Are you on your best investor behaviour?
In uncertain times, where we’ve witnessed periods of stock market volatility, it’s easy to let emotions influence investment decisions, but a good strategy for investors to adopt is not to react hastily. Human instinct is to be responsive, so traversing these behavioural biases can be challenging, but once mastered, resisting the urge to flight can be rewarding.
Unlike prehistoric times, when the fight or flight reaction meant the difference between life and death in the face of a carnivorous dinosaur on the prowl, survival depended on quick pattern recognition and decisive action. As an investor, controlling these hard-wired behavioural biases and learning to resist the urge to panic, can bear fruit.
Take stock market volatility in March this year as an example. Retail investors sold investment funds worth £10bn in just one month3, with many selling just as the stock market was falling to its lowest level in eight years. In doing so, they missed out on the subsequent market bounce of almost 30%. If hindsight is a marvellous thing, by its very definition, foresight is insight gained by looking forward. In other words, when it comes to investing, look forward, because markets tend to bounce back over time, though it can’t be guaranteed.
A number of factors lead people to respond differently to market occurrences – what your objectives are, your risk tolerance, beliefs, preferences, emotions and past experiences, can all result in different investor behaviour. One event, such as a market fall, can lead to different behaviours; ceasing investing until markets stabilise, selling in case it’s the beginning of a market downturn, or contrarian investors may see the correction as an opportunity to invest. Some beliefs could lead to successful investment outcomes, others could result in behavioural biases that are counterproductive and endanger the prospect of successfully achieving your objectives.
Managing behavioural biases
As humans, we all suffer from some biases. The best defence mechanism to safeguard from knee-jerk reactions and defend against the influence of your biases, is to follow a robust, objective and disciplined process, and that’s where we come in. In addition to having a well-thought-out investment process, investing with a clear idea of what you want to achieve, will determine how we structure your investments. Whether you are building your retirement nest egg or a fund to put children through university, you have a better chance of achieving your goals if they are used to frame all investment decision-making.
You can rely on us; we take the time to understand your objectives, apply a rigorous investment process and advise you on the investment strategies and products most appropriate for you.
3The Investment Association, 2020
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