In Focus: Vulnerability  

Investors take stock of investment risk post-Covid


Advised investors have behaved sensibly with their investments, but it is important to ensure the strategy is still suitable post-Covid, experts have claimed. 

Speaking on the FTAdviser In Focus podcast, Myron Jobson, personal finance campaigner for Interactive Investor, said trends suggested investors were not mass fleeing the markets, despite the general feeling of vulnerability caused by Covid-19.

He commented: "Our customers do tend to be buy-and-hold customers, wanting to 'get rich slow'."

Serena Van Der Meulen, director of Van Der Meulen Associates, said: "I was surprised by the lack of nervousness [among my clients] because the world felt nervous.

"I felt some of my newer investors might be more nervous but the main concerns seemed to be about their health and the world, rather than the usual things you might see in a turndown."

This was echoed by Mark Polson, principal and founder of the Lang Cat consultancy, who said: "As far as the world of advisers and planners is concerned, clients are doing what they are told. 

"Most firms have told us that while there are occasional wobbles, which is understandable, it is just business as usual."

Several news reports so far over 2020 have shown people have put aside more into savings, perhaps indicating a sense of needing to take more personal responsibility for financial health and wellbeing. 

But has the UK become a nation of savers? Mr Polson said it might be too early to tell: "We have seen all that frictional spend, such as going to the pub, we are not missing spending that money but I expect once we start going back into the workplace, this will pick up.

"I suspect we will see an explosion of fun and expensive sandwich purchases from Pret-a-Manger."

Ms Van Der Meulen agreed there has been more spending rather than saving. She said: "I have seen more spending with house improvements among clients. A lot of clients want to give money to children at the moment, as they have been struggling with work and childcare. 

"Clients have been bringing forward their plans to give in a few years' time, in order to give to their families now. It hasn't been frivolous spending, but a lot going towards the family."

Yet there has been an indication of people putting more money aside, especially among the younger generations. 

Mr Jobson said: "We have seen a fervour towards saving and investing.

"Last year we saw a record amount of customer trades, showing that our customers have sought to profit from what seemed to be market inefficiencies."

He also said there were positive indications that more younger people are starting to get interested in stocks and shares investment. 

Mr Jobson added: "We had more coming in last year from transfers from cash Isas than we did in 2019. This has been a time where people can really take time and read the guidance material out there, and take that step forward to investing.