Leigh's Story

How did you pick investments before you used Stockopedia?

"I have been an investment IFA for the last twenty years or so and a more generalist IFA since 1989. I have been very comfortable selecting funds for myself and clients and over the years have used a number of professional tools to do so. These tools, together with regular meetings with fund managers, have helped me to select funds very successfully over the years. However, my task was to constantly scrutinise the relative performance of managed funds to consider where the best returns might be had. Our skill was not analysing the contents of funds and their individual stock selections.

In the course of my fund advisory work, of course, I took a general interest in what the successful managers were buying and bought a few of these for my own portfolios but not based on any fundamental analysis, just a tacit recommendation since the managers held them in their funds.

When I started to retire in 2018, I decided that I wanted to buy direct equities as well as funds. The fund analysis tools I was familiar with didn’t really cater for individual equities so I searched for something more specific. I had seen IG and Hargreaves Landsdown but wasn’t really enamoured with their research tools – they seemed to me to be bolt-on throw away services rather than a really useful and easy to operate research system.

I had an email from Professional Adviser or similar such IFA publication and noticed an article that confirmed that Slater Investments and Stockopedia had purchased Company REFS. I know Mark Slater quite well and already owned a copy of Jim Slater's original Company REFS book and the Zulu Principle. I had decided I wanted to broadly follow the types of stocks that a PEG-based analysis might throw up. Because Mark was involved with Stockopedia and because he uses PEG himself as a starting point to stock selection, I thought this might be the service for me. I subscribed and have found it really useful, well designed and very easy to navigate."

Has using Stockopedia changed your approach to investing?

"I don’t need huge returns as I only require a yield of around 4% from my portfolios to give me the income I need. Nonetheless, there is no point aiming for a low return when a much higher return is possible. Additionally, I can afford to take the ups and downs of markets so have nothing in fixed income or property - I just don’t feel the returns from these asset classes are likely to be attractive for some years to come, compared to equities.

Stockopedia makes it easier to find stocks I might be interested in, using the pre-populated Guru Screens and adapting them to take account market conditions. For example, I use the Jim Slater Zulu screen but have also copied it and relaxed the parameters to capture a wider stock set to look into in more detail. I am primarily looking for good growth companies, not expensive, with little or no debt and with something about the business I feel puts them in a good sector or position which makes continued growth likely. I am not overly concerned about dividends as I can always trim a holding and take capital as income, but if the stock has all the growth characteristics I seek and pays a dividend, all well and good.

I do use the Small Cap report and I think that is an excellent resource. Paul and Jack are terrific and I think we all really appreciate the effort they put in. I enjoy reading a number of the other investing columns, such as the Investment Club and Roland’s SIF, these are all hugely interesting and entertaining.

I have found the layout and the content of Stockopedia superb. It is very straightforward and pertinent. Without doubt I am a far better investor for having used Stockopedia than I would have been without it."

"I have to say, Stockopedia has been so helpful to me - being able to make informed and reasoned investment decisions has made managing my own investments both possible and a pleasure." - Leigh

Has Stockopedia impacted your investment results or quality of life?

"I have four main portfolios, one on Standard Life Wrap that holds my SIPP, an ISA account and a General Investment Account. My Standard Life Wrap account is up just over 30% for the last twelve months and my Interactive Investor portfolio (previously Alliance Trust) is up just over 50% for the year. There are many reasons which have contributed to performance but I am very happy with where I am to date. I expect to have a very satisfactory year in 2021, providing the pandemic gives way to the expected economic recovery, I just wonder if I need to do some additional rotation from my current stocks to some that are more likely to be beneficiaries of hospitality, travel and entertainment.

I get up each day at 7.00am to see the RNSs on Stockopedia and I generally research on my iPad in bed until 8.00am when the market opens. I look at markets regularly throughout the day just to keep informed. I fully retired at the end of June 2020 so devoting time to managing my investments is just an interest and a huge pleasure for me. I have to say, Stockopedia has been so helpful to me - being able to make informed and reasoned investment decisions has made managing my own investments both possible and a pleasure"

What's your advice for investors that are just starting out?

"For new investors, I would say buy a few trackers until you have sufficient capital to build a proper portfolio, a spread of well chosen companies .Don't just gamble and speculate with almost zero knowledge of how to read company accounts or how capital markets operate. I think it would be helpful for new investors to just run a dummy portfolio on Stockopedia to hone their skills and to help identify any gaps in knowledge. Just putting £1000 of life saving into bitcoin is crazy!"

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