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My name is Andrew Collins, I began life as a portfolio manager at the private portfolio stockbroking company Gerard Vivian Gray. The company merged with Greig Middleton before eventually becoming part of Barclays Wealth. I remained with the company throughout this period and worked as part of a three man team responsible for managing £400m of charitable funds. These funds were invested using the same fundamental investment criteria that I still use to this day and indeed, my weekly newsletter is very much in the same vein of the weekly reports and analysis that used to be sent to the charity trustees.

Later I went on to be the senior market analyst at The CFD Group and TF Financial, both of which specialised in shorter term FTSE100 stock investment. The primary focus was spotting and acting on short term over and under sold opportunities amongst FTSE 100 constituents. I believe I have an excellent reputation for his work in equity fund management and short term trading and this has allowed me to bring the best of both worlds to my personal portfolio.

Portfolio construction and stock selection requires decades of experience and with almost 30 years of experience in trading and running portfolios, I hope I am perfectly placed to achieve the long term objectives of the model portfolio by avoiding the basic mistakes and just being exposed to the natural sentiment of the global markets.

I live with family on the outskirts of London and these days spend my time indulging his passion for classic cars while managing my own personal portfolio.

My Core Beliefs:

– Fundamental analysis is of paramount importance in understanding what you are buying or indeed selling. With an ever changing economic backdrop, understanding how a company’s fortunes can change and respond will make the difference between under and out performance over the long term.

– Commissions, fees and taxes probably have the biggest negative impact on a long term investment strategy than stock selection.

– Excessive tinkering and trading erodes performance through unnecessary costs.

The App

I’m not an IT guru but an old fashioned investment broker. Please don’t expect the app to be an all singing and dancing device but rather a really simple, clean and easy way for me to publish my blog and for you to be able to know when I’ve made a new post or any changes to my portfolio etc.

Personal investing has never been more popular than it is today. On the whole the industry steers investors towards buying funds and using tax efficient wrappers such as ISAs and/or SIPPs etc. But there remains a large number of investors who alongside this approach also still want to invest in individual equities or who seek to take on risk for higher returns without resorting to investing in illiquid smaller companies or potentially unstable geographic regions.

The main problems that such investors will encounter is that in order to prudently invest in individual equities one really does need to carry out a good amount of fundamental research on all these stocks, which takes up a lot of time, with individual UK equities there is the cost of dealing and Stamp Duty which can have a very heavy impact on a modest investment pot and finally, it is actually really hard to see how you can opt to take on increased risk without looking at highly volatile smaller companies or highly volatile geographic regions, both requiring even more research and consumption of time.

For the last twenty years I have been managing my own portfolio using a system that not only avoids the elevated costs of dealing physical equities but avoids Stamp Duty altogether, allows me to increase my risk without ever resorting to small caps or overseas stocks and best of all is completely tax free!

An old colleague, Tim Morris (we were post grads at the same brokerage before he went on to be Institutional Business Director at IG Markets and one of the leading industry specialists in CFDs and Spread Betting), told me that I should start a blog as no one really appreciates the advantages of how I invest for myself and investors might find it interesting to see this alternate approach in action. At the same time, I realised that as I was already carrying out all the fundamental analysis this would also be potentially of interest to fellow investors.

Tim then went on to explain to me that I should do this via an app as most other investors had made the move into the 21st century even though I appear not to have. So that’s what Tim and I are doing, we are offering a free app that allows fellow investors to read my views on the market and to monitor my investment portfolio.

Tim was also one of the founders of the original CityBull which was set up in 1998 and was one of the earliest and largest financial investment forums of its day and referenced by Rory Cellan-Jones in his book ‘Dot.Bomb: The Rise and Fall of Dot.com Britain‘ and he suggested that we set the blog up under this name as it carried on the original ethos of trying to help other UK investors.