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Selftrade investor Bob's story

We caught up with...

Selftrade investor Bob, who shared what has been his best and worst investment decision to date and how he went about researching where to start.

These are Bob's personal opinions and not advice from Selftrade.

What motivated you to start investing?

When I was growing up, I was always told to ‘save for the future’ and that is what pushed me to start with. When I was about 18, my father died of lung cancer, and I saw my mother go through some tough times financially – my father left behind a bit of insurance, which paid off the mortgage, and there was a small pension, but she had to get back to work to maintain some financial security.  So, that’s what motivated me to start investing.


What was your level of investing knowledge/experience like before you started?

My level of knowledge was low because I had just left sixth form, so it wasn’t until I started working as a bank clerk that my knowledge on finances and investing really began to develop.  


How did you go about researching where to start?

I had to do the banking exams at that time so that taught me a lot but there was no internet at that time which meant reading books, asking seniors at work, and looking at other real life examples. I was fortunate enough to see how customers at the bank were investing so I learnt a lot from them.


What was your first investment?

I took out a small prudential policy, which was my first step into the world of investing. I think I was about 19 at the time but held on to it for good few years. It was one of those old industrial policies, which they used to sell door-to-door.


What has been your best investment decision to date?

Having an excellent IFA has been a great help. Whereas I know quite a lot as a generalist, he knows a huge amount as a specialist and he’s never let me down.

Another good decision has been sticking to holdings of shares in blue chip companies and not then changing them on a whim all the time.


What has been your worst? And why?

That’s an easy one - I was in my mid-20s and I was working in the Financial Services. After some research a few friends and I thought we had spotted the possibility that a company was going to merge with another. So, all of us chipped in a bought a load of shares each and of course, the merger never happened, the shares went down the pan and we all lost a load of money, which at the age of 25 was a major blow.


What are the biggest lessons you have learned?

Don’t follow the herd and make your own mind up for the right reasons. The old saying ‘it’s not timing the market but time in the market’ that gives you the best investment decisions really rings true for me.  

Keep your nerve and have a broad mix of investments.


What does your portfolio currently look like?

I’ve got some stand alone blue chip shares which I manage myself through Selftrade, things like Unilever and Lloyds Bank. As I’m retired now, I have quite a lot of cash in profit bonds with Prudential because they’re safe and secure and give a very good income.

I have a lot invested via Old Mutual that varies from gold stocks to technology stocks from America to Japan and they are all in tax efficient wrappers as much as possible.


Thinking about your investment journey so far - where do you see it heading over the next 10 years?  

I don’t see any significant changes I’m going to make to the portfolio. The mix will change, a few will come in, a few will go out but the rationale won’t change dramatically.


What made you choose Selftrade for your investments?

I find it very easy to use, good price, they have very good advice sections to get knowledge about different stocks, I find dealing with them fast and efficient.

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