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Start An Investment Club! - Motley Fool
The 2009 National Investment Club Conference was sponsored by timetotrade. The following article about the event was written by The Motley Fool. To read the full article click here.
A lot of people find the prospect of investing in shares to be quite a daunting one, and that's really not surprising.
For one thing, there are a lot of companies out there, and you'd need to do a vast amount of research to be able to evaluate more than a handful of them -- most knowledgeable investors have spent years building up their understanding.
Also, if you want to invest in individual companies, you generally need a significant amount to allocate to each to make it cost effective. With brokers' charges being low these days, it's feasible to invest from as little as a few hundred pounds in each individual company, but a lot of private investors prefer not to go much below £1,000 at a time. And then to get a balanced portfolio of, say, 10 shares, that will add up to quite a lot of money. (Some people think that you even need around 15 or more companies to balance your risk, but I personally rarely own shares in more than four or five at any one time). Many hands...
Both of these difficulties can be greatly eased by getting together a few friends, neighbours, family members, colleagues, or just about any group of like-minded people, and forming an investment club. By doing that, you'll gain a number of benefits, including tackling the two problems above.
Firstly, by pooling your investment cash, you have a lot more available for each purchase. So if you want to put, say, a minimum of £1,000 in each company, if you can get a club of 10 people together, each of you is only risking £100 at a time and each only paying a tenth of your stockbroker's charges -- If you used the Motley Fool Share Dealing service, you'd only be paying a pound each in fees each time you buy or sell.
You'd also be sharing the research workload, and you'd be doing that in two ways. Firstly, and obviously, a group of people can research more companies in the same time than one person working alone. But also, you'd get to share your thoughts and get second opinions along the way, rather than having to trust only your own judgement. ...better choices
There's also another advantage too, as surveys have apparently found that collective investment decisions made by investment clubs tend to produce better long-term profits than individual decisions. That's probably because when you have to present an investment proposal to your fellow club members for discussion and voting, there is far less chance that you'll make the kind of making snap emotional decisions, or go for 'quick punts', which many individuals can't resist.
An investment club is a legal entity in its own right, and so it will need to have a formal constitution and some rules, and a treasurer and things like that, and your club will have to be registered with HM Revenue & Customs (although it would not itself be taxed -- members are taxed individually on their proportionate share of any capital gains or dividend income). Resources
It might sound complicated, but there are some great resources available out there to help you get started.
Firstly, there's ProShare, an organisation that has a lot of information and some great resources available to help you get your investment club off the ground, including sample club rules and a constitution that you can use to get started. In fact, a lot of investment clubs spend their first £25 on a copy of the ProShare Investment Clubs Manual, and most will tell you it's an invaluable guide. A few months ago David Kuo interviewed Terry Bond, who set up this organisation in the UK.
The HM Revenue & Customs site also has a helpful FAQ page, answering a lot of the most common questions relating to taxation issues.
The Fool has even published its own book on investment clubs. Although it came out 10 years ago, we reckon much of the information still holds true. Investment Club Conference
There's also a great looking event coming up shortly, in the shape of the third "National Investment Club Conference 2009". It takes place on Saturday 31 October at the QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, in the heart of London. It's an all-day conference, from 9:30 until 18:30, and it's free to attend, though you do have to register. You can find all you need to know on the web, together with details of the timetable of events -- and you can register online, by email, or by phone.
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