TECHNOLOGY has transformed finance. Consumers bank and buy their insurance policies online. They use technology to manage their pensions and other investment portfolios. But can tech improve returns? Only if it is used wisely.
If it is cheaper to trade, then costs will take a smaller chunk out of long-term returns. Technology also allows fund managers to replicate stockmarket indices, giving investors access to broadly diversified equity portfolios for a fraction of a percentage point in annual fees.
But the ease and cheapness of trading, along with the vast range of options available, create a terrible temptation. Worldwide there are nearly 7,400 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and related products. These funds are not used only by “buy and hold” investors. Nearly half of the top 20 traded securities on American markets, by value, are ETFs.
Just because you can trade does not mean you should. And just because there is a fund specialising in smaller Vietnamese companies, or one...Continue reading