Monkey Stocks – 3 Years on

Anyone around when I announced the winner of my Monkey Stocks League Challenge?

Anyway, as promised in my 2-year update, I bring you the ‘what happened next after 3 years’ update.

Monkey Stocks?

Here’s how I came up with the idea of running my own Monkey Stocks League Challenge.

The majority of the £500 portfolios (consisting of 5 stocks each) which lined up in September 2015 were made up of stocks/shares (from FTSE 350) and were randomly picked out of a hat.

A handful of daft brave souls followed me in purchasing their random stocks for real!

The league also had a couple of portfolios chosen by experts (John K and Huw) and of course, we had M’s infamous portfolio, based on the Dogs of the FTSE strategy, which was the runaway winner of the league after both 1 and 2 years.

One Year vs Two Years vs Three Years

As a reminder, here’s how the top 10 finished after Year 1:

Here’s how the top ten (and the rest of the league) looked after Year 2:

And here are the scores on the doors after Year 3:

Zombie annihilation, with Mr Z’s Undead Monkey Fund taking the top spot, more than doubling his initial investment.

What’s in the winning portfolio?

Three not-so-great shares but the humongous gain (and dividend) from Evraz (EVR) more than made up for those losses (apparently, Roman Abramovich is a majority shareholder – only just found that out!). Of course, EVR is also one of my own Dogs of the FTSE shares…

Anyway, after one year, only 8 portfolios made gains of >10% and there were 10 portfolios showing losses.

After two years, 17 portfolios made gains of >10% (12 of them >20%) and there were only 3 portfolios showing very small losses.

After three years, again, 17 portfolios made gains of >10% (14 of them >20%), with 5 portfolios showing losses.

John K’s Pigmamig Fund was one of those which ended up in the negative after 3 years, but had this been a real portfolio, I’m sure John would have gotten rid of some/all of those stocks to minimise/avoid losses using his own investing strategy.

Still Steady Eddy

Mention must be made of diy’s Mutley’s Magic Formula fund which continued to maintain its steady process and remained in the top 10. This fund was based on Vanguard’s 60% LifeStrategy Fund, ending up with a gain of 34%. Definitely one for the passive investors and one which I will invest in myself.

Random Strategy?

Of course, as before, in no way am I recommending that randomly selecting stocks is a viable investing strategy, though I find it’s a fascinating one, which appeals to my gambling curious nature!

Did my experiment show that randomly picking shares ‘might not’ result in disaster?

It could have all gone horribly wrong, especially as you could have been unlucky and ended up picking Carillion…

Alternatively, fortune could have shone on you and you could have randomly chosen ones like this lot and celebrated seeing your investment quadruple:

Or you could get something in between and according to the experiment, that doesn’t look too bad, with the average gain being 29% over 3 years. Better than sitting 3 years in a cash ISA

Of course, we have seen the FTSE breaking records these past three years. What would  have happened if there was a big Bear market?

No More Updates

A 3-year measurement still isn’t great for a buy and hold strategy but this will be my last update for this league. Whilst the first year was fun (especially as there was a trophy at stake!), it was a complete chore getting all the dividends for the 100+ companies, plus I had to find out what happened to companies which were bought out/sold, changed names or were no longer trading.

I’m still very much interested in the random walk theory in relation to investing so I won’t rule out creating another small experimental portfolio in the future (and again with real money).  Sorry, I won’t be running another such league though – far too much effort and not nearly enough people with skin in the game!

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this experiment and if after your own research you fancy running something similar, I’d be interested to hear about it!

Dogs of The FTSE – Q2 (2018)

It’s been around 6 months since I set up my second experimental Dogs of the FTSE portfolio, so it’s time for another quick update.

Note that this is not part of my main investing strategy, it’s just a ‘fun’ part of my portfolio but any dividends earned are reinvested.

So how have these unloved shares done?

As at close of trading on 20th July 2018, the portfolio was showing a 10.84% gain from its starting value.

Including dividends received, it’s a 14.44% gain.

Over the same period, the FTSE 100 Total Return was 7.95% so the Dogs are still looking good on both counts so far.

However, since we know that anything can happen to make the markets jittery (trade wars, for example…), I’m not celebrating just yet!

Next update in another 3 months’ time!

May 2018 Savings, plus other updates

After what felt like the longest winter ever, we were able to bask in a glorious and sunny May!  Being a ‘sun worshipper’, I enjoyed hours of reading and topping up my tan in the garden. It’s probably just as well that we don’t have that much sunshine here normally, else I’d get absolutely nothing done over the weekends!

And who didn’t shed a tear watching the Royal Wedding? Ok, maybe it was just me! I’m a fan of the TV show Suits so still can’t believe ‘Rachel Zane’ has married a prince!

Anyway, how did I get on with my savings this month?

I saved 36.3%! My average savings rate has now gone down to 48.5%.  Had a couple of unplanned social outings and as mentioned last month, I had to pay my sister back as she’d booked and paid for my ‘holiday within a holiday’ (a few days in Thailand). These next few months are going to be rather ‘spendy’ so I probably won’t be able to tighten up the finances until after the summer.

The above savings was topped up with £24.80 from TopCashback*£500 matched betting funds (used to invest in Freetrade as per my previous post), and £133.91 affiliate income from OddsMonkey (thanks to all who signed up via my links!).

Shares and Investment Trusts

No new investments, I just topped up existing ones.

Current share/IT portfolio can be found here.

(Entire portfolio here)

Future Fund 

The markets have been going up, although shenanigans around the world might make it go down again. Whatever. In any case, my Future Fund has jumped quite a bit, now at £143,620, steadily making progress towards my next big milestone.

Dividends and Other Income

Dividends received this month: Continue reading

Wisdom of the Crowds

The idea of ‘wisdom of the crowds’ has always intrigued me and I’ve parted with a bit of money through crowdfunding, including charity and property crowdfunding, which I posted about here.

My most recent bit of crowdfunding ‘investing’ was when I bought some shares in BrewDog – less to make money, more because I like the product!

Another Crowdfunding Investment

Some of you may recall that when I set my goals in January, I mentioned that I was going to do some ‘trading’ and was on a waiting list for a new app, although by ‘trading’, what I really probably meant was not ‘holding’ long-term.

Five months later, this still hasn’t materialised and while I was waiting, I came across the chance to invest in another app, namely Freetrade via CrowdCube.

The company was looking for an investment of £500,000 – this target was reached in just 12 minutes!

After 28 hours, funding was capped at £3.1m and it became Crowdcube’s most overfunded equity offering ever.

What’s in the Box?

Freetrade has been touted as the UK equivalent of the US investment app Robinhood, which allows you to trade stocks for 0% commission.

Freetrade’s interesting tag line is: “Invest for free, forever.”

Bold words indeed – perhaps the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown aren’t quite quaking in their expensive shoes but I’m sure they will follow the progress of this app with interest.

Its pricing plan is like many of the ‘free’ apps you can download – you get a basic service for free but if you want some bells and whistles, you pay for a premium account – an ‘Alpha’ account in this case.

It’s very competitive though – check out the price list here and it looks like you can buy ‘fractional shares’- not sure how dividends would work in this case though.

There’s been mention that crypto currencies might be available on the app at a later date but I’m not tempted as that’s a gamble too far, even for a gambler like me!

Also, it’ll be interesting to see the app in amongst Monevator’s broker comparison list.

The app is being slowly onboarded (there’s a big waiting list) – my time in the queue will probably be even longer as I have to wait for the Android version of the app but I’ll probably do a proper review once I’ve got my mitts on it and tested it out.

I could be tempted to buy bits of the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) – why? Just cos it’ll sound ace to my friends – they needn’t know I’ve just got a fraction of a share, haha! Naah, most likely I’ll stick to stocks closer to home.

As you can already gather, I’m likely to just be using ‘fun money’ (ie matched betting profits) for this – right now, I can’t envisage transferring one of my existing ISAs here but I’m excited about the possibility of saving on trading fees for my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio.

Anyway, there’s not a lot more I can say, except that there’s a nifty little Freetrade forum and community building already and I can’t wait to have a play on app!

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend!

[Disclaimer – I have no affiliation whatsoever with Freetrade and this is not a recommendation to download the app (although it is free). There are no referral links in this post, even though I do have a link but all it does is shove me up the waiting list – I think I can wait!]

PS – Everyone GDPR ready?

Here’s a comic strip which sums things up…