn’t hold Woodford Equity Income – as income-producing assets generally met expectations. But will 2020 be an easy ride, or will investors have to search further afield for stable, high or growing income?

Should investment funds face bank-style stress tests?

Investors trapped in the beleaguered Woodford Equity Income fund were hoping that the shuttered fund might reopen in December and they could get their money back. But instead of a Christmas miracle, they’re getting a lump of coal in their stocking, with heavy losses likely as the fund is wound up.

This case has shocked the fund management industry, and raises the question of whether funds should face bank-style stress tests to make sure they can meet redemption requests in falling markets.

Dogs of the Footsie: how are our canines doing as their dividends dry up?

With Brexit uncertainty still weighing on investor sentiment, it’s been a difficult environment for UK plc this year, although a weak pound has helped the FTSE 100 index’s overseas earners. Our Dogs of the Footsie portfolio has struggled against the wider index since inception, but a yield of more than 10% provides some compensation.

Specialist social housing trusts proved popular, but have disappointed

Social housing investment trusts seemed like a promising investment opportunity when they began courting investors three years ago. With the aim of improving the supply of desperately needed housing for society’s most vulnerable people, the trusts gave investors the feel-good factor along with juicy inflation-linked yields of 5% to 6%.

Four tax clever tricks that work a treat

There’s a raft of different tax breaks on offer in the UK, but a few are often overlooked by savers and investors. Using them correctly means you can reduce your tax bill and keep as much of your investment returns as possible. Here is a guide to some of the possible tips and tricks you could use (but speak to a financial adviser for proper tax planning advice).

Do investors have to choose between green and greed?

This year has been one of weather extremes. By April, the UK had already experienced almost 100 wildfires, making 2019 the worst year for such fires on record. Flooding in Lincolnshire in June drove hundreds of people from their homes. Then a late-July heatwave engulfed Europe, sending temperatures in France above 45 degrees for the first time on record. With such terrifying evidence of climate change before us, combating it has never been more urgent.

What can women teach men about investing?

Women are still woefully under-represented among the ranks of stockmarket investors. That might be because they lack funds to invest, or confidence, or both. Either way, they are much less likely to invest than men are.

The latest Isa sales figures have confirmed the gender gap once again: in the 2016/17 tax year 17% of women invested through a stocks and shares Isa. That figure was up from 14% in the previous year (which is encouraging) but well below the 24% figure for men. The vast majority of women chose to keep their money in cash Isas.