Alternative investments the way to diversify

Guests at a recent Alternative Investment seminar organised by GoldMoney, heard how now is the time to take a look at their investment portfolios and consider if they are adequately diversified. The panel of experts included: Alasdair Macleod, GoldMoney's Head of Research, Nigel Pascoe, Skipton International's Director of Lending and Keith Heddle, Stanley Gibbons' Group Investment Director.

The discussion covered investing in precious metals, UK buy-to-let property and rare stamps and coins. With recent surveys and reports suggesting many investors are still failing to diversify adequately, the presentations covered the latest market trends as well as past performances.

Alasdair Macleod shared some of his research which shows the trend in recent years for gold to be held in the east, leaving the west with low stocks: 'Gold has traditionally been used as a store of wealth, a hedge against inflation and financial risk as opposed to a get rich quick investment. In the West our currencies no longer have anywhere near enough gold to back them up as limited global stocks are being increasingly bought up by the east, in particular China and India. This has implications for stocks of monetary gold in the west should we ever need to rely on gold again as backing for our currencies.'

Skipton International's Nigel Pascoe said the UK property market is attracting increasing interest from Channel Islanders: 'The rising UK property market is seen by many Islanders as providing opportunities especially with the restricted supply of buy-to-let properties in Jersey; so we're seeing people come to us who are looking at the UK as a good investment option. Property is seen an inflation protector, and investors are hoping they'll have a rising asset value as well as rental income. Many look at it as part of their retirement plan.'

Keith Heddle from Stanley Gibbons dispelled some common myths about stamp collecting, including that it's a dying hobby: 'The Chinese and the Indians are avid stamp collectors and when you consider that the number of High Net Worth Individuals in the Asia Pacific region alone jumped over 17% last year, according to the latest Capgemini and RBC Wealth management survey, you can see why both stamp and coin collecting is buoyant. This is evidenced by the GB250 index which has seen an 11.96% compound annual growth since 2002.'

All three warned that of course past performance cannot be relied upon and advised that these alternatives should be viewed as investments to be held over the longer time, not get rich quick schemes. Retirement planning is a common reason investors look to buy-to-let, gold and stamps and coins, but how much of a portfolio to invest in alternatives is down to individual circumstances.

The event was hosted by GoldMoney's Jersey Director, Natasha Le Dain-Cyples, who said it was an interesting insight: 'Property, gold and stamps and coins all have long track records when it comes to investment returns and in particular wealth protection. It was interesting to hear how the various markets are doing and to see how they are all becoming essential elements in a diversified portfolio.'

Stanley Gibbons has been serving collectors in the UK since 1856 and is the market leader in stamp collecting. The Jersey based company set up a designated Investment Department in 2003 to cope with increased demand for rare collectibles as a mainstream investment option. It now has rare stamp and autograph portfolios of over £90 million under management. As well as the rarest, finest stamps, which they have been dealing in for 158 years, Stanley Gibbons also offer rare coins, medals and signatures.

Skipton International is a Channel Islands' bank, and one of the leading mortgage lenders in the Island. Skipton International has developed a UK residential buy-to-let product specifically to enable Islanders to be able to look outside of the limited housing supply in the Channel Islands for investment.

GoldMoney is one of the world's leading online preciousmetals traders with secure partner vaults in five locations around the world. Gold has recently been included among the list of approved investments for certain types of tax efficient pension schemes in Jersey.

The seminar took place at the Grand Jersey on Wednesday 18th June.

NOTES TO EDITOR

For more information, and to arrange interviews, please call Gwyn Garfield-Bennett on 01534 715411, or email [email protected]

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Historically gold has been an excellent way to preserve purchasing power over long periods of time. For example, today it takes almost the same amount of gold to buy a barrel of crude oil as it did 60 years ago which is in stark contrast to the price of oil in terms of national currencies such as the US dollar.

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