IFAMar 17 2023

Watching portfolios too closely leads to mistakes, IFAs say

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Watching portfolios too closely leads to mistakes, IFAs say
Just under half of retail platform users have three or fewer assets in their portfolios (Pexels/Rodnae Productions)
BySally Hickey

Retail platform investors should not check their accounts every day and should ensure their portfolios are diverse, IFAs have said.

A third of investment app users (35 per cent) check their portfolio balance every day, with one in 10 checking it multiple times a day, according to a survey by Behind Logins for investing comparison platform Investing Reviews.

Within these portfolios, 46 per cent of platform users have three or fewer assets, and a quarter have less than £1,000 invested.

Obsessively checking your investments can be damagingMatt Cross, Elmstone Financial Planning

Both of these statistics are a concern, said Scott Gallacher, chartered financial planner at Rowley Turton.

A diversified portfolio as well as a long-term perspective are crucial for investors’ success in the long-term, he said.

“As a financial adviser, I encourage clients to focus on a long-term investment strategy and to avoid frequent portfolio check-ins that can lead to unnecessary changes."

The frequent checking of accounts can lead to mistakes, said Philip Dragoumis, owner of London-based wealth manager, Thera Wealth Management.

He said: "The fact that investment these days is so frictionless and easy, and can be done and undone in a matter of a few minutes from your phone, has the potential to be hazardous to your wealth.”

Financial education, currently non-existent in schools, is key, Dragoumis added.

“From a behavioural investment point of view, watching your portfolio go up and down every day will eventually lead you to a mistake, which is the primary reason individual investors have such poor returns.”

Just over a third (36 per cent) of investors trade monthly, according to the survey, which was commissioned by Investing Reviews for its annual report on the state of the UK investment app landscape.

However 55 per cent of people use their investing platforms for less than five minutes at a time.

The only people who should be checking the value of their portfolios regularly are fund managers and day traders, said Joshua Gerstler, chartered financial planner at The Orchard Practice.

Checking your portfolio regularly can also be damaging to users’ mental health, said Matt Cross, senior adviser at Elmstone Financial Planning.

"Obsessively checking your investments can be damaging…particularly in times of high volatility in the markets.”

Although that is not to say investors should not check their investments at all.

Cross said: “For some investors, having a small percentage of your portfolio in accounts that you trade can be a good way to engage with the financial markets and gain a better understanding of what's happening within the investment world.”