How should I take control of my investments?

Often the best ways to take control of your investments can be to bring everything under one roof. Here are nine reasons why you should consider doing this.

1. To streamline your paperwork

Investment and pension providers have to provide you with a statement on at least an annual basis. If not filed efficiently, this can lead to confusion and lots of paperwork, which you don’t know whether to keep or destroy.

Sometimes they don’t even carry your correct details and oftentimes they come at different times of the year, making it difficult to keep track of where you are up to.

Aggregating all of your investments on to one platform keeps administration to a minimum: you are only dealing with one provider and one point of contact.

2. You could forget where some of your money is

It might seem unlikely that you’d simply forget about thousands of pounds of your own money. Yet there are billions of pounds sitting around in unclaimed and forgotten investments in the UK.

If we move your portfolio into one place, we research whether you have lost track of any funds.

3. To reduce costs

It can be difficult to keep on top of the various costs that you pay to run your portfolio. Fund management fees, tax wrapper fees, platform costs and adviser fees are just some of the costs involved.

These investment costs are a drag on the performance of your portfolio. Many older plans may have charges that were legitimate when you took them out, but are not commonplace now.

Consolidating your investments allows us to contrast and compare the numerous fees, costs and charges that you are currently paying with the systems and fee structures that are available now.

4. To ensure consistent investment policies

Over the years you have collected numerous investments that may have been a good idea at the time, but – when viewed as a whole – represent a confused mix of assets that overlap or clash within the overall structure.

Modern systems allow us to work with you to select an overall investment policy based on your long-term needs, risk profile, time-frame and experience. We can then replicate this across the different investments you have, whether unit trusts, ISAs, investment bonds, pensions and so on.

This approach ensures that you have the same investment policy applied to all and that your risk is now managed professionally.

5. To reduce risk

Your risk tolerance can change over time and the risk involved with some investments that you took out a number of years ago may not be appropriate for you now.

By consolidating your investments, you can discuss and establish your long-term financial goals, along with your tolerance for risk, and ensure that all of your investments fit your risk profile.

6. To manage your portfolio more effectively

Once the risk of your portfolio is agreed and adopted, it is vital to manage this to ensure that it does not drift off course.

Rising equity markets can cause portfolios to become riskier over time. Regular rebalancing allows you to manage this risk and ensure that your portfolio stays on track to deliver your goals.

Having all of your investments under one roof makes it easier to use ISA and pension allowances each tax year, as we know where everything is and can ensure that your available tax allowances aren’t missed or exceeded.

7. To gain choice

Historic investments are often made with companies with a very limited choice of fund options. Perhaps, as is frequently the case, you have opted or defaulted into a type of fund that is no longer suitable for your circumstances.

Modern systems give you access to thousands of different funds that enable you to build the right long-term portfolio for you.

8. To diversify

Your portfolio – by design or accident – may have been concentrated in certain areas. These may not reflect the global nature of investing today.

As an example, many people have too much of their portfolio invested in the UK. You now have access to thousands of different investments across global markets, sectors and economies, which allows you to truly diversify your portfolio and significantly reduce risk.

By consolidating your investments, you can ensure that you are properly diversified.

9. To enjoy online access

Many investment providers have been slow to offer internet access to their clients. Many still do not offer this. This means that a whole year can pass before you know how some of your investments are performing.

This is not good enough. Using modern platforms, you can gain online access to your portfolio, allowing you to see how your investments are performing whenever you want to.

A word of caution

Here are some things to consider before you decide to consolidate.

  • Transferring certain investments could have downsides, such as exit charges that offset the savings from moving or the loss of valuable benefits
  • This is why regulated advice is highly recommended to understand the best way forward: it may be that you are better as you are
  • If you do keep several investments open it’s essential to keep track of them: notify the various providers of any change of address and check statements regularly for any possible issues such as charge increases or fund closures