The Moneywise Bermuda investment primer.
Today, dear readers, we are going to do something different.
This is the first part of a year-long continuing series on living and investing on the Island of Bermuda. Each section as listed below will be published on the third Saturday of the month.
At the end of the series, or at some time during the series (I'll never tell), the Moneywise: Bermuda Investment Primer will be available for purchase as an e-Book through an educational website, or as a soft cover book, for a modest sum. Significant detailed information will be available only in the book format, but hey, you can't have everything for free through the column. All sale proceeds (net of publishing costs) of the books will be donated to educational charities in Bermuda.
Why an investing book for Bermuda residents? There is virtually no local broad independent Bermuda investment data that can be accessed and utilised for making informed personal investment decisions. Yes, each local financial firm has their own proprietary investment information, and investors are routinely flooded with internet overseas investment offers, but that is not the same as being able, for instance, to compare a mutual fund offered by one domestic firm against a similar offering in another firm. The information is just not there. Consequently, investors, both beginners and experienced individuals, for years have voiced frustration over the difficulty in figuring out how to invest, where to invest, and what to invest in.
The complexity of investments in our international financial centre of Bermuda abounds. Investment choices are confusing and often ambiguous. As an international financial planner and tax advisor, it is my mandated professional business due diligence to understand our investment environment, that is what I do. It is also been a passionate mission for me to provide broad access to independently derived financial information. I know that financial literacy is eagerly sought and needed when investors ask me if the interest rate on a mutual fund is guaranteed, or casually say, after it is explained that they've invested far too much of their hard earned dollars in a high risk alternative class hedge fund, “but they are nice people”. Nice is meaningless, if you lose your capital.
Bermuda financial products are related to the global investment world, but you have to have the equipment, the software, and the knowledge to locate them elsewhere. The big favourite financial websites such as Yahoo! finance are great for general information if you are domestically resident in the United States or the United Kingdom, for instance.
Here are a few of the topics to be covered, along with the chapter titles:
l Why would cash be considered an investment? There are many types of cash, more than you realise, real cash, near cash, leveraged cash, currency holding choices, risk and safety consideration.
l Basic investments, types of securities and vehicles, their structures, their appropriateness for you, their best and bad sides.
l Products and plans available, but options to purchase and availability may be limited in Bermuda without some ingenuity.
l Bermuda and global investments detailed
l Needing help with your decisions? Understanding the experience of your financial sales representative, professional credentials, licenses and qualifications.
l Do it yourself? Should you deal face to face or through an anonymous electronic person or system.
l Tired of working blind by investing in what you don't understand. Develop your investment knowledge and get up to speed. Your pension (and retirement), if nothing else depends upon you actively monitoring your investment results.
l Multi-generational multinational family investment and planning issues
l Investment tax traps (and the ever increasing burden of tax compliance issues) for Bermudians with asset connections outside Bermuda as well as dual-nationals with United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and other jurisdictional citizenships.
The Chapters will be presented as follows, with the first commencing October 21, 2011.
1. Why invest? The elements of cash and currency plays; your pension may be your largest investment, are you paying attention?
2. Stocks: the concept of capital through a ubiquitous mom and pop pizza operation
3. Bonds: debt glorified, ratified, but always a promise to repay, never ownership
4. Mutual funds, all sizes, all shapes, almost something for everyone for a fee
5. Exchange traded funds and structured notes
6. Alternative classes
7. The use of leverage, margins, and management of market risk strategies
8. Derivations, options and other hard to understand, let alone buy, investment vehicles
9. Fees, commissions, licenses and full disclosure of vested interests from your investment provider
10. Choosing (and trusting) your financial salesperson. Always remember, what is in it for them.
11. Financial behaviour, risk, fear and capital market volatility
12. International tax implications inherent in all investments. Yes, you have to consider these issues as well.
13. The really hard parts: the investing process, establishing an account, reading the investment statements, understanding information in a prospectus, filtering through generic sales pitches (internet, physical) to what is relevant for your investment needs, setting up a comfortable investment allocation.
Finally, I am asking you, dear readers, to submit your questions on investments (and investing stories) to me at martha.myron[AT]gmail.com Your questions and answers will be posted the subsequent week in the column. Your questions and answers will be kept completely confidential and anonymous know that as a licensed investment professional, I am mandated to adhere to confidentiality standards. Individual defining circumstances will also be changed so that your situation cannot be identified.
The Royal Gazette, Hamilton, Bermuda. It is protected under international copyright laws. Appropriation, excerpts, and unauthorised use of this content by others for presentations, websites, or business investment purposes and other related financial planning purposes without the express written consent of the author and The Royal Gazette, is prohibited. It was never a consideration years ago that we would have to publish these warnings, but routinely now, Moneywise: Bermuda articles have been lifted wholesale and represented by others, individually, in articles and on other websites as someone else's original work.
© Copyright Martha Harris Myron. Disclosure on copyright issues. At this point, you are cautioned that the material presented in these articles is original intellectual property, copyrighted to the author, Martha Harris Myron, with second copyright to
The author is an independent international Certified Financial Planner. She does not hold, buy or sell local Bermuda investment products, nor make recommendations for any specific investment products obtained elsewhere. These articles are for information and educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific individual investment advice. You should seek investment advice for your personal situation from qualified licensed investment professionals.
Martha Myron, JP CPA CFP®(USA) TEP is an international Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner in private wealth management. She specialises in independent fee-only cross border investment, tax, estate, and strategic retirement planning services for Bermuda residents with United States and multinational connections, and US citizens living and working abroad. Member of the American Citizens Abroad Tax Advisory Council and Country Contact for American Citizens Abroad in Bermuda. www.americansabroad.org For more information contact mmyron[AT]patterson-partners.com or 296 3528 at Patterson Partners Ltd.