YOUR UNDERSTANDING ABOUT INVESTMENTS AND THE RISKS OF INVESTING
This website allows you to invest in a number of different types of products. All investments and products involve a certain degree of risk which varies between products. You should not invest in any product using this website unless you understand what the product is and which risks are involved. You must also be certain that each product is suitable for you in your particular circumstances and you should never invest more money than you can afford to lose.
The risks involved in your investments through our website will vary according to the strategy you choose to follow. Therefore, the risk warnings below describe some of the risks which could be relevant to you when you use our services. We may also provide you with further risk warnings that we think are appropriate to you as you use our services.
This list is not an exhaustive list of the risks involved in using our services. You should therefore be comfortable that you understand the risks involved before investing in our investment ideas.
Losses may exceed your Initial investment and you may be required to post additional margin. Market volatility and rapid changes in price, which may arise outside normal business hours if you are trading international markets, can cause the balance of your account to change quickly. If you do not have sufficient funds in your account to cover these situations, there is a risk that your positions will be automatically closed by the platform if the balance of your account falls below the close-out level.
- you are not guaranteed to make a profit and you may get back less than your original investment or lose your entire investment;
- the value of your investment, and any income from it, can go down as well as up; and
- past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
There are global risks to which your investments may, at some point, be exposed, and it is important for you as an investor to understand what these are, and how they might affect your investment. These include:
Political and national economic unrest can affect the value of securities of companies carrying on business in that country. Governments can also exert their own influence on financial regulation and capital markets which can affect the attractiveness of that market and therefore any investments exposed to it.
Movements in a foreign currency can act to the detriment of the denominated currency of your account. Currency risk can change the total return of a foreign investment, even where there has been no change in the performance of the underlying asset.
Cash from an investment might not be worth as much in the future because of changes in purchasing power due to inflation.
INTEREST RATE RISK
The value of your investment may decline due to a change in the prevailing interest rates. This has a more prominent affect where the underlying asset is a bond, as interest rates and bond prices generally move in opposite directions.
This occurs when you are unable to convert an investment into cash whenever you want, or unable to find a suitable market or a willing buyer. You may wish to sell your investment immediately, and this could lead to a decrease in the value of your investment.
Changes in the tax status of your investments could affect the returns you receive, or make the investment strategy less attractive generally. If you are unsure of your tax liabilities, you should consult a qualified tax adviser.
There are additional risks to which your investments may be exposed when considering investing through a platform like ours. We have provided a summary of some of these additional risks below. This is not an exhaustive list and you should be comfortable that you understand all risks involved in investing through a platform like ours before you decide to invest. These include:
We receive investment strategies from various third parties including market professionals and individuals. We review each strategy we receive, and provide our investors with generic descriptions of investment strategies which they can then decide to follow, having regard to all the relevant risks involved.
We require all strategy vendors to update each strategy provided where any change in the market conditions requires them to do so. There is a risk that a strategy vendor may not update its strategy in a timely manner, or not at all, which may act to the detriment of your investment.
ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT RISK
We will monitor your account and take any action we consider necessary to ensure that your investments continue to track the investment idea(s) you have chosen. This may require us to sell your investments if this is in line with the recommendation of the updated investment idea. We will try to notify you in advance of taking such action but this may not always be possible.
INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERINGS (‘IPOS’) AND PRICE STABILISATION
When companies first list their shares on an exchange in an IPO, underwriting banks artificially stabilise the price of the shares during initial trading until the shares reach a normal price level. This is a legal practice subject to strict regulation, but may act to the detriment of your investments if connected to the IPO.
There are certain circumstances in which an exchange or relevant authority is able to suspend trading on a certain instrument where it has reason to believe that such a suspension is necessary to protect investors. This occurs most commonly where there is a lack of material financial information on the particular instrument. In these circumstances there may be an adverse effect on your investments, particularly if you wish to sell your investment. This may result in you receiving less than the original amount you invested.
ASSET CLASS RISKS
Our investment ideas cover a wide variety of products in which you will be able to invest. The investment products carry with them risks that are unique to that type of product or the underlying financial instrument. Not all of the investment products listed below are suitable for every investor, and you should be satisfied that a product is suitable for you in light of your circumstances and financial position before investing. Some of the products and financial instruments we may provide to you include:
The risk profile of an investment in equities will vary based on a number of factors, including a company’s performance, its age, its sector and country in which it operates. A company’s share price can also be negatively affected by factors outside of its control, including legal proceedings, market confidence and regulatory and tax regime changes.
Investing in unlisted companies which are at a relatively early stage of operating carries with it additional risk as they will often have no substantive operating history on which to meaningfully evaluate likely performance. There is also a liquidity risk when investing in young private companies, as there is unlikely to be a market for them on which investors can trade their shares. This will affect the liquidity of your investments and you may get back less than you paid for you investment.
BONDS AND LOANS
These are known as fixed income securities, where the bond issuer (i.e. the company or the government) promises to repay the loaned amount at a fixed time, while agreeing to pay an interest rate to the bond holder (known as the coupon) in the meantime.
Bonds are considered “safer investments” than equities because when a company is wound up, bondholders are generally repaid in priority to shareholders. However, there is still a risk that a bond issuer on insolvency is unable to repay the full loaned amounts. This may mean that you risk losing some or all of your capital invested.
Bonds are tradable securities and so are generally liquid. However, buying bonds in smaller companies or governments in emerging markets may affect the liquidity of your investment as there may not be a regulated market established or a willing buyer with which to trade. This may cause some difficulty if you need to sell your investment quickly.
EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS (ETFS)
An ETF is a passive investment fund which holds a bucket of underlying assets including shares, bonds and commodities. Being linked to the underlying assets means that if they decline in value, the value of your investment may also decrease.
ETFs track the performance of a particular index, such as the FTSE 100, and look to match the returns and price movements of that index. The returns of the ETF may not always match the returns of the tracked index, and this difference in return can be exacerbated by factors including the speed and timing of trades, and the impact of fees and other costs.
ETFs are traded on exchanges just like shares, and as such, are subject to the same risks as other tradable securities, including liquidity and market risk. The liquidity of an ETF depends on its composition as well as the trading volume of the underlying ETF constituents. ETFs that invest in actively-traded securities will be more liquid than those that do not. A lack of liquidity can affect the profits of your investment.
COLLECTIVE INVESTMENT SCHEMES
Collective investment schemes are a way of pooling capital from a group of investors into a fund managed by an investment professional. These funds then invest the money into a portfolio of different investments and asset classes.
The portfolio of the fund will depend on the investment strategy of the fund manager. This means that a fund may hold riskier assets, or employ gearing or leverage in order to achieve superior returns. Investing in a fund will not protect you from the risks of investing in its portfolio assets, and funds are subject to the same risks as their underlying holdings.
In addition, since funds are actively managed, there is a risk that a manager may take on above-average risk in order to provide better returns. This could lead to your investment losing money, and you may not receive back the amount which you originally invested. The level of a fund manager’s fees will also reduce the overall return you may receive. It is therefore essential that you understand the type of fund you are investing in, including its structure and its investment strategy, before you decide to invest.
The term ‘complex products’ covers a wide range of investment products, including derivatives, futures, swaps, options, structured products and warrants. There is no single definition for a ‘complex product’ but a product that fits into this category is generally one where:
- there is an actual or potential liability greater than the amount invested for the client; or
- the product is a derivative or has derivatives embedded in it; or
- there are limited opportunities to sell the product; or
- adequate comprehensive information is not generally available on the product.
These products may have risks that are not apparent to investors, or easy to understand, because they involve complex financial engineering which aims to produce higher returns than traditional asset classes, which in turn increases their risk profile.
We will therefore look to carry out additional enquiries on our investors to ascertain whether they have the appropriate knowledge and experience to understand the risks involved in these products. This means that these products may not be offered to all of our investors.