Real Asset Investments
Real Assets include direct investments and collective investment schemes that invest in land, real estate, personal property and collectibles. They represent opportunities to find additional sources of yield and to diversify away from mainstream bonds and equities.
However, their diversification benefits come at a price. They are less well covered by the analyst community and often operate in unregulated corners of the market. Underlying investments can be hard to value, esoteric business models can be hard to assess and lower levels of scrutiny can mean that poor quality investments can find their way into consumer portfolios. Long investment time frames and illiquidity can compound these risks.
Therefore advisers operating in this space need to be cautious and to make sure that they are well informed and have the most up-to-date sources of information on their side. Forewarned is forearmed!
We have the most comprehensive register of real asset based investment products and are the only accredited provider of reports and training for advisers in the sector. By utilising our investment register, reports, analysis and tools, advisers can navigate the real assets market with confidence.
Tax Efficient Investments
With tighter limits on annual and lifetime pension allowances, a freeze on the IHT threshold until 2019 and a growing awareness of the need to diversify away from the public markets, increasing numbers of investors and advisers are looking at tax efficient investment options like VCT and EIS.
However, the investment process can be complex and the underlying assets can be difficult to assess – they are often unquoted or can only be accessed through investment managers who may be reluctant to disclose their performance track records. Getting your arms around the sector and evidencing whole-of-market knowledge is an additional challenge over and above learning about the intricacies of claiming the reliefs or identifying suitable clients.
Our reports, articles and training will help advisers and wealth managers get a head start when it comes to tax efficient investments, while also giving some ideas for best practice in this space.
Alternative Finance Investments
The alternative finance sector has grown rapidly from small beginnings over the last few years. Using the scalability, peer to peer capabilities and social nature of the web, some commentators feel alternative finance platforms will challenge financial services in the way that Amazon, E-Bay and i-Tunes challenged incumbents in their industries.
Whether the financial services behemoth can be toppled so easily remains to be seen, but what is certain is that this is now a new and investible asset class that many consumers are interested in. It offers a cheaper way to access both debt and equity type investments with very low entry levels. It is an asset class that it is here to stay and it will be increasingly important for advisers to be able to discuss this confidently with their clients.
The information and articles that we have gathered together on this site will help advisers get up to speed on the sector, giving them insights into how it might affect them and helping them see how it can be used successfully in client portfolios.
Social Impact Investments
Social Impact Investments have been around for a number of years, although have often been overlooked in favour of more traditional investment strategies. Investments focus on helping local communities, reducing carbon emissions or supporting projects based on ethical criteria – but returns can sometimes be secondary.
But now this concept is becoming far more mainstream. The rise of alternative finance, use of the internet and with investors becoming ever more environmentally conscious, there is a constant and growing stream of investments seeking new capital for positive social and environmental projects – whilst also targeting solid financial returns.
Renewable energy projects at local schools or which directly benefit local communities for example allow investors to pick and choose exactly who their money benefits. They can actually see their investment at work, and in some cases could directly benefit from the output – think lower pollution, cleaner air and less reliance on fossil fuels. Cheaper electricity for local schools will allow the money saved to be utilised elsewhere to best benefit students. These opportunities can be particularly engaging for clients and advisers, providing an opportunity to give something back to the local community.
Putting the social, environmental and ethical benefits to one side, investments are based on solid fundamentals and provide long-term, market level returns – they have a role to play in financial planning and provide important stability and diversification from mainstream financial products.