Investing in Challenging Times

Tips for investing in challenging economic times

Good Advice for Hard Times

An economic downturn usually makes people more aware of the importance of saving and spending their money wisely.  Here are a few tips you can adopt to help you manage your money wisely during such periods.

 Pay off your debt

The repayment of debt is the best investment you can ever make. A downturn in the economy means fewer job opportunities, wage cuts, and rising unemployment. In order to protect yourself, it is wise to repair your personal balance sheet. Reduce your spending and use the money you save to reduce personal debt first (credit cards, overdrafts, loans), then your mortgage. Build a cash cushion to help meet unexpected bills or to cover expenditure if your income falls.

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How Do I Build An Investment Portfolio?

You should establish your investment strategy by deciding on the mix of investment products (assets) that you seek to purchase. The saying Don’t put your eggs in one basket” is very relevant to investing success. In building your investment portfolio you can spread your money across different classes of investments, including:

1. Cash and Cash Equivalents 

  • High liquidity,easy to get your money when you need it
  • Provide lower return, but with almost no risk

Examples: Savings accounts, money market funds, and treasury bills. 

2. Fixed Income Investments 

  • Offer a fixed rate of return that doesn’t change
  • Provide a steady flow of income
  • Can lower your investment risk

Examples: Bonds, bond mutual funds

3. Equity Investments 

  • Buy a share of ownership in a company
  • Are riskier than fixed income investments
  • Offer the potential to make far more than a fixed income investment or cash equivalent

Future value is uncertain, and will be affected by:

  1. How well the company is doing now and its future growth
  2. News events specific to the company
  3. Economic trends

Examples: You can buy shares of an individual company’s stock, or buy units of a mutual fund that invests in the stocks of many companies.

To build your investment portfolio, choose from one or more of these asset classes to get the right balance of risk and return for you.

Remember, a well thought out asset mix is the key to your investment success. In most cases, when you mix your classes of investments, you reduce the risks associated with investing. 

FAQ How The TTSEC Handles Complaints

1. What type of action could be initiated by the TTSEC in regard to a complaint by an investor?

  • Conducting investigations and holding hearings
  • Initiating criminal proceedings in summary courts against persons for failing to comply with the Act
  • Imposing of penalties for various contraventions of the Act, By-laws or Orders
  • Making certain remedial orders e.g. cease trade orders

2. How do I go about lodging a complaint with the TTSEC?

There are 3 methods of lodging a complaint

a. You can complete our online complaint form located on the home page of our website

b. You can download the complaint form in PDF and submit via fax or post to the TTSEC’s office

c. You may file a written complaint to the Commission and submit via fax or phone to the TTSEC’s office

3. What happens when a complaint is lodged with the TTSEC?

  • The Commission will acknowledge receipt of your complaint. The letter will provide you witha reference number which you will need to quote when contacting our offices.
  • The Commission has the authority to investigate if the complaint has been aggrieved by any act of any individual or company falling under the Securities Act.
  • The Commission reviews complaints made against registrants (broker-dealers, investment advisers, underwriters, reporting issuers). If the actions of these individuals or companies suggest possible breaches of the Act, further investigation may be warranted.
  • To protect the integrity of an investigation, the Commission shall not comment on the existence, status or nature of an investigation being conducted by staff until the matter becomes one of public record.
  • An investigation becomes public when the TTSEC brings a proceeding in court or a public hearing before the Commission.
  • Once the investigation is complete, the Commission will take a decision on the matter and may make an order based on the decision and in keeping with section 50(4) of the Act.
  • The outcome of our investigations will be communicated to the complainant
  • Decisions that are in the national interest will be published in the newspaper as well as on the Commission’s website.

For more helpful tips on investing and the role of the TTSEC check out our website at http://www.ttsec.org.tt or call 624-29991.

How To File A Securities Complaint

If you have a problem with an investment product you have purchased or the service that you have received, you are entitled to complain and receive some form of redress.

As an investor you have the right to:

  • Receive a clearly defined process for raising and resolving complaints: and
  • Receive information about alternatives available to you if the firm is unable  to resolve a dispute to your satisfaction.

If you are dissatisfied with the company’s response to your complaint or if you are unable to resolve your complaint with the company you should request a letter from the company stating its final position on your complaint. You should also make a note of any persons at the company with whom you discussed the matter.

Once you have a written response from the company and you are still displeased with their response you can choose to file a complaint with the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Commission has the authority to investigate complaints in respect of the securities industry and models its procedures on best practices in developed securities markets.

You may file a written complaint with the TTSEC by writing a clearlydetailed summary of your issue which includes all of the key elements relevant to your complaint.

The most important thing to remember when filing a complaint is that the Commission does not regulate risk, it regulates the market players to ensure that the rules of engagement are fair and transparent. Therefore, if your investment product is not doing as well as you expect this is not a complaint for the TTSEC since risk is linked to the investment.

For more information on how the TTSEC handles complaints see our FAQ in the next post!