The Financial Times: The charges laid against us

The following is an excerpt from John Kay’s new book ‘The Long and the Short of It: Finance and Investment for Normally Intelligent People who are not in the Industry’ as published in the Financial Times Personal Finance section:

… So the least risky way to increase returns from investments is to minimise agency costs – to ensure that the return on the underlying investments goes into your pocket rather than someone else’s.

The effect of these costs on returns depends on the frequency with which you deal. Online trading is so inexpensive and easy that you may be tempted to trade often. But only one thing eats up investment returns faster than fees and commissions, and that is frequent trading. Do not succumb. Do not accept the invitation to subscribe to level two platforms or direct market access. The total costs of running your own portfolio should be less than 1 per cent per year.

… The most attractive equity-based funds for small investors are generally indexed funds, exchange traded funds, and investment trusts (closed-end funds) with low charges and significant discounts to underlying assets. These funds provide more than sufficient choice for normal purposes. All of them can be accessed through your online execution-only share-dealing account.

John Kay is one of Britain’s leading economists, he publishes a weekly column in the Financial Times

Mark OByrne