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  • FIRST POST
    • Jon_W
    • By Jon_W 14th Mar 17, 7:42 PM
    • 108Posts
    • 17Thanks
    Jon_W
    IFA Fees - benchmarks
    • #1
    • 14th Mar 17, 7:42 PM
    IFA Fees - benchmarks 14th Mar 17 at 7:42 PM
    Aaaaand it's my stupid question hour, again!

    I am trying to find an IFA via unbiased.co.uk. I've sent about 12 emails so far. Only had had a 4 replies, 3 aren't taking new clients on (though I bet they would if I had a few million to invest! ). One has replied saying they charge:

    3% implementation fee (by which I assume they mean designing and executing the portfolio)
    1% ongoing management charge

    I have absolutely nothing to act as a comparison. Are these fees unduly excessive? Because I don't seem to be getting much interest in taking me on or meeting me for a fee-paid appointment. So I am hoping that these are reasonable as I don't think I'm gonna have too many options!
Page 2
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 15th Mar 17, 4:40 PM
    • 89,853 Posts
    • 56,515 Thanks
    dunstonh
    How can I check if an advisor is a qualified IFA?
    Check the FCA register and they should have control function CF30.

    The FCA register doesnt differentiate between tied/restricted and independent but all have to have CF30.

    One thing I will make clear before I meet the IFA is to ensure he does not go chasing higher returns by chopping and changing to increase the management fee due. (Though on such a small fund he will have much more lucrative portfolios he can do this with.)
    Most IFAs do not hold discretionary powers. So, they cannot do that anyway. They require your permission to fund switch or rebalance. It makes no difference to an IFA if the fund charge is 0.x% or 0.y%. An IFA doesnt have any interest in increasing fund charges.

    Plus, the work level is high. I have been working on a portfolio rebalance this morning calculating switches to use the CGT allowance and bed & ISA and bed & pension. I will still be working on it tonight. An IFA is not going to switch nilly willy as it is far too much work.

    Also, an interesting point for you, this portfolio has a mixture of passive and managed and in one sector we utilised a passive fund and a managed fund at the same time. The passive fund is up 83.6% and the managed fund is up 162.5% (after charges). The portfolio has beaten the closest matched VLS as as well (net of charges). So, remember charges are important but secondary.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • TheTracker
    • By TheTracker 15th Mar 17, 4:41 PM
    • 1,129 Posts
    • 1,120 Thanks
    TheTracker
    That's interesting as I had thought that was probably the most important aspect - I am learning all the time on this forum.
    Originally posted by Audaxer
    In fact, a significant and growing proportion of IFA firms outsource the fund selection or portfolio construction.


    I didn't realise you could get an IFA to just provide you with a recommended asset allocation. I would have thought that part would be fairly straightforward, depending on your risk level and amount of investment.
    Originally posted by Audaxer
    Yes, it is straightforward. You wouldn't be buying the asset allocation, you'd be buying all the advice and guidance that goes along with it. Nuanced risk assessment given your personal circumstances. Lifetime financial planning taken into account. Consideration of all the other inputs and outputs of money you have right now and might expect into the future. More a financial 'coach' than the scout for players.

    Would someone with say £200k to invest long term at medium risk level, not be advised of roughly the same asset allocation as that in a VLS60, maybe with a small percentage added for property and a few other alternative assets? I know it's probably not that simple, but just trying to understand what would be involved, and what would be the approximate cost of getting an IFA to recommend an asset allocation in that example.
    Originally posted by Audaxer
    These are questions equally as pertinent if you go down a DIY or IFA path. You have to find the answers yourself if you DIY. But it's not rocket science.

    So if you were not to 'handicap' your portfolio in this way, and agreed to let the IFA select the best asset allocation and funds (trackers and managed), how likely is it that the returns you would get from your investments (in rising and in falling markets) would cover all the IFA fees, and add extra value when compared to a portfolio of the same value comprising of only tracker funds?
    Originally posted by Audaxer
    My parochial view is to test that assertion by having an IFA sign a written statement to its truth. None will. And part of the insurance they pay is to protect themselves during any eventuality that you might claim that they have given that impression. They'll use emotional terms like "handicap" to describe the fact that, naturally, passive investors have less funds to pick from.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 15th Mar 17, 4:49 PM
    • 89,853 Posts
    • 56,515 Thanks
    dunstonh
    In fact, a significant and growing proportion of IFA firms outsource the fund selection or portfolio construction.
    Nearly all outsource some of it. The most common bit is the sector allocations. However, fund selections remain the choice of the IFA. There are some IFAs that use discretionary fund managers. I personally dislike this as it introduces a higher level of charges. Whilst IFAs that do this say it allows them to focus on planning, they tend not to reduce their charges to reflect the fact they are working less. And DFMs tend to have pretty poor returns too.

    My parochial view is to test that assertion by having an IFA sign a written statement to its truth. None will. And part of the insurance they pay is to protect themselves during any eventuality that you might claim that they have given that impression. They'll use emotional terms like "handicap" to describe the fact that, naturally, passive investors have less funds to pick from.
    An IFA has to operate no restrictions to enable them to use the term IFA. Any restriction on service cannot be made by the IFA. The client can restrict the service and is free to say to the IFA that they only want trackers used. It is a handicap because trackers are not the best solution in every area.
    Last edited by dunstonh; 15-03-2017 at 7:45 PM.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • JohnRo
    • By JohnRo 15th Mar 17, 7:29 PM
    • 2,478 Posts
    • 2,226 Thanks
    JohnRo
    I am trying to find an IFA via unbiased.co.uk.
    Originally posted by Jon_W
    The investment at this stage will be £40k. When a will legacy comes through that will rise to around £60k.
    Originally posted by Jon_W
    I know you posted in another thread but without checking that, is there a particular reason you're not willing or able to DIY this money?
    'We don't need to be smarter than the rest; we need to be more disciplined than the rest.' - WB
    • Rollinghome
    • By Rollinghome 15th Mar 17, 7:45 PM
    • 2,100 Posts
    • 2,281 Thanks
    Rollinghome
    I know you posted in another thread but without checking that, is there a particular reason you're not willing or able to DIY this money?
    Originally posted by JohnRo
    Because if we aren't willing to learn how to look after our own money, wire a plug, tie our own shoelaces, etc. then we have to pay someone else to do it for us. That's life.
    • Jon_W
    • By Jon_W 15th Mar 17, 8:33 PM
    • 108 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Jon_W
    Check the FCA register and they should have control function CF30.

    The FCA register doesnt differentiate between tied/restricted and independent but all have to have CF30.



    Most IFAs do not hold discretionary powers. So, they cannot do that anyway. They require your permission to fund switch or rebalance. It makes no difference to an IFA if the fund charge is 0.x% or 0.y%. An IFA doesnt have any interest in increasing fund charges.

    Plus, the work level is high. I have been working on a portfolio rebalance this morning calculating switches to use the CGT allowance and bed & ISA and bed & pension. I will still be working on it tonight. An IFA is not going to switch nilly willy as it is far too much work.

    Also, an interesting point for you, this portfolio has a mixture of passive and managed and in one sector we utilised a passive fund and a managed fund at the same time. The passive fund is up 83.6% and the managed fund is up 162.5% (after charges). The portfolio has beaten the closest matched VLS as as well (net of charges). So, remember charges are important but secondary.
    Originally posted by dunstonh
    Thanks again, dunst.

    It's reassuring to know that they won't 're-jig'. I think the only instruction I'd give (if applicable) is to reinvest any dividends/proceeds whilst maintaining the mix I've chosen/we've agreed upon.

    Had a bite from another IFA. They are keen to meet. Free first meeting to fact-find but no advice given at that stage (fair enough, they aren't a charity). No mention of any implementation fees, ongoing management charge of 'up to 1%'. ad hoc meetings thereafter priced at £150; ad hoc 'review meetings' priced at £500 because of the prep involved in a review.

    Seems reasonably fair.
    • Audaxer
    • By Audaxer 15th Mar 17, 10:25 PM
    • 630 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    Audaxer
    Thanks again, dunst.

    It's reassuring to know that they won't 're-jig'. I think the only instruction I'd give (if applicable) is to reinvest any dividends/proceeds whilst maintaining the mix I've chosen/we've agreed upon.

    Had a bite from another IFA. They are keen to meet. Free first meeting to fact-find but no advice given at that stage (fair enough, they aren't a charity). No mention of any implementation fees, ongoing management charge of 'up to 1%'. ad hoc meetings thereafter priced at £150; ad hoc 'review meetings' priced at £500 because of the prep involved in a review.

    Seems reasonably fair.
    Originally posted by Jon_W
    I'm no expert, but these fees seem a high price to pay for a £40k investment. I would think the fees would eat into a lot of your annual return if you have a review meeting and a few adhoc meetings each year.
    • TheTracker
    • By TheTracker 15th Mar 17, 11:08 PM
    • 1,129 Posts
    • 1,120 Thanks
    TheTracker
    I'm no expert, but these fees seem a high price to pay for a £40k investment. I would think the fees would eat into a lot of your annual return if you have a review meeting and a few adhoc meetings each year.
    Originally posted by Audaxer
    Again, you really pay for advice given, not some literal function of the size of your portfolio. It's a sad fact that IFAs construct rate cards on portfolio size. That's a poor proxy of the amount of work in giving advice, but there are few alternatives besides the hourly rates, which aren't always as marketable.

    As the sage ermine has opined, amongst others, 40k isn't enough to interest IFAs. The actual work required, with overheads, makes it an expense that doesn't pay dividends for you or them.
    • Jon_W
    • By Jon_W 16th Mar 17, 12:49 PM
    • 108 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Jon_W
    Thanks again, dunst.

    It's reassuring to know that they won't 're-jig'. I think the only instruction I'd give (if applicable) is to reinvest any dividends/proceeds whilst maintaining the mix I've chosen/we've agreed upon.

    Had a bite from another IFA. They are keen to meet. Free first meeting to fact-find but no advice given at that stage (fair enough, they aren't a charity). No mention of any implementation fees, ongoing management charge of 'up to 1%'. ad hoc meetings thereafter priced at £150; ad hoc 'review meetings' priced at £500 because of the prep involved in a review.

    Seems reasonably fair.
    Originally posted by Jon_W

    I've got an update on this offer:

    a) Implementation fee is up to 5%. Am I right in thinking that if an IFA coordinates the portfolio, if I get more £ to put in in future, I have to go through the IFA so he gets the fee? Again, seems fair, as he/she did the work to design the portfolio, after all

    b) The £500 for a review is a review of what I hold, not of the full market offerings as well.

    I have ruled one reply out. He replied in semi-text speak, no paragraphs, from a generic Yahoo email.

    I will ask the ones I meet:

    1. Is your fee structure transparent so I know exactly what every transaction will cost and what the ongoing costs are?

    2. Are there any 'exit fees' if I decide to withdraw my portfolio from your coordination? What are they?

    3. I appreciate that my investment is almost de minimis compared to others but will you always be available for simple queries via a quick call or email?

    4. How often will you update me about my portfolio's progress or (regression)?

    5. If any of the investments you make on behalf are in ETFs or other income funds, do you charge a % of any income which is reinvested?
    Last edited by Jon_W; 16-03-2017 at 12:56 PM.
    • JohnRo
    • By JohnRo 16th Mar 17, 1:01 PM
    • 2,478 Posts
    • 2,226 Thanks
    JohnRo
    This money is screaming for a relatively low risk, single, multi asset fund selection of your choosing. The usual suspects as suggested numerous times are more than adequate surely?

    Why are you so keen to burn hundreds using an IFA?
    'We don't need to be smarter than the rest; we need to be more disciplined than the rest.' - WB
    • Jon_W
    • By Jon_W 16th Mar 17, 1:06 PM
    • 108 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Jon_W
    This money is screaming for a relatively low risk, single, multi asset fund selection of your choosing. The usual suspects as suggested numerous times are more than adequate surely?

    Why are you so keen to burn hundreds using an IFA?
    Originally posted by JohnRo
    Because I want to know that the funds are convergent with my (albeit nebulous) goals (providing for retirement whilst retaining some liquidity) and advice on the various tax wrappers.
    • dunstonh
    • By dunstonh 16th Mar 17, 1:42 PM
    • 89,853 Posts
    • 56,515 Thanks
    dunstonh
    a) Implementation fee is up to 5%. Am I right in thinking that if an IFA coordinates the portfolio, if I get more £ to put in in future, I have to go through the IFA so he gets the fee? Again, seems fair, as he/she did the work to design the portfolio, after all
    Depends on the terms you agree. Some will do increments at no additional cost as long as you are on their ongoing servicing arrangement. Some will discount depending on how much you have invested. Some will take each and every time.

    1. Is your fee structure transparent so I know exactly what every transaction will cost and what the ongoing costs are?
    All adviser fees should be transparent as long as you know the terms. So, if you cover off initial, ongoing and top ups, you should be pretty much there.

    2. Are there any 'exit fees' if I decide to withdraw my portfolio from your coordination? What are they?
    There are not allowed to be blockers to exit and you have the right to terminate any agreement. Usually, these things come with upto 30 days notice.

    3. I appreciate that my investment is almost de minimis compared to others but will you always be available for simple queries via a quick call or email?
    What is the point of paying for ongoing servicing if you do not.

    5. If any of the investments you make on behalf are in ETFs or other income funds, do you charge a % of any income which is reinvested?
    Ongoing charge is a percentage of assets under management. If the portfolio goes up because of growth or income then the value has risen and the ongoing charge will increase accordingly.

    Apart from the fact you cannot differentiate between income and growth on a portfolio value, you would not a different fee because it would introduce the potential for bias.

    With £40k, if I was taking on the business and given your lack of investment history and background, I would be recommending the use of multi-asset funds. Not a bespoke portfolio. So, you could well end up paying an IFA to do the same investment that people have mentioned here. That is not to say that all would do that. I just base on my opinion on FOS decisions and FCA guidance that bespoke portfolios are not really suited for small amounts or inexperienced investors. Some advisers will follow that and some will decide not to. That said, I have millions in multi-asset funds with small investors who pay ongoing servicing because they do things like use some of the ISA allowance each year or just like the support that ongoing advice gives them. So, nothing wrong with it if that is what you want. Its all about making sure you are paying for what you want and not paying for something you dont want.
    Last edited by dunstonh; 16-03-2017 at 4:23 PM.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). Comments are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice. Different people have different needs and what is right for one person may not be for another. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
    • Jon_W
    • By Jon_W 16th Mar 17, 3:25 PM
    • 108 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Jon_W
    Because if we aren't willing to learn how to look after our own money, wire a plug, tie our own shoelaces, etc. then we have to pay someone else to do it for us. That's life.
    Originally posted by Rollinghome
    I think you shouldn't be so critical. Learning how to invest is easy and can be learned in next to no time, as I have now done.

    Learning how to invest well, using appropriate funds and wrappers isn't so straightforward!
    Last edited by Jon_W; 16-03-2017 at 3:34 PM.
    • JohnRo
    • By JohnRo 16th Mar 17, 3:49 PM
    • 2,478 Posts
    • 2,226 Thanks
    JohnRo
    Learning how to invest well, using appropriate funds and wrappers isn't.
    Originally posted by Jon_W
    Very true but you have to keep a sense of perspective as well. It's not like the suggestions you have been given are to pile into a x3 gold ETF.

    Single, global, multi asset funds are carefully constructed do what they do well, which is offer varying degrees of broad exposure to global equity and bond assets with some like L&G's offerings adding property assets into the mix.

    Using an IFA won't insure against or avoid the effects of market volatility and crashes.

    What you really need to ask yourself, as well as what you want the investment to do for you, is just how much of a potential loss will cause you sleepless nights or unsettle your investment resolve, answer honestly and then select accordingly.

    Getting that right is what you're paying the IFA for which determines to a large extent, or certainly should, what the portfolio will eventually look like.

    The thing is you're talking about 40/60K as opposed to 10 times that which means an expensive, potentially complex solution is not going to make much of a difference in absolute terms on a risk for risk basis.
    'We don't need to be smarter than the rest; we need to be more disciplined than the rest.' - WB
    • Jon_W
    • By Jon_W 16th Mar 17, 10:31 PM
    • 108 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Jon_W
    Very true but you have to keep a sense of perspective as well. It's not like the suggestions you have been given are to pile into a x3 gold ETF.

    Single, global, multi asset funds are carefully constructed do what they do well, which is offer varying degrees of broad exposure to global equity and bond assets with some like L&G's offerings adding property assets into the mix.

    Using an IFA won't insure against or avoid the effects of market volatility and crashes.

    What you really need to ask yourself, as well as what you want the investment to do for you, is just how much of a potential loss will cause you sleepless nights or unsettle your investment resolve, answer honestly and then select accordingly.

    Getting that right is what you're paying the IFA for which determines to a large extent, or certainly should, what the portfolio will eventually look like.

    The thing is you're talking about 40/60K as opposed to 10 times that which means an expensive, potentially complex solution is not going to make much of a difference in absolute terms on a risk for risk basis.
    Originally posted by JohnRo
    Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated. Of course I don't want losses but I accept they are sometimes inevitable and am prepared for the long haul. I doubt I'd check my portfolio more than twice a year.

    I'll have a look at the L & G offerings, thanks.
    • JohnRo
    • By JohnRo 16th Mar 17, 11:03 PM
    • 2,478 Posts
    • 2,226 Thanks
    JohnRo
    Here's a link to their glossy brochure.
    'We don't need to be smarter than the rest; we need to be more disciplined than the rest.' - WB
    • Audaxer
    • By Audaxer 16th Mar 17, 11:18 PM
    • 630 Posts
    • 278 Thanks
    Audaxer
    I think you shouldn't be so critical. Learning how to invest is easy and can be learned in next to no time, as I have now done.

    Learning how to invest well, using appropriate funds and wrappers isn't so straightforward!
    Originally posted by Jon_W
    I think the wrapper bit is easy - you can get £35k of your £40k in an S&S ISA if you put this year's allowance of £15,240 in before midnight on 5th April, and then the £20k allowance from the start of the next tax year (from 6th April).

    I agree the fund choice is difficult for us novice investors. I want to keep it pretty simple but I still can't make up my mind whether to go for the VLS60 or be a bit more cautious and go for the VLS40.

    You also need to decide which platform to go for, as the price differences are quite significant. I am thinking of going with Halifax Share Dealing, but again not quite decided yet.
    • Rollinghome
    • By Rollinghome 17th Mar 17, 12:20 PM
    • 2,100 Posts
    • 2,281 Thanks
    Rollinghome
    I think you shouldn't be so critical. Learning how to invest is easy and can be learned in next to no time, as I have now done.

    Learning how to invest well, using appropriate funds and wrappers isn't so straightforward!
    Originally posted by Jon_W
    Iím sorry if it appeared critical because it wasnít intended to be.

    Youíve never invested before and seem to have decided that investing is very difficult. It isnít, certainly not the mechanics, and the hardest part is deciding your aims and tolerance for risk.

    Itís certainly way easier than it ever has been with huge numbers of people now managing their investments using internet platforms. Some here will remember what it used to be like before the platforms, before low cost index funds, before the internet for advice, and before PEPs and ISAs. Unit trusts were widely seen as a mugís game and people who invested in them had usually been sold them by slick salesmen on commission. Others bought directly from the fund managers from off the page ads with front end loads of up to 7%. The alternative was build your own portfolio of shares perhaps with some gilts and ITs for diversification. Placing a deal with a city-slicker broker over the phone, typically charging a fee of 1.5% or more, could be pretty daunting for a noobie as were tax returns before PEPs.

    Itís also a lot safer to get advice than it ever was before, especially since sales commission to independent advisors was banned following RDR.

    Today, at its simplest, you only need pick a platform, and thereís any number of resources to help with that including SnowManís great spreadsheet, and a low cost index tracker, to get the market return less a tiny fee. Which as it happens is better than what the average investor will receive. If you want to try to beat the market then that becomes altogether more difficult with the risk of significantly underperforming instead. Until you know better, by keeping it simple and costs low youíll do better than most, if required holding some cash to adjust your risk.

    Albert Einstein is sometimes quoted as saying: ďCompound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesnít pays it.Ē Whether he actually said it or not, itís true, and the same applies to costs in investing. Thereís a useful tool on www.candidmoney.com among other stuff that shows the effect of high costs on investment returns.
    • BananaRepublic
    • By BananaRepublic 17th Mar 17, 1:27 PM
    • 918 Posts
    • 663 Thanks
    BananaRepublic
    Iím sorry if it appeared critical because it wasnít intended to be.

    Youíve never invested before and seem to have decided that investing is very difficult. It isnít, certainly not the mechanics, and the hardest part is deciding your aims and tolerance for risk.
    Originally posted by Rollinghome
    For many of us investing is fairly straightforward. However, it requires a certain temperament and a degree of numeracy which some people lack. So whilst it might be easy for some, it is also possible to screw up big time, and lose a lot of money. I am surprised at how many people I speak to who do not understand the basics of investment, and have dabbled in the markets, lost some money, and stayed away ever since. I have the advantages of being numerate, and very dull, both of which are definite advantages when it comes to investing, as many here will testify.

    Itís certainly way easier than it ever has been with huge numbers of people now managing their investments using internet platforms. Some here will remember what it used to be like before the platforms, before low cost index funds, before the internet for advice, and before PEPs and ISAs. Unit trusts were widely seen as a mugís game and people who invested in them had usually been sold them by slick salesmen on commission. Others bought directly from the fund managers from off the page ads with front end loads of up to 7%. The alternative was build your own portfolio of shares perhaps with some gilts and ITs for diversification. Placing a deal with a city-slicker broker over the phone, typically charging a fee of 1.5% or more, could be pretty daunting for a noobie as were tax returns before PEPs.

    Itís also a lot safer to get advice than it ever was before, especially since sales commission to independent advisors was banned following RDR.
    Originally posted by Rollinghome
    I started out in the dark ages, when information was hard to find. Only recently I discovered I had being paying commission to a broker. Such was/is the lack of transparency in the financial sector, that I received no indication whatsoever over 15 years that I was paying commission. Quite how that could be legal is beyond me, but that is why I have a deep distrust of the industry. In my defence, I bought from brokers who discounted the initial 5% fee which was standard at the time.

    Yes the not so recent changes in the way IFAs operate are welcome in my view too.

    Today, at its simplest, you only need pick a platform, and thereís any number of resources to help with that including SnowManís great spreadsheet, and a low cost index tracker, to get the market return less a tiny fee. Which as it happens is better than what the average investor will receive. If you want to try to beat the market then that becomes altogether more difficult with the risk of significantly underperforming instead. Until you know better, by keeping it simple and costs low youíll do better than most, if required holding some cash to adjust your risk.

    Albert Einstein is sometimes quoted as saying: ďCompound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesnít pays it.Ē Whether he actually said it or not, itís true, and the same applies to costs in investing. Thereís a useful tool on www.candidmoney.com among other stuff that shows the effect of high costs on investment returns.
    Originally posted by Rollinghome
    As someone who in a previous life was a research physicist, I find it hard to believe Einstein would have said any such thing. A quick Google gets variations on the supposed quote, but absolutely no source. I don't doubt it is apochryphal.
    • Rollinghome
    • By Rollinghome 17th Mar 17, 2:14 PM
    • 2,100 Posts
    • 2,281 Thanks
    Rollinghome
    As someone who in a previous life was a research physicist, I find it hard to believe Einstein would have said any such thing. A quick Google gets variations on the supposed quote, but absolutely no source. I don't doubt it is apochryphal.
    Originally posted by BananaRepublic
    Yes, I would be be amazed if he said it too, which was why I hope I made clear my scepticism. The statement itself though is true enough.

    Competent investment that gives results as good or better than enjoyed by the average investor isn't difficult, it's easy, and neither does it require numeracy beyond school level. That's not to say there won't always be people who can mess up the easiest things. In investment it tends to be people who have ambition beyond their competence.

    It's tempting to think some of us have some special abilities that others can't possess but I don't really think that the mystification of something that really can be achieved with quite simple techniques is particularly helpful.
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