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Should I trust someone who offers guaranteed returns?

Max | Lincolnshire| 27/08/2020 | 10

  • Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Funds

Max's question in full

Hi Boring Money, My question was about a man offering a 22.2% average return on his stock picking ability. His name is Chris Chillingworth, this is his promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSbBJ6ttgL0 and here is his rather pricey monthly stock picking service: https://thecleantrader.com/stockpicker/ I've tried to find reviews of his services but cannot find them anywhere except on a really old forum of his older product 'Spreedbet Beginner' where people have said they are blocked pretty swiftly on Twitter etc if they raise an issue. He's given me previous stocks such as Sage plc as a sample of his ability to pick good stocks, but I thought after our contact he could easily look back at history and say he owned one of these stocks. I just don't want to squander £20 - £57 per month on someone that will provide me inferior stock picks and I could do better just managing my own portfolio. What is even more odd is that he cannot be found on Companies House which rang alarm bells a little as even if he has his money in an ISA surely he must have to file for sales of his books, courses and stock picks? Obviously, like any investor I want the best return for my money but I don't want it to be spent on stock picks that may be useless in the next few years because I've been duped into thinking he can provide above average returns. 22.2% is a phenomenal average return so I'm not sure what to do. I guess I do have a little bit of FOMO as it could be legitimate, but it also may be a well crafted marketing ploy. I would like your opinion on this matter as I have no idea what I should do. Kind Regards, Max

Holly Mackay's Response

Hi Max

With no disrespect to the man you mention who I do not know personally, this sounds like a really really bad idea. It’s like me saying that it will be sunny next year for an average of 4.5 hours a day. I could give the logos of every FTSE100 company to my cat and she could pick the winners  - the skill is doing this day in and day out for years – anyone can get lucky over the short term. I never trust anyone who says they can pick winners all the time or make x% a year.

The boring truth is that investing is not alchemy or picking winners all the time – it’s balancing the risk, spreading your bets around different markets, sectors and regions – and being happy with annual returns of about 5% - 6% a year if you invest in shares over the long-term. Shares should do better than cash but you won’t always pick the next Amazon. I think you need to stop expecting to make more than that or you’ll get stuck in a loop of chasing returns which are not sustainable.

I would stick to funds not shares – these are collections of shares which minimise the risk of anyone thing going belly up. Be honest about your timeframes – if it’s less than 5 years then shares are a bit too risky. If it’s 10 years + you can be more spicy. Have a look at our Best Buys tables for  an investment platform you like the sound of. Look at their fund lists or Best Buy lists. Pick a mix of global funds which are diversified. As a guide, I think most people should have between about 8 and 20 funds depending on how much you have.

These are all generic statements – I don’t know your full financial circumstances eg do you have expensive debt you should be paying off first? Do you have a pension? Have you got a cash buffer of about 6 months’ income to protect you from financial shocks? Etc But I do know that anyone claiming 22.2% returns on average is deluding themselves about their capabilities. I also know that anyone involved in Spread Betting is someone I would run a mile from

Good luck,

Holly

Our Expert

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Holly Mackay

Founder and MD of Boring Money, Holly Mackay has been working in the investments space since 1998. She read Modern Languages at Oxford, with a special focus on Mediaeval French which was deeply interesting and arguably utterly useless.

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