Jeff Prestridge  

Take a long-term approach with investing

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

So, what should investors do? It is a difficult question. When stock markets started to implode in response to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, I urged investors (in the pages of The Mail on Sunday) to keep their nerve, ensure their portfolios were broadly diversified, and focus on the long term.

Such advice has been proven to be right, although I cannot say I felt good about giving it when on March 23 the FTSE 100 hit rock bottom.

It is advice that still applies today, although I am firmly in the Grantham camp when it comes to prudence. 

I certainly would not be advising investors to throw big money at the market right now. Monthly patient investing is the requirement of the moment, as is a long-term investment horizon.

What is more obvious than where the stock market goes from here in the short term is the changing nature of the investment landscape.

Coronavirus and economic lockdown have catapulted digitalisation into all of our front rooms. Zoom, Slack and Netflix are now as much part of our lives as the likes of Amazon, Google (Alphabet) and Facebook.

These companies – for better or for worse – are here to stay and it is obvious that rampant digitalisation is going to disrupt the business status quo even more.

Companies that are not prepared to innovate and embrace new technology are either going to wither on the vine or go out of business. Remember Kodak and its failure to adapt to a digital world, leading to it filing for bankruptcy in 2012?

Well, according to Tom Fitzgerald, a fund manager with EdenTree, there are plenty more “Kodak moments” just waiting to happen.

Innovative, technology embracing companies will be the stock market winners of the future – irrespective of what happens to equities in the short term.

Jeff Prestridge is personal finance editor of The Mail on Sunday