Is Now a Good Time to Invest? Buying Stock During a Pandemic

The global pandemic has lead to a lot of predictable anxiety, lockouts, and business closures in the last few weeks and months. It has raised many legitimate questions about global finances, with one very important one weighing on investors. “Is now a good time to invest?”

What are the more robust markets to invest in right now? Can anybody, even a freelancer, do well in the market? And what is the best approach to take to keep your money safe?

Join us today as we break down some of our favourite tips.

Don’t Be Reckless

It can be easy, in the midst of everything the world is going through, to feel like the world is your oyster. You can expect to see panicked sales going on in waves over the next few months. This may seem like a tempting opportunity to wade in and start buying up everything you can get your hands on.

Keep in mind, however, that discretion is never a bad idea. There will still be plenty of bad deals floating around, and COVID-19 will run its course. You could find yourself dealing with the repercussions of a bad investment sooner than you might expect, so be careful.

Don’t Invest Unless You Can Maintain It for Three Years, Minimum

Considering buying stocks in response to falling prices? Consider the stability of the investments you’re sizing up. To be responsible, you have to be able to hold your investments for a minimum of three years so they have the chance to recover.

This goes for investments at any time of the year but is especially true during quarantine times.

You may want to sell. You could have any number of reasons for this.

Maybe you’re scared by all the instability. Maybe your broker recommends it. Whatever your reasoning, you should not invest during a stock market crash if you’re not ready to hold your investments for at least three years.

Stocks have a high potential return rate, but we only see those returns when we hold down, consistently, during episodes of volatility. Three years is the recommended amount of time necessary to overcome short-term market losses.

You also cannot, under any circumstances, invest money you may need in an emergency into these stocks. If you invest emergency funds and then, later on, have an emergency, you’ll need to sell to get access to that money.

Don’t Spend It All on the Markets

Cash tends to retain its value, even during a stock market crash. What this means for you, as an investor, is an opportunity to keep a portion of your investing power liquid and ready in case the market drops.

You’ll be more ready to take advantage of these dips in activity if your funds aren’t already all wrapped up in equity. Compared to other investors, strapped for cash and weighing up their options, you’ll have a distinct advantage.

Regret: It’s to Be Expected

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Nobody ever gets into the stock market intending to lose money. That said, losing money, at least in the short term, is an inevitability. It’s always easier to plan when the markets are behaving as they should be.

It’s no secret that investors get nervous when the stock market is erratic. They feel regret over not getting in earlier. They feel regret at not selling sooner.

You will probably feel the same way at some point in the future. It’s inevitable, and you will almost always be left something you wish had gone differently. The worst thing you could do is sell scared.

Expert investors with years of experience don’t have perfect days. If you’re trying to take advantage of the market during COVID-19, it’s important to remember not everything will go perfectly.

Stocks will fall, sometimes repeatedly. They have done so throughout history, and have always recovered. If you are bold enough to get into the stock market during a global pandemic and impending recession, you need to be bold enough to weather the storm.

A Note on What to Invest in Now

Investing in stocks and shares is about taking a smart approach to your investments. But it’s also about investing in stocks and shares you know will make a return. With all of that said, which sectors will be most likely to pull ahead during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Healthcare and Biotechnology

The biotech and healthcare fields are expected to remain entrenched during the outbreak due to their role in treating it. Look at Quidel Corporation (QDEL) and Masimo Corporation (MASI) for mid-to-large caps. 

Teleconference

Because of its role in quarantines, teleconferencing software is also attracting purchases. It’s not a field that gets as much attention in a regular year, however, so expect some inconsistencies by way of growing pains. Citrix Systems, Inc. (CTXS) and Teledoc Health, Inc. (TDOC) have both shown promise.

Safe Shelters

The safe-haven has had its place throughout dozens of national and international disasters. They’ve seen consistent growth throughout COVID-19, with climbing dividends staving off lower prices. Campbell Soup Company (CPB) recently traded near a 52-week high, while American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK) has come in with some great returns, as well.

Is Now a Good Time to Invest?

The world is in an interesting place, right now. One of the biggest global pandemics in recent history has sent literally everybody inside, from the man on the street to whole businesses. And, with stores, restaurants, and even some non-essential public utilities all shutting down, it can be easy to think this is a bad time to invest.

The truth is quite the opposite, though. With the market shifting to products and services relevant to the virus, we’re seeing new opportunities for investors.

It’s all about changing your perspective and learning to roll with the punches, and this is the perfect environment to do exactly that in. Some of the best long term investments come out of trying times. And COVID-19 is certainly trying.

Is now a good time to invest? It’s as good a time as it’s ever been, which means “absolutely,” provided you’re ready to put in the time and effort and invest wisely.

Looking for more choice investment insights? Check out some of our other expert blog content, today!

Is a SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) a Good Idea for Freelancers

A quarter of British adults have nothing in savings. Meanwhile, one in 10 Brits admits they tend to spend more than they earn. As a freelancer, you can’t get caught without a good nest egg awaiting you during retirement. By setting up a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), you can prepare yourself for the year to come. A SIPP will help you save for retirement without worry you’ll spend your savings. 

What is a SIPP pension exactly, and how does it work?

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about SIPP investments as a freelancer!

What is a SIPP?

First, what exactly is a self-invested personal pension?

A SIPP is a pension that holds all of your investments until you retire and begin drawing a retirement income. This form of personal pension works similarly to a standard personal pension. The main difference, however, is that a SIPP offers more flexibility with the investments you choose.

Once you have your SIPP set up, you can add regular contributions to your nest egg. You can also make ad hoc payments into your self-employment pension. Then, your pension provider will claim tax relief and add it to your savings.

How Does It Work?

How does a SIPP work and help you save for retirement?

With a standard personal pension, all of your investments are managed for you. They’re controlled within the pooled fund you selected. With SIPPS, however, you have the freedom to select and manage your own investments instead. 

You can also pay an experienced, authorised investment manager to make the decisions for you. 

SIPPs are best for people who want to manage their own funds. By giving you control, your self-invested personal pension also allows you to switch investments as you’d like. That way, you have the peace of mind that you’re making investments with your own best interests in mind. 

Why Is It Important as a Freelancer?

The majority of Brits between the ages of 22 and 29 have no more than £1,000 tucked away in savings. If your self-employed, it’s up to you to start a pension on your own. 

Unfortunately, many self-employed people struggle to make ends meet as they grow older. By planning for SIPP investments now, you can prepare yourself for any rocky roads ahead.

There are a few benefits to choosing a SIPP, including:

  • You can receive pension tax relief from the government
  • A strong pension plan will give you low-cost access to professional investment managers
  • The right investment manager can help you invest your money in a range of assets
  • Choosing the right assets can help you manage risk in a sensible way
  • If you die before you turn 75, your pension will pass on to your beneficiaries as a lump sum
  • New pension freedom rules allow you to decide what to do with your pension savings when you reach retirement

As a freelancer, having the freedom to choose what you do with your self-employed pension is essential. Many full-time employees are already paying into a pension. In fact, employers are now obligated to automatically enrol employees into a workplace pensions scheme. 

Other Options

If you’re currently self-employed and want to set up a private pension, start by finding any old workplace and personal pensions established in the past. Then, combine them into your new pension. Completing this process will make your new self-employment pension easier to manage in the long-run.

Working with a financial advisor can make this process easier, too. They can help move your pensions over into their system. Then, they’ll combine and transfer your pensions into your new SIPP pension plan. 

Otherwise, might need to contact your previous pension providers to get your pension balances on your own. 

In addition to a SIPP pension plan, you might decide on other options, including a personal pension or stakeholder pension. Self-employed individuals can also utilise the government scheme National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), too. However, there’s no “best” pension for self-employed workers.

It really depends on your own specific circumstances.

Ideally, try to find a provider who lets you make contributions when you want. As someone who is self-employed, your income might not end up as predictable as you’d like. Having control over the details of your self-employed pension can make it easier to manage. 

Investments

Now that you know a little more about how SIPP investments work, let’s review the assets you can choose from. A few include:

  • Unit trusts
  • Some National Savings and Investment productions
  • Commercial property (shops, offices, factories)
  • Investment trusts
  • Government securities
  • Individual stocks and shares (quotes on the recognised UK or overseas stock exchange)
  • Insurance company funds
  • Traded endowment policies
  • Deposit accounts with banks and building societies 

However, this is only a shortlist. Speaking with an expert can help you explore your options. There are also different SIPP providers who have different investment options available for you to choose from. 

You can’t hold residential property directly within a SIPP with tax advantages that usually accompany pension investments.

However, you can hold residential property in a SIPP through certain types of collection investments. For example, a real estate investment trust would allow you to include the property in a SIPP without you losing tax advantages.

These investments are often subject to restrictions. It’s also important to note that not all SIPP providers will accept this type of investment. 

In addition to your self-invested personal pension, make sure to take the time to develop an overall investment strategy. Planning now will help you in the future.

You can access and use your SIPP more flexibly now. According to new rules, you can now access the money in your SIPP at the age of 55. 

Take a SIPP: Understanding Your Self-Invested Personal Pension as a Freelancer

Prepare for the future and make the most of your money. By understanding the importance of creating a self-invested personal pension, you can save away money as a freelancer. Then, you’ll have what you need to prepare for the day you retire!

Searching for more helpful investment tips? Explore our latest Investment Management guides today.

Nigerian bank DLM on the move delivers at all levels – with exciting plans in the pipeline

DLM Capital Group – a developmental investment bank that supports economic and social infrastructure projects with the aim of driving GDP growth and improving lives. 

Founding chairman and group CEO of investment firm DLM Capital Group , Sonnie Ayere
Founding chairman and group CEO of investment firm DLM Capital Group, Sonnie Ayere

DLM Advisory Partners (DLMAP), formerly Dunn Loren Merrifield Advisory Partners, is the advisory and capital-raising arm of DLM Capital group. The principal services provided by DLMAP include financial advisory, debt capital-raising, equity capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and company set-up advisory.

DLMAP has played a leading role in structured finance and securitisation within Nigeria. “We have acted as sole arranger to more than 80 percent of structured finance transactions in Nigeria, and 100 percent of all securitisation transactions in the market,” says CEO Sonnie Ayere.

Most Innovative Transaction of 2019

In 2019, DLM executed the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) securitisation in Nigeria, working with the sponsor, Primero Transport Services Limited (PTSL). The system caters to residents of the country’s most densely populated city, Lagos. DLM raised ₦16.50bn ($45.8m) through the securitisation of the company’s BRT tickets receivables. The sponsor is licensed to operate the longest BRT route in West Africa, 35.3km, with its 434-bus fleet.

DLM Capital Group

A feasibility study conducted put the daily passenger carriage at about 226,300 passengers per day. Due to working capital pressures, the company was only able to serve an average of 135,000 daily passengers before the securitisation transaction in 2019.

The ₦16.5bn 17 percent Series 1 Fixed Rate Bonds issued were primarily used to refinance all pre-existing commercial banking loan facilities on the books of the sponsor. The transaction provided the company with savings in interest, shaving the cost of funds from 27 percent per annum to 17 percent. At the same time, it extended the tenor of the company’s debt from three years to seven.

With this transaction, DLM was able to provide the company with up to 10 percent savings in interest, reducing the cash required to service debt and improving the company’s working capital. DLM also advised on the restructuring of the company’s balance sheet by moving the operating assets into a new vehicle and eliminated the strain of depreciation charges.

Focus for 2020

DLM is in discussions with industry stakeholders and umbrella bodies to establish proprietary funding conduits across key sectors of the Nigerian economy. It intends to include microfinance, agriculture, education, health care and a continuation of other funding programmes for the mortgage, real estate and transportation sectors.

Working with a DFI partner, the company recently concluded the design of an aggregation vehicle aimed at providing local currency, wholesale funding solutions to micro-lenders in Nigeria by way of loan book securitisation.

A similar platform to provide financing to primary users of agriculture commodities is currently being developed.

What’s the secret to trading on the financial markets?

Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM

Giles Coghlan of HYCM
Giles Coghlan of HYCM

There are countless books claiming to elucidate exactingly how to invest over the long-term. However, ask any seasoned trader what the secret is to an effective investment strategy and you’ll quickly find there is no one tactic or panacea for consistent growth.

Instead, what most traders rely on is an informed and reactive understanding of both current affairs and unfolding market trends to help inform their investment decisions. By letting this understanding dynamically inform one’s portfolio, they are able to confidently react to sudden market shocks.

Investors must therefore have one eye on the present and one eye on the future, and understand how different social, political, geographical and economic events could impact their portfolio. This understanding must be informed by an awareness of how past events have affected the prices of different assets. Thankfully, there are plenty of useful ways that investors can prep for the future.  

Markets are all about cause and effect

The fundamental operation of the financial market is one of cause and effect; one event or price movement will inevitably affect the prices of other assets. Whilst this is a simple enough concept, big political and social events often trigger a multiplicity of effects, which can in turn impact on one another.

For example, the recent outbreak of coronavirus is having a major impact on global supply chains; China’s productivity has been negatively affected, which has had a flow-on effect on major businesses that rely on China as part of its supply chain.

In terms of market volatility, there is a huge amount of historical evidence which shows how the coronavirus could impact asset prices. One central theme is likely to be the increase of value in ‘hard commodities’ — physical investments like gold, steel and oil. That is because these so-called safe haven assets are perceived as having global appeal and consistent demand, and therefore offer greater resilience in times of volatile trading conditions.

Never overlook the advantages of an informed strategy

I doubt you could find many long-term traders who have not woken up one morning to see that there has been a dip in the value of their investments as a result of an unforeseen geopolitical event. For those who find themselves in this situation, it can be easy to panic and make uninformed decisions. This is the entirely wrong approach to take.

By its very nature, finance is an unpredictable sphere of work, and unexpected shocks are par for the course. That’s why the strongest financial plans tend to include or account for the unforeseen. When prices dip or there is a sudden market shock, it has been for the most past accounted for and leaves little room for sudden trades that are informed by the heart, not the mind.

Remember to diversify (within limit)

Another way of managing market volatility is ensuring your portfolio is diverse, with investments spread across multiple markets. Doing so reduces your portfolio’s risk of suffering significant loses should one particular market or sector be adversely affected by an unexpected event. However, the key to diversification is not to cast your net too wide.

The broad points that need internalising here can be surmised very briefly: knowledge is power.

Mastering the complex nature of different financial markets is not simply about watching the fluctuating prices of assets. It’s also about understanding the historical performance of different markets, analysing previous trends and using all this as a guide to manage your investments during sudden political and economic shocks.

What’s more, any investment decision or trade needs to be part of a bigger strategy with goals, returns and risk exposure all clearly defined. Doing this ensures that investors and traders are in the position to stay on top of their financial portfolio.

High Risk Investment Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. For more information please refer to HYCM’s Risk Disclosure.

Giles Coghlan is Chief Currency Analyst at HYCM – an online provider of forex and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) trading services for both retail and institutional traders. HYCM is regulated by the internationally recognized financial regulator FCA. HYCM is backed by the Henyep Capital Markets Group established in 1977 with investments in property, financial services, charity, and education. The Group via its relevant subsidiaries have representations in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Dubai, and Cyprus.

Types of Investment Banking Services and How They Can Help Your Business

Your business is going to disappear into the void if you try to expand. It’s going to vanish into the gaping maw of capitalism, shredded to microscopic pieces. The public won’t even blink.

Okay, so it won’t be that bad. But the higher on the totem pole your company tries to get, the more danger you put yourself in of entering total doom. What options can you pursue to prevent that?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re here to tell you all about the different types of investment banking services and how they can help your business! 

Are you ready? Then let’s jump right into it!

What Is An Investment Bank?

To keep it simple, investment banks are banks created for boosting the funds of organizations like corporations and divisions of the government. These banks will often be privately owned (like Citi Private Bank or Pictect) and will have whole teams of people working on a project at a time.

These banks will often serve as the go-between for your company and private investors you’re looking to get money from. Think of them like the cream holding the Oreo of your company and the investors together: they make all your negotiations and deals quicker and easier. 

The banks divide into three sections: the front (where all the direct service, advising and investing happens), the middle (the research/IT guys), and the back (HR, day-to-day organization, etc).  You will be dealing with the “front” most of the time, but it’s important to know the other parts in case you require their services.

Investment banks break down into three types: elite boutique, middle-market, and bulge bracket. Bulge bracket banks are the “big dogs” of the banking sphere: they handle operations all over the world, and they tend to lean toward investments in the billions. Middle-market is a smaller-scale version of bulge bracket: they work globally too, but opt for lower-end investments. 

Finally, elite boutique banks are the regional variants of the bulge bracket banks. They handle big-scale investments but focused on a specific area with a smaller staff. There are extra variants of boutique banks that keep the regional focus but handle more reasonably-sized investments.

So what can these banks do for you?

The Different Types Of Investment Banking Services

One of the major services investment banks will offer you is underwriting. Underwriting is an agreement where someone can take on some of the risks (financially speaking) of a company or policy. In exchange, they take a flat sum upfront.

In this case, the bank won’t need to find a third party to finance the agreement: they’ll do it themselves. Bankers at these companies will buy your stock and then attempt to market it off to other investors, or skip the buying step and be your very own salesmen.

This can also have the effect of increasing the chance that investors will get in on your business, as the bank taking stock shows them you have some credibility to your name.

Skipping the buying step is less common than you may think, however: the bankers get no flat sum if they don’t buy, meaning their income relies on how much of your stock they sell. So unless they want to go broke, they’ve got some motivation to fight like hell for your business. 

Another service investment banks will offer you is matching you up with investors. The process will entail you and the bank working together to find tiny groups of investors that you can privately sell your stock or securities to. If you’re not looking to go all in on public stock, this may be the option for you.

Public Stock And Other Investment Banking Services

Investment banks are tailor-made to help you with getting your IPO (initial public offering) off the ground. They can do everything from advising you on the right price to debut your public shares at to helping first-time business owners navigate the paperwork and legalese-filled world of the stock market.

If public shares aren’t your speed, or you’ve already gone down that route, investment banks can also advise you on any mergers or acquisitions your company is undertaking. This “division” of investment banking splits into two sections: the buyers and the sellers.

Both divisions will look at their respective companies’ finances and tell them if the merger is a good idea, in addition to creating a basic plan and price for both companies to go off of. They’ll even assist at discussions if you need them to, helping to keep the process smooth and civil.

These negotiations will also be determined via the “type” of bank you’re in: higher investment talks will need to go to bigger banks.

Before You Start Investment Banking

Despite all the services they offer, investment banks can be very costly, so it’s important to do your research before you hop on board. Try to pay attention to global or national events and how they could affect the market: recently, investment bankers have jumped ship on deals or stocks in China due to the Coronavirus.  

Another factor to consider is the power you are handing the bank over your company. This is more important if you take the route of investment bankers buying shares in your company. They will have your best financial interest in mind, but if you pride complete freedom and autonomy in running your business, it will be something you should think about first.

Taking Your Next Steps In The Banking World

Congrats! You are now equipped with the basic knowledge you need to test all the types of investment banking services and have an estimate as to whether it’s right for you!

If you have more questions about investment banking or more happening in the wide world of finance, check out some of the other posts on our blog!

So until next time, play it smart and keep a financial eye out: if you play your cards right in investment banks, you could be the next big business juggernaut.

Coronavirus: investors should avoid knee-jerk reactions

Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently – but most investors should avoid knee-jerk reactions, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

Nigel Green, deVere Group chief executive and founder, is speaking out as global stock markets are rattled on fears of the potentially deadly Sars-like virus triggering major sell-offs.

The death toll has now risen to 81 and almost 3,000 people have been confirmed as infected, with 44 cases having been detected outside China, where it originated.

On Monday, the composite European Stoxx 600 fell 1.7% at the open, London’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6%, while Germany’s Dax was 1.7% lower.  The slump followed a similarly dramatic decline in Asia overnight. The Shanghai Composite fell 2.7%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 1.1%, and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 2%.

Mr Green says: “The Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently as global investors are becoming jittery on the uncertainty.

“But whilst this health crisis will inevitably hit some sectors, such as travel and retail, most investors who have a properly diversified portfolio should avoid knee-jerk reactions.  History teaches us that most issues of this kind have a short-term impact on stock markets.”

He continues: “Most investors should monitor the situation with their financial adviser and sit tight at present. But if it is still escalating next week, with much higher casualty rates, a more defensive approach might be necessary. 

“However, the cost and effort of making such a switch means you do not do it lightly, and more evidence is needed that the virus does pose a medium to long term risk to China and the global economy.”

Mr Green goes on to say: “But that said, this should serve as a wake-up call to all investors to ensure their portfolio is well-diversified across asset classes, regions, sectors, even currencies. 

“This is the best way to mitigate risks and the best way to be well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities when they occur.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Stock markets tend to bottom with the peak in new cases during a public health issue of this kind, before rebounding.

Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently – but most investors should avoid knee-jerk reactions, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

Nigel Green, deVere Group chief executive and founder, is speaking out as global stock markets are rattled on fears of the potentially deadly Sars-like virus triggering major sell-offs.

The death toll has now risen to 81 and almost 3,000 people have been confirmed as infected, with 44 cases having been detected outside China, where it originated.

On Monday, the composite European Stoxx 600 fell 1.7% at the open, London’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6%, while Germany’s Dax was 1.7% lower.  The slump followed a similarly dramatic decline in Asia overnight. The Shanghai Composite fell 2.7%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng lost 1.1%, and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 2%.

Mr Green says: “The Coronavirus is the number one threat to financial markets currently as global investors are becoming jittery on the uncertainty.

“But whilst this health crisis will inevitably hit some sectors, such as travel and retail, most investors who have a properly diversified portfolio should avoid knee-jerk reactions.  History teaches us that most issues of this kind have a short-term impact on stock markets.”

He continues: “Most investors should monitor the situation with their financial adviser and sit tight at present. But if it is still escalating next week, with much higher casualty rates, a more defensive approach might be necessary. 

“However, the cost and effort of making such a switch means you do not do it lightly, and more evidence is needed that the virus does pose a medium to long term risk to China and the global economy.”

Mr Green goes on to say: “But that said, this should serve as a wake-up call to all investors to ensure their portfolio is well-diversified across asset classes, regions, sectors, even currencies. 

“This is the best way to mitigate risks and the best way to be well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities when they occur.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Stock markets tend to bottom with the peak in new cases during a public health issue of this kind, before rebounding.

“This is a worrying and serious situation and investors must be vigilant. They should remain properly diversified and remain in the market.”

“This is a worrying and serious situation and investors must be vigilant. They should remain properly diversified and remain in the market.”

Stock Market 101: Investment Advice for Beginners

For most that do not invest in stocks, the idea of the stock market seems very risky and scary. For them, the risk appears to outweigh any potential upside. However, this is not the case!

Investment in stocks can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. This investment advice will help you start improving your investing skills today.

Stock Market 101: Investment Advice for Beginners

You may be wondering if investing is a good idea for you. Of course, it is! Every person needs to invest in order to grow their financial accounts.

Having your money tied up in traditional savings accounts alone will not do it. Not only will it provide it a low rate of return, but it probably will not even keep up with inflation.

Investment Platforms

Before we talk about the stock market in more detail, let’s talk about how you can purchase them. There are three main outlets in managing stock investments- online brokers, investment advisors, and robo-advisors.

While they are all different, one will be perfect for your personal situation and needs.

Online Brokers 

It is no surprise that many people turn to online brokers when looking to invest in the stock market. The most significant upside to online brokers is that you can handle everything entirely online. Also, you can invest in a wide variety of items.

However, online brokers are not always beginner-friendly. While they offer some investment advice, most online brokers are geared towards those with more experience and comfortable in managing their own investment portfolios.

Investment Advisors

Investment advisors are dedicated professionals that can give you personalized investment advice. These advisors work with people one-on-one and can give you direct investment advice based on your goals, timeline, and how much risk you want to take.

After discussing this with a potential investor, the investment advisor will create a diverse portfolio that is appropriate for their needs and wants. The portfolio is filled with a wide range of products.

For most beginners, it can be challenging to find an investment advisor to work with. Many advisors only work with those with an extensive portfolio or significant amount of money (starting around $250,000) available to invest.

Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are recent additions to the scene but have quickly become a popular way to invest in the stock market. Offering similar services as investment advisors, they do not require a high investment, making them within reach for all investors.

Just like traditional investment advisors, robo-advisors will evaluate your goals, needs, and tolerance to risk. They will create a personalized portfolio that will be filled with lower-cost products. This helps you save money as the fees will not be as high as other avenues.

Robo-advisors are available to investors, both new and established. No matter your income available for investing, a robo-advisor can create a portfolio for you!

Stocks

Stocks are a popular product to use when investing in the stock market. Usually, stocks highly outperform other investments and outpace inflation.

Many investors make stocks the primary investment in their portfolio. While they tend to diversify for lower risk tolerance, investors keep coming back to stocks for their high return.

So, how much of your portfolio should be stocks? For a conservative portfolio, a common rule is that the percentage of a portfolio that should be stocks is 120 minus your age. For example, if you are 40, 80% of your portfolio should be stocks. Then, when you turn 50, that number lowers to 70%.

Stocks to Invest In 

So what stocks should you invest in? As a new investor, you should focus on categories, not individual stocks. We will go over some of the standard and best stock categories to invest in as a beginning investor.

Value Stocks 

Value stocks trade at lower prices. These are usually companies that are recovering from some difficulty or had faced some legal issues. Because of this, their prices are lower than other stocks.

However, the benefit can be yours once the company recovers. Your investment in value stocks will likely outperform the stock market in general over the long term.

High Dividend Stocks 

High dividend stocks are just what their name suggests, a stock that pays out a higher dividend than the average. Since around half of the return on stocks comes from dividends, it just makes sense to invest in high dividend stocks.

These are also a great way to give a bit of protection to your portfolio. Having high dividend stocks can provide some level of protection during a downturn in the stock market.

Growth Stocks

Growth stocks are from those businesses that are growing faster than their competitors and other companies that are listed on the general stock market. Even though they traditionally do not pay dividends, the return comes from the rising stock price when help on to long-term.

Just a piece of investment advice on growth stocks: these are considered high risk. While the potential is strong for growth, they may also take significant hits when there is a downturn in the market. Just remember that these are a long-term return stock, and you should be OK.

Start Investing in Stocks 

Now that you know a little more about stocks and investing, you may wonder if you should get started. There are some steps you should take beforehand to ensure that you are ready!

First, you need to get a solid financial base. Some basics to follow includes having sufficient and stable income, an emergency fund that covers three to six months of expenses, and a track record of saving. This will help set you up for a solid beginning to your investment portfolio.

Second, you should further educate yourself about the different types of investments and products available in the stock market. Just remember to never invest in something you don’t understand. When purchasing a stock, you are actually investing in a specific business.

When investing in a business, you should educate yourself on that business and its industry as must as you possibly can.

Investment Advice

While all of this may seem overwhelming, there are many advisors and sites ready to help you with any investment advice that you need. Don’t let the fear of the stock market stop you from realizing your financial goals.

Check out our blog for more information on how to guide your investment and enhance your ROI.

Reed Smith appoints former Deutsche Bank Managing Director in London

LONDON, 7 January UK – Reed Smith today announced that Joe Kohler has joined the firm’s Financial Industry Group, marking another significant addition to its banking advisory and derivatives practice.  Kohler joins Reed Smith from Deutsche Bank, where he served as Managing Director, Legal, Corporate & Investment Banking.  In that role, he co-led the bank’s sales and trading legal function globally, with deep transactional experience across the entirety of the fixed income, currencies and commodities businesses.

Reed Smith appoints former Deutsche Bank Managing Director in London

Over the course of his 18-year career at Deutsche Bank, Kohler led the legal work on many of the largest and most important transactions the bank conducted. He managed Deutsche Bank’s legal department’s response to counterparty defaults, downgrades and worked on enforcement and asset recovery efforts during the credit crisis of 2008. He also worked on the building of the first OTC derivative clearing offerings, on the development of the related market infrastructure and contributed to trade association efforts to standardise the related documents. He then helped shape the bank’s response to new regulatory developments such as EMIR, MiFID II, the collateralisation of uncleared derivatives, Brexit and IBOR reform.  Furthermore, he also has extensive experience of merger and acquisition activity in the financial sector, having led on the acquisition and disposal of many businesses and portfolios.

Kohler has led large teams on strategically critical projects within Deutsche Bank and brings to Reed Smith a deep understanding of the inner workings of the legal department within a global investment bank.  Given his sophisticated knowledge of structured finance and products, expertise across industry asset classes, and litigation and regulatory enforcement experience, and in-house familiarity, Kohler is well placed to add to Reed Smith’s bench strength providing strategic advice to banking clients on these transactions.

“Joe’s arrival adds to the bench strength of the firm’s highly regarded banking advisory and derivatives practice,” said Ed Estrada, global chair of Reed Smith’s Financial Industry Group.  “Joe is immensely respected and regarded within Deutsche Bank and throughout the investment bank community, and his reputation for providing steady and sound leadership on complex transaction and litigation matters as in-house counsel is an invaluable asset that our clients will certainly benefit from.  We are excited to have him join our team.” 

Kohler said, “As an in-house counsel, I wanted the law firms my team instructed to add something to secure a better solution than we could deliver on our own – perhaps insight, experience or capability. I was always reassured when we selected Reed Smith, because they always delivered what we had been looking for, and did so efficiently and with a profound understanding of the commercial context.  I am really excited to be joining Reed Smith’s highly impressive team.”

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. Our belief is that by delivering smarter and more creative legal services, we will not only enrich our clients’ experiences with us, but also support them in achieving their business goals.

Our long-standing relationships, international outlook, and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for the speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters.

For further information, please visit reedsmith.com.

What Is Investment Banking? (And the Top Investment Banks Out There)

Investment banking plays a key role in global economics. For instance, as of July 2019, JP Morgan constituted 9.0% of the global investment banking revenue. However, for the majority of us, investment banking is a mystery.

By learning about investment banking today, you’ll be ready to make informed choices if you want to improve your financial situation through IPO investing.

Read on as we answer the question: “What is investment banking?” 

What is Investment Banking? 

The duties of investment banks are completely different than traditional banking. While the traditional banks we’re used to visiting take in deposits from consumers and businesses and lend out money, investment banks sell securities. They also help finance large projects that traditional banking won’t touch due to the high risks involved.

Robert Johnson, Professor of finance at Heider College of Business, Brighton University, puts it simply. “Investment banking is a method of controlling the flow of money.” With the huge amounts of money at stake, investment banks have a key role in American economics. 

The projects they finance include: 

Large Financial Projects

Projects such as constructing infrastructure need large amounts of upfront cash. Investment banks are able to accumulate this cash by selling securities to investors. 

Company Sales

Instead of acquiring loans to gain capital, entrepreneurs who want to expand their companies sell portions of their companies to the public, or an initial public offering (IPO). Investment bankers are integral to this process, and it’s one of their most important functions. They find investors looking to buy and companies looking to sell.

Initial public offerings are risky investments – there’s no guarantee that they’ll increase in value, though some IPOs are wildly successful. However, if you’re ready to invest in an IPO, you can do so by opening a brokerage account. 

Typically, the IPO price is fixed for a limited group of investors who fit the eligibility requirements. For most investors, the price of the IPO will be higher once it begins officially trading. 

According to the investment bank UBS, out of 7,000 companies between 1975 and 2011, 60% had negative total returns after five years of public trading. Do your research, buy conservatively, and keep a balanced portfolio to mitigate your risks!

Mergers and Acquisitions

Another way that companies can expand is through mergers and acquisitions. Investment bankers will help companies buy another, which can be more cost-effective than trying to compete. 

Despite the risks, buying companies still has a lot of benefits. A company may want access to international markets through a company that’s already established in another region. A larger company may be interested in a smaller company’s technology. They may also want to integrate vertically, such as buying a supplier of materials they need. 

Asset Management and Brokerage Services

Investment bankers help clients manage their money and generate returns. They do this by choosing individual stocks or putting their money into mutual funds. 

The Top Investment Banks

These top investment banks were able to maintain and grow their market positions throughout volatile years. In terms of investment revenue, the top investment banks include: 

1. Goldman Sachs

Headquartered at 200 West Street, New York City, Goldman Sachs operates branches throughout the world in all major financial centres. In 2018, its investment banking revenue was $7.86 billion. In 2019, they had a market capitalization of $78 billion. 

2. JP Morgan

JP Morgan is the second largest investment bank in the world. In 2018, it reported $7 billion in revenue. It’s also one of the oldest financial institutions in the world with a history that goes back to 1799.

3. Bank of America

In 2019, Bank of America rebranded its investment arm to Bank of America Securities. In 2018, it’s investment banking revenue was $5.3 billion. 

4. Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is based in New York with branches in 40 different countries. In 2018, it’s totally investment banking revenues were $6.1 billion. 

5. Citigroup

Also located in New York, Citigroup Inc. had reported total revenue of $72.9 billion in 2018. It’s one of the big four banks in the United States and the third-largest bank in the world. 

6. Barclays 

Barclays Investment Bank, the investment arm of Barclays, is headquartered in London and has branches in 30 different countries. Its global investment banking fee share is approximately 4.2%. 

7. Credit Suisse

In 2018, Credit Suisse reported a net income of $1.8 billion, attributable to shareholders in the United States. Based in Zurich and established in 1856, it has branches in 50 countries. 

8. Deutsche Bank

This is the leading financial institution in Germany and one of the largest investment banks in Europe. It has about $2.5 billion in investment banking revenue and a market capitalization of $15 billion in 2019. It has branches in 60 other countries.

9. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo offers banking and investment services in 40 countries. As of 2018, it’s generated investment banking fees are $1.8 billion.

10. Jefferies Financial Group

This full-service investment bank founded in 1962 is based in New York with regional offices in London and Hong Kong. It also has offices in 30 cities throughout America, Europe, and Asia. In 2018 its investment banking revenues were $1.9 billion.

Demystifying Investment Banking

If you’ve ever asked yourself what is investment banking, you should now understand the basic premise. Investment banking is all about the flow of large amounts of money from one institution to another, and through research, analysis, and recommendations, investment bankers try to find the best deals for their clients. 

Want to read more about the state of investment banking today in the global economy? Keep reading our banking section for more informative articles. 

Deutsche Bank Near Bankruptcy, Could Retail Boss Save It?

The giant Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy, and, according to the Financial Times, the only way to save it would be if its retail boss, Manfred Knof, could extract €1.4bn in annual cost savings and increase revenues.

The giant Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy, and, according to the Financial Times, the only way to save it would be if its retail boss, Manfred Knof, could extract €1.4bn in annual cost savings and increase revenues.

When did it all start?

That the Deutsche Bank is near bankruptcy is now news at all. The rumors started back in 2013 when the investment bank recognized the need for capital. To obtain those funds, they sold shares worth 4,500 euros. But that wasn´t enough and, shortly after that, they offered more shared with a 30% discount. This measure, of course, enraged those who had bought shares before.

Two years after those events, it was pretty clear that the Deutsche Bank lacked money, and it faced a net loss of almost 7,000 million euros, something that hadn´t happened since the 2008 crisis.

What put the Deutsche Bank in this situation?

According to the Professor of Economics and Law William Black, what put the Deutsche Bank near bankruptcy were the mistakes and financial crimes. He literally claimed in March 2018, that the Deutsche Bank (DB) was the “largest criminal enterprise in Germany.”

Professor’s Black words caused a huge impact, and many wouldn´t take his words seriously. However, in mid-October 2019, Chicago Federal Judge John Tharp ruled that ex-DB traders can be prosecuted for alleged “spoofing,” under the wire fraud statute. This decision will enable criminal cases against two former Deutsche Bank metal traders, accusing them of spoofing trades. Allegedly, the two men had been manipulating precious metals markets from 2009 to 2011.

Seeking solutions

In the beginning, the solution to save the Deutsche Bank, the possibility of merging it with the Commerzbank, was considered. Yet, as this other German bank had enough problems on its own, German regulators discarded the possibility since merging two entities, both with huge losses, would worsen the scenario.

Drastic measures to deal with Deutsche Bank near bankruptcy

High hopes were put into the “ruthless” retail boss Manfred Knof management, who is determined to deliver results. The recently announced decisions reducing the Executive Council, performing a rigorous restructure of the investment bank, and cutting down 18,000 job positions up to 2022, are part of the strategy of reducing costs and focusing on the activities of corporate banking, financing, currency exchange, private banking, and asset management.

Regarding most cuts, Deutsche Bank has said that most of them will affect back-office staff and support roles, located in places as distant as Florida, India, the Philippines, and Germany. This massive job cuts raised uncertainty and anxiety in all its employees, although in October 8, 2019, it was announced that the Deutsche Bank had no plans to perform further job cuts.

There´s no doubt those new and drastic measures are being taken trying to maintain the giant Deutsche Bank alive – which rather than near bankruptcy seemed to be standing at the edge of the deepest of the cliffs. Will the efforts be enough? Will “Ruthless Knof” save the monster from extinction?

Could cryptocurrency be the saviour? See also about Vatican facing bankruptcy.