Answered by Lee Goggin
The level of investment performance you can expect to achieve with a wealth manager very much depends on your risk-profile, which is determined by your attitude to risk and how much you can reasonably afford to put at risk by investing (all investing involves some degree of risk). Naturally, bigger returns are earned by taking on a greater risk of losses.
The types of investment a wealth manager recommends for and the proportions that make up your investment portfolio are driven by your risk-profile and investment time-horizon.
Cash and bonds are at the safer end of the spectrum and equities at the riskier end, and your investment manager will be looking to deliver the optimal returns achievable within your timeframes. Those with a longer time-horizon, for example someone who is investing for retirement 20 years away, can afford to take on more investment risk as they have more time to recover from losses. Someone who will need their money in five years will have to be far more circumspect.
Wealth managers cater to all kinds of clients, including those who are able and willing to take on a high degree of risk. However, the bulk of our users wish to gain steady returns over the long term so that they can harness the power of compounding.
Middle of the road investors who are neither very cautious or very adventurous can reasonably expect to enjoy returns of 5-6% a year, which compares very favourably indeed to current bank savings rates. However, wealth managers are often able to deliver stronger returns.
Understanding benchmarks is very important when comparing wealth managers on performance, so reading our essential guide Ten key points on performance benchmarks should be your first port of call.
A good question to ask a potential provider what they have achieved for clients like you over the past one, three, five and ten years. This will give you a good idea of how they perform in different market conditions and whether they are consistent in achieving good results.
The main thing to remember that wealth management is generally about preserving and steadily growing wealth, rather than shooting the lights out. You may hear of stellar returns being made on certain investments, but question whether this is sustainable or involves a lot of risk.
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