Sit back and wait for shares to deliver

The stock market is a volatile place, with share prices fluctuating on fears of rises in interest rates. And there is plenty of nervousness about the possible impact of the millennium bug on economic life, writes Tony Lyons.

So is now a good time to be contemplating buying equities, especially if you are a first-time investor?

Yes, if you are looking to invest for the "long term" - meaning five years or, ideally, much longer. If you are looking to park your money for a year or two then equities are probably not for you.

"If you feel comfortable doing your own research and want total control of your own affairs, why not invest directly?" asks Gavin Oldham of the Share Centre, one of the cheapest discount stockbrokers.

It is wise to invest in a number of companies. If you buy into just one or two you risk being over-exposed if their fortunes decline. There is no shortage of advice available on how to invest and how to find the shares best suited to your investment aims. Look at what is available in print and on the internet (the Motley Fool site at www.fool.co.uk has lots of information and entertaining bulletin boards). Proshare, which promotes private shareholding, has helpful fact sheets. The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS) can provide a list of brokers.

Alternatively, get together with friends or colleagues and form a share club (see box). This is suitable for groups of up to 20 people who are prepared to put a regular amount into buying shares each month. Most advisers reckon that to have a suitably wide individual portfolio, you should invest pounds 10,000 or more.

Contacts: Proshare, 0171-394 5200; APCIMS, 0171-247 7080; M&G, 0800 390390; Newton, 0800 614330; Henderson, 0800 832832; Virgin, 0345 900900; Fidelity, 0800 414161; Share Centre, 0800 800008; Barclays Stockbrokers, 0800 551177; Lloyds Stockbrokers, 0345 888200.

SHARE CLUBS

Share clubs are a good way to invest with a group of like-minded friends. In effect a partnership, they allow up to 20 individuals to pool resources and buy and sell shares. Today there are more than 2,000 such clubs, with more than 25,000 members. Typically, members meet monthly, each contributing on average around pounds 25 to pounds 30 a month, says Proshare, the not-for-profit organisation that promotes private share ownership. Every club has an elected chairman, secretary and treasurer. Meetings should have a fixed agenda and formal minutes should be kept so that everyone knows what is going on. You will need to select a stockbroker and decide how shares should be held. A number of stockbrokers offer special deals including keen brokerage rates. Proshare sells a share clubs manual for pounds 25.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine