Couldn't I do this myself?
Yes – but the evidence suggests that most DIY investors who track down the cheapest platforms end up reaping themselves negative returns…
Author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept of the 10,000 hour rule as the amount of time required to gain competence within a specific field. Applying this rule to investing - someone who has little experience such as a DIY investor is likely to make many mistakes — which is normal when learning any new skill.
For example, an inexperienced investor might think they’re well diversified when they’re not, they might trade frequently based on what they see on the news, or hold inappropriate investments in taxable or non-compliant accounts.
Even more importantly, in order to improve you need to receive useful feedback during your practice.
In Thinking Fast and Slow, the psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains that learning to drive is one activity where feedback is immediate and clear. When you’re taking corners, you instantly know whether you’ve turned the wheel too sharply or applied the brakes too hard. This makes it relatively easy to improve as a driver
But with investing, the size (or cost) of a mistake may not become apparent for quite some time - perhaps until it's too late to rectify.
Professional advice from someone who isn’t incentivised or paid by the industry in the form of commissions and hidden fees, but who represents your best interests, is therefore critical to getting things right first time.
This type of professional advice is best obtained from a fee-based, chartered financial planning organisation – not an individual with whom you play golf, who comes to your home, who works on commission/referrals, or whom you consider to be a friend.
A mountain of evidence demonstrates staggeringly different outcomes are obtained by those who take advice from commission-based investment salespeople (like banks and IFAs), those who do-it themselves (DIY/execution-only) and those who use a fiduciary/fee-based professional such as a chartered wealth manager from a chartered financial planning organisation.
And of course, chartered financial advisers have a minimum of 10,000 hours of professional experience...