Our clients depend on our intimate understanding of the financial markets. By far, we are most active on their behalf within 3 core asset classes.
These are often referred to as shares or stocks. An equity is simply an asset that entitles a holder (share or stockholder) to a part of the company and/or its profits. Most ordinary shares entitle the holder to vote at the issuing company’s annual general meeting. Many shares will pay a dividend which is a periodical payment made at the discretion of the board of directors. Dividends can be increased, decreased or withheld entirely.
Equities can be traded on exchanges in the country in which the company is based although many very large organizations have their shares traded in other countries. Equities have been relied upon over many years to build wealth and are a staple in many investment portfolios. The price of equities can be subject to mild or wild fluctuations depending on the issuing company and the sentiment of the market towards it.
Fixed Income refers to product that pays a yield on a regular basis. They are often called bonds or treasuries and are essentially loans that are packaged in the form of a security product. Corporations, municipal authorities or governments issue bonds to secure access to capital from investors. In return for lending the issuer money, the issuer pays an agreed return (yield) at regular intervals for the duration of the loan. Once the bond term ends (maturity) the issuer must repay the principal sum paid for the bond.
Bonds are generally considered safe investments as issuers are often very credit worthy and their prices are not as subject to wild fluctuations as equities.
Bond holders enjoy a certain level of protection in many jurisdictions as an issuer that, for example, declares bankruptcy will have to pay its creditors before any money is distributed to shareholders who often end up with worthless stock.
Commodities are generally raw materials. Goods like gold, silver, iron, copper, oil, wheat can be traded on dedicated exchanges around the world. Commodities exchanges set a quality benchmark for the commodity but the market sets the price based on supply and demand dynamics. Most commodities are priced in the world’s reserve currency, the US dollar. Many investors access the potential of price increases in commodities through ETFs or exchange-traded funds which track the price of the underlying good. Investors can actually take delivery of the commodity if they wish and this is common in gold and silver markets.