My story

Jacqueline Mitton shares her experience of using : play and how other prospective investors could benefit from the experience.

Jacqueline Mitton

My advice to anyone interested in managing their live portfolio - or who is wondering about whether to invest, is give : play a go

Jacqueline Mitton

: play user

I've been investing in Unit Trusts for something like 30 years and managing my own portfolio for most of that time, but I don’t count myself as a financial expert. Though I often read the money pages in the weekend newspapers, I don’t have any professional expertise or follow what’s happening in the financial world on a daily basis. I’ve just picked things up along the way and having really good online tools has made it a lot easier. I have a scientific background and I think being comfortable with numbers and graphs has been a help.

In the real world, my investment strategy has been fairly cautious. I'm not a risk-taker by nature! What I’ve enjoyed about : play and the competition is feeling uninhibited about taking the risks with my play portfolios that I was too nervous to do with my live portfolio. And I've found it surprisingly liberating! Building on what I’ve learned, I'm now planning to put aside a sum I can afford for investing more adventurously. Using : play has definitely boosted my confidence. When I started, I didn't imagine I might choose any of my : play funds for my live portfolio but now I’m now seriously thinking I will.

For the competition, I decided I would need a different strategy from the one I normally follow in the real world because the objective was different: to achieve maximum capital growth over a relatively short time - one month initially. With my live portfolio, I don’t want to be trading frequently and income yield is more important to me.

To choose funds for my competition portfolios, I reckoned my best bet was a strategy that I’ve now learned is a simplified version of "momentum investing". I tried to pick a handful of funds that have been doing well for a while and looked likely to keep rising in value for at least a month. Then I put together several portfolios from these. As I could have up to six portfolios, I also thought it would be fun to take a punt on two very speculative and volatile sectors: South America and India. My South American choice came in 4th but India turned out to be a complete dud!

When I’m picking funds for my live portfolio I take a lot of factors into account. Though good past performance does not guarantee that a fund will do well in the future, I’m looking for solid evidence that the Fund Manager knows how to deliver the goods, and you have to go on past performance for that. I also look at how the balance between income yield and the potential for capital growth fits in with my current needs. I’m definitely influenced by how funds are rated, for example the Financial Express Crown Ratings, and check that out with the tools in : explore.

My advice to anyone interested in managing their live portfolio - or who is wondering about whether to invest - is "give : play a go" and take a little time to explore how to use the research tools, such as the performance figures and charts for each fund and the different sectors. : play is a great addition to Willis Owen's online services. Like with many computer games, you can indulge in a fantasy - as a speculator investing in funds you probably wouldn’t dare to risk in your live portfolio. It’s fun and it's safe but, as well as that, it’s a way of learning about the various funds available and about the helpful research tools available in : explore on the web site. There’s nothing to lose and possibly a whole lot to gain…

Jacqueline Mitton

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