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Five online investment myths

Are long held myths about the online experience the real barriers to innovation?

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Topic: Investing

Amid the glamour of this weekend’s Oscar award ceremony, lost amongst the politically impassioned speeches and tears of gratitude, it will be easy enough to miss the signs that digital disruption has finally arrived in Hollywood.

That these undercurrents have arrived largely unannounced should come as no surprise. Those same forces that have reshaped the music, finance and travel sectors, don’t tend to warn anyone that they’re crashing the party: they just waltz right in with no invitation and, if they’re lucky, get to sit next to Ryan Gosling.

In this instance it’s Amazon Studios that’s causing a bit of a stir. When the e-commerce giant’s streaming video division arrives on the red carpet this weekend looking to scoop up a potential seven awards, including one for best picture, after only their first year in film distribution, Hollywood will no longer be able to ignore the threat of digital streaming services.

I think a major reason many ignore the tides of change until the waves come crashing down is that it’s often too easy to hold on to well-worn myths about the digital experience. But ‘disruption’ doesn’t need to be a dirty word and in my experience, understanding and challenging these assumptions is a necessary prerequisite for real innovation.

So, as we draw closer to launching our new online investment service, I’ve asked our team to look hard at some of the concerns frequently raised about investing money online to see if they hold any water.

  1. Aren’t online services really just for youngsters?
    “The internet is no longer the preserve of the young. Online banking, social media and online shopping are now more regularly designed with the requirements of the elder generation in mind. 62% of adults, for example, over the age of 65 are using Facebook. The fact remains that online services are often more convenient for all users, no matter what age.”
    Stewart Teague, Head of Operations
  2. Don’t these online platforms put my personal information at risk?
    “We all have good reason to be a bit worried about personal security online but the fact remains that you are just as likely to be targeted by online scams whilst browsing the celebrity news columns as you are when managing your money. This pretty much leaves us with two choices, we either a) shut down our computers, lock the doors and wait until the digital revolution burns itself out or we b) use only secure online services discerningly. This means only accessing your accounts on a secure connection, ensuring you have the correct virus protection in place and using only reputable platforms. We’re also seeing a trend towards increased usage of more secure login processes led by developments in biometrics.”
    Jamie Thompson, Head of Operational Risk
  3. Online investing is just another form of online gambling
    “This of course depends on what sites you’re visiting. There are a number of platforms out there that lure you in with incentives and flashing lights, but if I was to suggest to our team of experienced Investment Managers that investing is like a game of roulette, I’d be frog-marched out of the building in a heartbeat. As investment managers we have to accept the fact that there are always risks but investing should always rely more heavily on informed evaluation and analysis, rather than a blind throw of the dice.”
    Alex Neilson, Investment Manager
  4. Online investing is only suitable for those that have the time to monitor their investments regularly
    “We’re now all familiar with the image of the pinstriped dealer checking his trades on his phone on the fly in the back of a cab, but the fact is that most successful investors have a clear long-term timeline when they invest their money and how often you decide to check on your portfolio is largely down to the type of service you select. In the words of George Soros: “If investing is entertaining, if you’re having fun, you’re probably not making any money. Good investing is boring.”
    Stacey Parrinder-Johnson, Fund Selection Specialist
  5. Online investing is basically just paying money for a computer to pick your investments for you
    “There are a number of ‘robo-advisors’ out there that rely heavily on computer algorithms to select investments for its customers, which really just track the market, but with a service such as Click & Invest, anyone with £10,000 or more can now go online and have their money invested and actively managed by our team of experienced Investment Managers.”
    Richard Fullman, Head of Investment Management

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Opinions given within this article are my own personal views and those of all contributors. Our views and opinions are effective from the date of publication but may be subject to change without notice. I have no affiliation with the companies mentioned in this piece and all research has been independent.

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