Understanding investment risk

Making informed decisions to improve your chances of achieving your financial goals

Your investment time frame will determine your risk profile to some extent, as this has a direct bearing on your capacity to take risk. Risk capacity is also influenced by factors such as your age, wealth, and the goals you are saving and investing for. Your capacity for risk is likely to change over the course of your life as your personal circumstances change.

Maintaining a diversified portfolio

Spreading risk between different kinds of investments

When you start investing, or even if you are a sophisticated investor, one of the most important tools available is diversification. Whether the market is bullish or bearish, maintaining a diversified portfolio is essential to any long-term investment strategy.

Ethical saving and investing

Making the world a better place

Whether it’s termed ethical, responsible or sustainable investing, the aim is generally the same. It’s investing your money in businesses which have some intention of making the world a better place. In the past, ethical investing was the only option if you wanted to invest in companies aligned to your values. But this ‘good money’ sector has moved on a lot in recent years.

Investing in a fund

Making investment decisions on behalf of the investor

There are many reasons to invest through a fund, rather than buying assets on your own. At a basic level, investing in a fund means having a fund manager make investment decisions on behalf of the investor.

Pooled investment funds

Combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments

Pooled investment funds – also known as ‘collective investment schemes’ – are a way of combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments and managed by a professional fund manager.

Tracker funds and exchange traded funds

Market index following the overall performance of a selection of investments

Tracker funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are investments that aim to mirror the performance of a market index. A market index follows the overall performance of a selection of investments. The FTSE 100 is an example of a market index – it includes the 100 companies with the largest value on the London Stock Exchange.

With-profits funds

Stock market return linked but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares

If you save regularly or invest a lump sum using a life insurance policy, you might choose to invest in a with-profits fund. These aim to give you a return linked to the stock market but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares. However, they are complex and are not as popular a form of investing as they used to be.

Investment trusts

Public company aiming to make money by investing in other companies

An investment trust is a public company that raises money by selling shares to investors, and then pools that money to buy and sell a wide range of shares and assets. Different investment trusts will have different aims and different mixes of investments.

Stocks & Shares ISAs

Investing in wide range of different tax-efficient investments

From July 2014, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) can now be used to hold stocks and shares or cash, or any combination of these, up to the current annual limit. An ISA is a ‘wrapper’ that can be used to help save you tax.

Lifetime ISA

Helping you save for a first home or for your retirement at the same time

The start of the new tax year on 6 April 2017 saw the launch of the Lifetime ISA (LISA), which was announced in the 2016 Budget. This is a new type of Individual Savings Account (ISA) designed to help you save for a first home or for your retirement at the same time. To be eligible, you have to be aged between 18 and 39 years old (up until your 40th birthday).