Some retail investors are beginning to lose patience with their fund managers, according to new research from the Financial Times.
Neil Woodford and Daniel Godfrey – a star asset manager and head of the UK asset management trade body, respectively – have tried to emphasise that their current retail portfolio funds will work for long-term, patient investors.
However, more evidence has appeared that current investors are showing little tolerance for underperforming funds. Consumers are taking a different view to those of their managers.
Recent statistics showed that the average time for an investor holding a fund dropped from six years to four in the ten years between 2005 and 2015.
A number of possible reasons have been cited for this, with one being technology. The Investment Association noted that with investors able to change their funds online – usually at no cost – it was no surprise that holding periods were “not aligned” with the way the industry would like them to be.
Holly Mackay, who is the founder of the online finance website Boring Money, noted that the standard industry practice of “lecturing” and “telling people off” for taking a short-term approach is not proving effective anymore, and that consumers are happy to be more pro-active in managing their portfolios.
DIY investing has become more and more common online, and it has become easy for consumers to “tinker” with their stocks. It’s no surprise that investors are taking advantage of the technology, of course, given that even industry experts hold differing opinions on how long underperforming funds should be held for.
Ben Yearsley, director at Shore Financial Planning, highlighted that understanding “what a fund does” was key to making an educated decision on how long to hold it.
Jason Hollands, managing director for wealth manager Tilney, holds the view that one underperforming year is no grounds for changing a fund, and that even two years is not necessarily a sign that a fund needs to be “robotically” ditched. He also observed that no manager should be “hauled over the coals” after a poor year if their performance has otherwise been largely positive.
Some experts hold a more hard-and-fast view. Hargreaves Lansdown, currently the largest retail broker in the UK, suggest that their customers hold their funds for at least five years. What’s more, they believe that five years is actually the “bare minimum” and that ideally, funds should be held for at least a decade.