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Where the experts have invested their ISA money

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30/03/2020
Looking for inspiration for your ISA allowance? Three experts reveal where they’ve invested their money and why.

Every tax year – 6 April to the following 5 April – all adults can put up to £20,000 into an ISA but any unused allowance can’t be rolled over.

That means you only have a few days left to use up this year’s allowance before it’s gone for good.

(For a complete guide to ISAs, click here.)

Deciding where to put your money is never simple, so to give you some inspiration, we asked a selection of investment pros what they’ve done with their ISA allowance this year.

High quality blue-chips and Asian equities

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at investment platform AJ Bell

“I invest in my ISA every month, which helps remove the worry of trying to time the market particularly with all of the volatility that has happened over the past few months with Brexit and now coronavirus.

“However, recent market falls have given some scope to top up some of my long-term holdings and put a little extra money to work as we come to the end of the tax year. I’ll be looking to add to City of London investment trust given the attraction of a portfolio of high-quality blue chip stocks, a solid yield of more than 4.5% and low fees.

“In addition, Asian equities have been hit by the coronavirus and so I’ll be looking to add to the Jupiter Asian Income fund given its focus on higher quality, large cap stocks underpinned by a good yield. While we may see more volatility, I like the ability for my investments to generate income that I can reinvest for the long term.

“Over this year I’ve tried to balance investing in high-quality, long-term holdings with more opportunistic plays. As a result, I’ve invested in Temple Bar investment trust and Montanaro UK Smaller Companies trust, both looking at UK equities, and I’ve also been adding to emerging markets over the year, with the JP Morgan Emerging Markets trust providing exposure to a wide range of emerging markets companies from a very resourced and experienced team.”

Equity income, emerging markets and smaller companies

Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at investment platform Willis Owen

“It is important to make investment choices based on your goals and not on the short-term noise that often permeates stock markets.  So when choosing the investments for my 2020 I have to think about my situation.

“I am 44 years old and my ISAs form part of my long-term goals, which is a combination of retirement and possibly providing some money for two young children when they grow up. So any ISA investment decision I make is done so on the basis that I am unlikely to need the money for at least 10 years, and possibly longer as I plan to stay invested through my retirement.

“This longer-term time horizon gives me a different perspective on markets. Falling markets provide excellent investment opportunities.  In the past when markets have fallen they have always recovered, even if it has taken a while.

“Investing for 20 years means I can look at the long term performance and returns. For this reason, equity income plays a big role in all my investments. The power of compounding is huge but you only really see the benefits after doing it for several years.

“I can also afford to be patient; I often top up my holdings in Asia and Emerging Markets even though the regions have been out of favour and lagged some developed markets. I recognised they can remain unpopular for some time. However, valuations are not expensive and there are some attractive dividends which when reinvested will contribute to the long term performance of my portfolio.

“Smaller companies also feature significantly in my ISA portfolio.  This is an area of the market where, in the UK, we have some exceptional stock pickers who can consistently and considerably outperform the market. Smaller companies can be very volatile and in a downturn, you could see some big falls in values.”

His three fund picks are: Threadneedle UK Equity Income, Schroder Asian Income and Merian UK Mid Cap

UK growth, global dividends and emerging markets

Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International

“This tax year end I have four funds in my sights. Firstly, Liontrust’s UK Growth Fund, which seeks out companies with pricing power and the ability to charge a little bit more. This in turn leads to high and sustainable profits.

“Turning next to the Fidelity Global Dividend Fund, which invests in resilient businesses with an eye on capital protection as much as long-term income growth. While interest rates at an unprecedented low, a focus on income should continue to deliver good returns, and I like this manager’s cautious approach.

“The Artemis Global Emerging Markets Fund is a new addition to our Select 50 list this year. The fund provides the opportunity for investors to increase their exposure to an attractively-valued part of the market. This is a well-diversified fund, which eliminates some of the company-specific risk that can often hurt the performance of an emerging market fund.

“Finally, the Fidelity Select 50 Balanced Fund remains one of my top choices for investors to consider. This fund divides its assets between shares and bonds and invests all around the world, so it is well-placed, whatever the environment. Ayesha Akbar, who has managed the fund from the outset, has done a great job of delivering capital preservation without the volatility that can be off-putting for investors in a pure equity fund.”

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