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Understanding Investing 简体中文网页 Members section

United Kingdom

Investment is a complicated business and it is not always easy to decide how – or where – to invest your money. The internet is a useful source of information; however, with an infinite amount of facts, data and advice available, it’s difficult to know where to look first.

This guide aims to help you to navigate your way through the maze of facts, figures and information, and provides links to useful websites, ranging from regulatory and trade bodies to consumer advisory services. After all, if you are equipped with the right information, you are well placed to make the right decisions.

You will find information on

Regulatory bodies

A regulator is set up in the public interest to oversee, control and, if necessary, intervene in the activities and operations of a particular trade or industry. Regulators are responsible for making rules, performing investigations and enforcing the rules.

Regulator: UK

The Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent organisation that regulates the UK financial services industry. The FSA was established by the UK government and regulates most financial services companies, markets and exchanges, with the exception of credit-rating agencies, which are regulated by the European Securities & Markets Agency (ESMA). The FSA’s website includes information about the FSA’s policies and activities, as well as help and information for consumers.

Contact details for the FSA

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

25 The North Colonnade

Canary Wharf

London

E14 5HS

www.fsa.gov.uk

Consumer helpline: 0845 606 1234

Email: consumer.queries@fsa.gov.uk;

Regulator: Luxembourg

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF)

The CSSF oversees market operators in Luxembourg, including banks, investment funds, pension funds, securities dealers and other professionals in the financial market sector. It monitors compliance with regulatory requirements, the quality of organisations and their internal controls and risk management, and the overall stability of the financial market. The CSSF’s website includes information on regulation, market statistics and investor protection in French and English.

Contact details for the CSSF

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF)

110, route d`Arlon

L-2991 Luxembourg

www.cssf.lu

Email: direction@cssf.lu

Fund Associations

Fund associations are the trade associations of the investment industry and their membership is largely composed of fund management companies, asset managers and investment funds. They aim to promote the interests of the investment industry and to encourage investment in funds. Their websites provide a wide range of information relating to the fund management industry, as well as useful information for consumers.

Fund associations: UK

The Investment Management Association (IMA)

The Investment Management Association (IMA) is the trade association for the UK investment management industry, and accounts for 90% of the industry in the UK. The IMA’s role is to promote high standards within the industry and to promote the industry’s interests to the government and regulators.

The IMA classifies funds by sector, and this approach is intended to assist investors and investment advisers. The funds within the different sectors are regularly monitored to ensure that they comply with the IMA’s stated sector definitions. The IMA’s website includes a Consumer Centre that provides useful information and factsheets for consumers.

Contact details for the IMA

Investment Management Association (IMA)

65 Kingsway

London

WC2B 6TD

www.investmentfunds.org.uk/

Tel: 020 7831 0898

Fax: 020 7831 9975

Email: ima@investmentuk.org

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC)

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) is the trade association for closed-ended investment companies. The AIC represents a wide range of closed-ended investment companies, including investment trusts, offshore investment companies and venture-capital trusts (VCTs). The AIC’s work focuses public affairs and lobbying, technical advice and guidance, support services for directors, communication and media relations, and statistics and information.

Contact details for the AIC

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC)

9th Floor

24 Chiswell Street

London

EC1Y 4YY

www.theaic.co.uk/

Tel: 020 7282 5555

Fax: 020 7282 5556

Email:enquiries@theaic.co.uk

Association Luxembourgoise des Fonds d’investissement (ALFI)

ALFI represents Luxembourg’s fund industry. Besides investment funds and fund management companies, membership is also open to service providers in the fund industry, custodians, law firms and chartered accountants.  ALFI aims to promote Luxembourg as an attractive international centre for investment funds. ALFI’s website provides information on regulatory issues, publications and statistics on the fund markets of Europe and Luxembourg. The Investor Centre also provides basic information on investment in funds.

Contact details for ALFI

Association Luxembourgoise des Fonds d’investissement (ALFI)

12, rue Erasme
L-1468 Luxembourg
www.alfi.lu

Tel: +352 22 30 26 1

Fax: +352 22 30 93

E-mail: info@alfi.lu

Investor education and guidance

There is a huge amount of information available on funds and investment companies. The internet is a great place to begin, and many established organisations provide useful information and guidance to help you to make the best possible start.

Getting started

  • Moneymadeclear provides impartial information, guidance and tools to help UK savers and consumers to make decisions that are appropriate for them. Moneymadeclear is provided by the UK’s Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB), established by the FSA.
  • The Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) monitors standards and provides support, guidance and services for UK consumers.  CAB provides helpful information and guidance for UK consumers on savings and investments. 
  • Consumer group Which? focuses on consumer issues, providing independent, impartial information and campaigning for consumers’ rights. Which? believes the financial services industry should be responsible and should provide consumers with transparent, value-for money products that meet their needs. Which? provides a guide to investing that includes basic information and pointers on how to get started.

General information about investing

  • The IMA provides pocket guides intended to make saving and investing easier to understand and which explain what you should consider before you decide to invest.
  • The Investors Chronicle is one of the UK’s biggest-selling current affairs magazines (Source: Press Gazette, 12 Aug 2010, http://tinyurl.com/67oevp5) and provides weekly stock-market analysis and information. Investors can obtain free guides on investment and funds from the website, including The Golden Rules of Investment.
  • The Motley Fool provides information for all kinds of investors, and its website includes articles, facts and figures on investment funds and portfolio management. This link provides information on investment funds and how they work.

How to invest

Investors can buy units in funds through several different channels. Units can be purchased directly from the fund provider.  Alternatively, individuals can invest via a web-based fund supermarket. Information on fund supermarkets can be found here:

http://www.moneymadeclear.org.uk/products/investments/platforms.html

However, in order to make the right decision, it might be worth taking professional advice from an independent adviser, who can also undertake purchases and sales on your behalf. 

Funds and fund management companies

Having decided how to invest, investors need to decide where to invest. With a myriad of fund management companies and an almost infinite number and variety of possible funds from which to choose, it can be difficult to know where to start. The following links provide information on fund management companies and their funds.

UK

Lists of authorised UK investment companies and funds can be found here:

The Investment Management Association (IMA)

http://www.investmentfunds.org.uk/consumer-centre/find-a-fund-manager

and

http://www.investmentfunds.org.uk/consumer-centre/find-a-fund

Luxembourg

  • Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI)

Lists of investment companies and funds authorised by ALFI in Luxembourg can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/64xpg6n

and

http://tinyurl.com/6egg55z

  • Finesti

Finesti produces, streamlines and publishes information on investment management companies and funds to a wide range of users, from the generators of investment fund information to consumers. Based in Luxembourg, Finesti is a subsidiary of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

http://www.finesti.com/Accueil.jsp

Funds and taxation

Taxation is an area that no investor can afford to ignore. From income tax on dividends to capital gains tax on disposals, it is important to understand how your decisions can affect your tax position. 

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides information about income tax on investments.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxon/uk.htm

HMRC also provides information on Capital Gains Tax (CGT), which might be incurred when selling units in a fund.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxon/sale-shares.htm

The IMA provides a useful factsheet that explains taxation on income from investment funds and outlines the information that must be provided to HMRC.

http://tinyurl.com/6auzh2t

Funds and retirement

As the UK population continues to get older, the issue of financing retirement has become more and more important. Over recent years, successive governments have stressed the need for British individuals to take more responsibility for financing their own retirement. 

  • Age UK (formerly Help the Aged and Age Concern) is a charitable body working to improve life for UK pensioners. Its website provides facts and advice on money matters, including pensions and annuities. 
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provides a pensions guide that includes information on types of pension, starting a pension and getting financial advice.

Legal

If something goes wrong, do not panic. There are several organisations set up to protect you and your money if you are the victim of crime, fraud or mismanagement.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) pays compensation to investors if a firm is unable – or likely to become unable – to meet claims against it. The FSCS covers companies authorised by the FSA, and protects deposits, insurance policies and broking, investment business and mortgage advice and arranging. The FSCS provides different levels of compensation depending on the type of investment involved.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) was established by the government to provide greater protection of defined benefit schemes if the employer becomes insolvent and the pension scheme does not contain sufficient assets to cover PPF levels of compensation.

The Financial Ombudsman is an independent, impartial body that resolves individual complaints that consumers and financial companies have been unable to resolve. It does not make rules for businesses, or impose fines if rules have been broken; this is the role of the relevant regulatory body.

Fraudulent activity

The IMA provides details of various organisations that provide information on protecting your assets.

Literature

If you want to delve deeper into the world of savings and investments, the following publications provide information, guidance and different viewpoints.

  • Getting started in Mutual Funds (Alvin D. Hall; John Wiley & Sons;  2011)
  • Mutual Funds for Dummies (Eric Tyson; John Wiley & Sons; 2010)
  • Companion to Mutual Funds (John Haslem; John Wiley & Sons; 2010)
  • The FinancialTimes Guide to Investing: The Definitive Companion to Investment and the Financial Markets (Glen Arnold, Financial Times/Prentice Hall; 2009)
  • Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: Five Star Strategies for Success (Christine Benz; John Wiley & Sons; 2007)
  • Fundology: The Secrets of Successful Fund Investing (John Chatfeild-Roberts; Harriman House Publishing; 2006)

Glossaries

The world of investment is packed with words and terminology that can be confusing. The following sites include helpful glossaries for common investment terms.

Updated on 29/03/12  
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