I need a simpler Isa portfolio
My late husband was an enthusiastic investor. Following his death I’ve inherited his large Isa portfolio which is invested in the shares of about 25 companies, most of which I know nothing about. I would like to switch to investments which are simpler to manage. I am in my late sixties and in good health. I do not need to draw an income from this money, and would like it to form part of my estate which will go to my two adult children. Can you suggest any appropriate investments with which to replace the shares? LP, SURREY
answers your questions. This week: a widow wants to make her husband’s portfolio easier to manage, and the best way to invest an inheritance for children
exemptions to gift money to your children now, considering the use of trusts and the use of Business Property Relief qualifying investments, may be better than restructuring your Isa.”
Alistair Cunningham, a financial planner at Wingate Financial Planning, said that the issue with a portfolio of shares is it is inherently likely to be quite risky; with even blue-chip companies rising and falling in value.
Widows tend to be more cautious, and even a 50pc equity portfolio may have too much in shares, with maybe one-third more appropriate. With a time frame for investment that could easily be 20-30 years, and no immediate need to access the capital, a range of managed collective investments – funds – would be more appropriate than shares. Mr Cunningham suggests Vanguard, Architas and Standard Life MyFolio. invest the money for them until they are 18, when they can choose to continue investing or withdraw the funds. Where should I invest to produce high but secure returns? PT, HERTS
Your options depend on how this money has been left to your children and what you want to achieve.
If the money has been left in a trust arrangement, your options will depend on the type of trust that is used, although broadly you will have to keep the money in the trust until your children are old enough to access it themselves. You should be able to make investment choices within the trust assuming you are a trustee.
You say that you want to “produce high but secure returns”. This is understandable but not so easy. Your options are more likely to be “low but secure” returns, such as holding the money in cash savings accounts, or “high but uncertain” returns, or somewhere in the middle.
If you are investing for a reasonable period, say 10 years or more, you should achieve a better return by investing in shares rather than in cash. Patrick Connolly, a certified financial planner at Chase de Vere, suggests Rathbone Global Opportunities, M&G Global Dividend and Vanguard FTSE Developed World as three potential investment funds to choose.
This could work for your younger child but you might need to be more cautious with your older child’s investments, which may only be held for seven years.
Either way, as you are investing for your children you won’t want to lose money. You can reduce risks by investing in other asset classes such as fixed interest and property alongside shares. You could invest in multi-asset funds. Mr Connolly suggests Schroder Multi Manager Diversity, Investec Cautious Managed and Vanguard Life Strategy 60pc Equity. “You could also reduce the risks of market timing by investing the money in instalments rather than all at once.” If the money is outside a trust you have more choice of investment wrappers.
Junior Isas combine tax efficiency, simplicity, a wide choice of investment options and an annual contribution limit of £4,128 for the 2017-18 tax year. This is a good option but the annual investment limit means you’ll need to invest the money in Junior Isas over a number of years. At age 18, your children can access their money if they want or leave it invested.
You could hold the money in investment funds outside a Junior Isa. This can be in a “bare trust” for the children’s benefit. Or they can be designated to the children without a trust being used. Here, you might have to demonstrate that the money belongs to the children.
Pension savings for children benefit from initial tax relief of 20pc on contributions up to £2,880 net (£3,600 gross) each year, and you are safe in the knowledge that the children will not be able to squander the money at an early age. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to access any of their pension savings until they reach age 58 (or later) so this would not work in your case.
‘Keeping the cash in an Isa may not be the best approach’
Generation game: Anyone under 18 can put £4,128 into a Junior Isa and £3,600 into a pension each year