Written by: Ryan Hughes
Anyone looking to add a bit of spice to their ISA portfolio needs to go in with their eyes open and be sure that they are comfortable with the increased risk they are taking.
The possibility of higher returns can seem attractive but people need to make sure they could stomach a significant fall in the value of their investments and be prepared to sit out any tougher periods.
Time can be a great healer in this respect. A time horizon of ten years or more allows investors to ride out any short term volatility that might adversely affect their portfolio and wait for markets to recover. They may even see market falls as an opportunity to top up on investments they like at depressed prices.
Another option investors can consider is what is known as a ‘core-satellite’ approach, where by investors have a well-diversified core that makes up the majority of their portfolio and then they choose some higher risk options to sit outside of that core to increase the overall risk profile of the portfolio.
Whether investors do this or just decide to go all out adventurous, some of the faster growing economies are worth looking at.
Asia has been a strong performer in recent years as Chinese growth fuels demand in the region. With a young workforce and a hunger to succeed, Asian economies have proven to be vibrant and dynamic which has created some fantastic investment opportunities.
The Invesco Perpetual Asian fund looks to outperform the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Ex Japan Index predominately through a bottom-up research process focusing on contrarian ideas. Lead fund manager William Lam has been part of the team since 2006 and therefore has great experience of investing in the region. Ultimately, the fund manager is seeking out companies that are trading at significant discounts to their estimated fair value, targeting a double digit annualised return from each idea.
The fund is managed with a contrarian mind-set and as such can deviate substantially from the underlying benchmark; the resulting portfolio typically comprises 50-70 individual names. For investors looking for high growth potential, this fund has the potential to benefit strongly from the continued expansion of Asian economies.
Another option is Japan which had a strong year in 2017 as the economic reforms that have been taking place over the past few years continue to bear fruit. The tailwinds remain in place for 2018 and coupled with a rapidly improving shareholder focus from company management this should help the Japanese market move higher next year.
The team running the Baillie Gifford Japan fund are one of the strongest around and are well placed to cope with the retirement of the head of the team. With a strong focus on stock picking and a willingness to look different to the index, this is a good choice for adventurous investors.
Ryan Hughes is head of active portfolios at AJ Bell
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