Barbadian Pension Experts – You’re never too late to start investing
Barbadians from all walks of life have been advised that it is never too late to start investing and that they can do so for as little as $100.
This advice has come from Chris Callender, portfolio manager, Fortress Fund Managers. Mr. Callender was speaking recently at Mutual Fund Basics, a free workshop hosted by Fortress as part of its 5th Annual Investment Forum at the Frank Collymore Hall.
The workshop, held for the first time, gave an easy to understand primer on mutual funds to investors and potential investors interested in learning more about the rudiments of mutual funds.
In response to a question from a workshop participant about the benefits of investing in mutual funds to the “man on the street” or those with scarce resources, the portfolio manager said that mutual funds tended to generate higher returns than money in a savings account.
“The main purpose of our Growth Fund and High Interest Fund is to ‘beat the bank‘. If you save money in the bank you may achieve around 2.5 percent in interest but over the long term with our Growth Fund we have achieved returns of 9 percent on average and with the High Interest Fund, 5 percent. So mutual funds tend to counter the effects of inflation,” Mr. Callender explained while reminding the audience that past performance of funds did not necessarily point to the same level of return in the future.
With regard to the size of the initial investment, he added that people could start investing with $100.
“Investing in mutual funds comes with professional management so for as little as $100 you can invest and have experts working to achieve the objectives of the fund on your behalf. Also you don’t have to invest on a monthly basis as with some other financial products. With such terms and low rates of entry, it’s never too late to start investing,” the portfolio manager said.
During his presentation Mr. Callender outlined other incentives to invest in mutual funds: “Liquidity is another benefit whereby you can have easy access to your funds on a weekly basis. You also have diversification with funds spread across many companies in Caribbean countries such as Jamaica as well as in Asia and Europe, for example.”
With regard to the tax benefits of investing, the portfolio manager said that Barbadians could also invest through Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).
“There’s still an opportunity for investors to qualify for up to $10,000 in deductions from their personal assessable income each calendar year through RRSPs once they invest by December 31. This has the benefit of helping them to save on taxes, plan for retirement, and diversify their investments, all at the same time.”
In addressing a question about transparency and regulation of the fund, Mr. Callender explained that all mutual funds in Barbados were regulated by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
“Our first FSC audit took place in 2014 and we performed creditably. We also have to report to the FSC on the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the funds on a weekly basis and we’re also required to submit quarterly reports. In addition to this, the fund custodian ensures that the investments we state we have are actually what exist. There are many checks and balances in the system.”
Mutual funds are monies pooled together from investors to buy stock in different companies, bonds, or other investments such as real estate. The funds are divided into shares and each investor in the fund buys an amount of shares that corresponds to their investment amount. The price of each share is known as the Net Asset Value (NAV). Persons interested in finding out more about mutual funds can visit www.fortressfund.com or call 431-2198.