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Money: Five of the smartest investment brains on their best money-making ventures

PUTTING your hard-earned money into investments can be daunting to start with, but when you get it right the rewards are amazing. Here, five experts talk about the best investment moves they’ve made, as well as the lessons they have learned along the way. From making simple phone calls to buying shares in things you love, here are some of the ways you can learn from what they’ve done.

Faith Archer

Founder of Much More With Less

Faith is a money blogger and mum of two. Four years ago, her family swapped London for Suffolk, and she started to write about how to live on less and make the most of what she has. She’s also a passionate advocate of women taking charge of their own investments.

My best investment move

My best investment has more than doubled my money in less than three years. It’s all thanks to a fund called Scottish Mortgage, which sounds staid, but is actually rather racy.

It’s is a kind of fund called an investment trust, where a professional fund manager picks and chooses what to buy, so I don’t have to.

It invests all over the world, including technology businesses such as Amazon and Netflix, the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and innovators like Tesla. I bunged £7,100 into Scottish Mortgage back in September 2015, when I finally got fed up with rock bottom interest rates on my savings account, and it has shot up to £15,133.

The charges are only 0.37 per cent a year, which is cheap for a fund that isn’t run by a computer.

Lessons I’ve learned

Don’t take more risk than you’re comfortable with

I’m not sure if I could sleep at night if all my money was staked on risky high-tech businesses, so I’ve steady investments closer to home, like the City of London Investment Trust.

Don’t panic about short-term dips

I’m investing for a long time, a good few decades until retirement and afterwards. When the stock market plunged after the Brexit vote I didn’t check my balance, but just gritted my teeth and hoped the value would come back up afterwards.

Are you on top of your investments? Checking the smallprint could make you thousands

Magnus Wheatley

Managing director of investment platform Charles Stanley Direct

A former yachting correspondent for the Financial Times, Magnus now runs Charles Stanley direct, which offers investment services directly to clients. Despite decades of expertise in stocks and shares, he says that his best investment came about because he couldn’t afford to buy the car that he loved.

My best investment move

My best investment decision in the stock market was buying Ferrari (RACE) shares on the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the IPO [Initial Public Offering, where the shares are listed]. I love the brand but realised that I will probably never have enough money to buy one of their cars.

Buying the shares was the next best thing and they have risen from around $40 to a high of $149 in just over a year. What a ride! My wife trumps me, though, as she bought Ocado shares so my gloating days are over. Ocado shares have risen from around £2.50 a share to well over £10 in a year, as the online grocer joined the FTSE 100.

Lessons I’ve learned

Don’t get involved in spread betting

The biggest trading lesson I learnt was in the money markets as a trainee back in the early 1990s when my team convinced me to do a spread bet on Bernhard Langer making the cut in a major golf championship. He hadn’t missed one in years, but the bet failed and I ended up losing everything and had to borrow money to survive that month. I have never done a spread bet since and never will.

Don’t consider what might have been

Cut losses quickly and take profits at levels you are happy with, irrespective of where the market then goes.

Maike Currie

Investment director for Fidelity International

The investment director and former FT journalist has written a book entitled The Search For Income. Her instinct to back investments in less developed nations, known as emerging markets, has paid off handsomely.

My best investment move

My best investment decision was investing in an emerging market fund just as the markets were being hit hard by the financial crisis and having the conviction to stick with it.

While investing in emerging markets is not for the faint-hearted, especially when markets are selling off, if you had taken the plunge and were able to find yourself an experienced manager who has been able to navigate this notoriously tumultuous market, then you will have enjoyed some very handsome returns since the credit crunch.

Lessons I’ve learned

Returns, ignorance and fads

Leaving my money lingering in a cash ISA paying a paltry return for too long, investing in a company I knew very little about, and chasing the latest fund fad have all been costly mistakes.

Invest regularly

My experience has taught me the benefits of starting early, setting up a regular investment plan and having the focus and discipline to keep investing over the long term — irrespective of the market noise.

These are perhaps the most important lessons any investor can learn and something I urge our clients to do. A combination of time and a disciplined investment approach, means your money will benefit from the magical power of compounding, which can help turbo-charge your returns over the long term.

Top tips: Maikie Currie, left, Michael Martin and Holly Mackay

Michael Martin

Relationship Manager, Seven Investment Management (7IM)

Michael specialises in advising partners in law and accountancy firms on their private affairs, and holds a diploma in financial planning. Despite 20 years in the industry, his best investment involved one simple letter.

My best investment move

My first job was as a project manager for a well-known insurance company.

I had worked for them throughout my university vacations, then joined as a temp, then full-time member of staff. When I left, I had only been a full- time member of staff for 19 months. As this was lower than the two-year qualifying period, I was told I had no pension.

So, my investment decision was to write to the trustees of the pension and ask if they could honour the time I’d worked as a temp as part of my service. I knew my total service was a fraction over two years. They agreed and I now have a deferred final salary pension. I asked for a transfer value a couple of years ago, it was worth £35,000. This is far more than I earned in those two, hedonistic years after I left university. I made this money from knowing a technicality and writing a letter.

Lessons I’ve learned

You will never know if you don’t ask

If you think you are entitled to something, it is worth checking.Technical knowledge is very useful. I gained £35,000 from nothing.

Holly Mackay

Founder, Boring Money

Holly is the founder of consumer advice site Boring Money. She has been working in finance for nearly 20 years, holding senior roles at Merrill Lynch and Santander before founding her first business The Platforum, in 2008. She sold the business to Centaur Media and left in 2014, launching Boring Money in July 2015.

My best investment move

There are two. The first was my first business, which I funded and sold after three years. I was very naïve and learnt on my feet as it all unfolded. The second is a traditional investment, a fund. I’ve held the Lindsell Train Global Equity fund for about five years and it’s gone up by about 150 per cent. I like it because it’s simple. They hold 29 good consumer brands from around the world with strong market positions, such as Unilever, Heineken and Nintendo, and don’t fiddle with it.

Lessons I’ve learned

Don’t be greedy

I got massively burned in the dot.com bubble in the 2000s because I was being greedy and buying ridiculous companies, which did nothing so unfashionable as actually making money!

Don’t invest in things that you don’t understand

Good investing should be boring. I invest in strong companies, which make things that people want, and can charge more than it costs them to make them. If I couldn’t explain an investment to my kids, I don’t touch it and am happy to leave crypto-currencies and derivatives and other mumbo-jumbo to those who think they are smarter than I.

Don’t fiddle with your investments

The other thing is not to fiddle.

Market crashes and corrections are not unlucky, they’re part of the deal, like a teenager’s moods. Invest for the long-term. Don’t try to be flash. Buy solid companies.