U and your money
Global Challenges Bring Investment Opportunities
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, events in another country or region can have an impact on your investments even if they occur halfway across the globe. The result is that investors have become jittery in the face of increased global risks. Those who continue to invest appear to have become much more risk averse and weigh their investment options much more carefully.
This level of trepidation is not unreasonable when one observes, for example, that anxieties about Europe continue to dominate world financial headlines. Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have warned that the Eurozone crisis poses downside risks to an already weak global economy. Other events such as the disclosure of an interest rate-rigging scandal that spanned more than a dozen major banks across the world, the civil conflict in Sryia and even flooding in Japan can have a ripple effect on global financial markets, and ultimately investors.
Given the global scenario, why should people continue to be interested in investing? Alternatively, what does the average investor need to know in these challenging times of slow, global economic growth? In scanning the horizon, some pertinent questions arise: Do I continue to explore investment opportunities or do I retreat from the financial markets? How can I capitalize on an environment where economic and financial activity has waned?
Warren Buffet, billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc and widely-acclaimed investment guru, has often said, "Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy". There is also another saying, "There are more millionaires created during a recession than any other time". Both these statements are essentially the same: investors can capitalize on opportunities that are presented in a period of contraction to generate long-term sustainable wealth.
The key to global investing is to ensure that your portfolio is well diversified and one avenue is through a mutual fund, which typically involves building a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds and cash or short term deposits. Such asset class diversification allows investors to limit their risks by reducing the effect of a possible decline in the value of one any asset class or security, so if one asset class or security underperforms the others can offset the impact.
Investors should consider regularly adjusting their investments in order to keep to the desired allocation between stocks, bonds and cash. In the long run, it is difficult for investors to forecast market moves, hence, investors should spread their eggs among many baskets and remember that drastically altering their portfolio too often can bring negative results.
Diversification involves not only investing in equities but also fixed income instruments : Treasury Bills (T-Bills) and high-quality bonds via bond or income mutual funds, such as the UTC's Global Bond Fund and UTC's US$ Income Fund. While T-Bills can help weather financial storms and buffer against volatile markets, a bond fund such as UTC's Global Bond Fund can generate a relatively high level of income as well as potential for capital appreciation. Such a bond fund is an efficient means of achieving global reach for an investment portfolio.
The mix of fixed income and stocks, however, depends on how much risk the investor is comfortable with. Those with a higher risk tolerance generally tend to allocate a greater portion of investment portfolio to stocks. From an investment standpoint, nonetheless, having some cash readily available, allows the investor the opportunity to ride out volatility in the financial markets or take advantage of buying opportunities as they occur.
Investors should also keep their eyes on developing countries or emerging markets, which are anticipated to drive global growth going forward. Emerging economies are expected to grow two to three times faster than developed nations like the US, according to IMF estimates. By investing in different regions around the world, investors would be able to gain exposure to emerging economies that are experiencing growth.
The UTC provides investors with the opportunity to exploit emerging market opportunities through its International Suite of Funds, which includes the Latin American Fund and the Asia Pacific Fund. These are designed to provide diversification to an investor's portfolio and offer potential for long term investment growth. Investors can be guided by UTC's asset management experts on how to allocate their assets in line with the level of risk they are willing to take.
The investment professionals at the UTC are well aware of the various stages of the economic cycles and seek to capitalize on opportunities that arise as well as implement techniques to mitigate risks. The objective of our portfolio managers is to help investors enhance the performance of their investment portfolio and to identify ways for them to continue to save effectively and generate wealth.