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Investment & Portfolio Management: Author Q&A

6th November 2017 | Michelle Hardy, Ian Pagdin

Read about the authors' writing and research process, and their take on Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies

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  1.        Why did you decide on a co-authored volume?

Michelle Hardy [MH]: Deciding to work together was probably the easiest part of the publication process. Ian and I have taught on several modules together over the past few years and have found we work well together; we offer each other a sounding board for each other’s ideas and suggestions, leading to a synergy in our work. Investment and Portfolio Management is an extension of that process. Also, when you are putting yourself forward for public scrutiny you need to work with someone you trust and again working with Ian was and still is an easy choice. However, on a lighter note, but just as importantly, we make each other laugh – making the entire process far more enjoyable even where we are working to tight deadlines.

  1.        How have emerging disruptors such as Bitcoin currency affected established portfolio management practices?

Ian Pagdin [IP]: Until recently, Bitcoin and other similar crypto-currencies haven't disrupted established portfolio management practices as such investments have been firmly at the margins of investing. That is not to say main stream investment companies are not interested in the product and its development with Ethereum, a rival to Bitcoin, apparently backed by an alliance of banks and investors including JP Morgan, Santander, Microsoft and UBS. This position is now changing and there is a move towards the inclusion of crypto-currencies in retail products with funds such as ETF's available which invest in crypto-currencies including Bitcoin etc.

This widens the availability of the product and the market for investing to a class of investor who may not fully appreciate the risks of investing in an asset which has no underlying value, and like the Tulip bubble, amongst others before it, could suffer catastrophic losses virtually overnight, not least if investors pull the plug.

  1.        How long did it take to compile the research to put the book together?

MH: By its nature as a practical guide, a lot of what might be classed as ‘research’ has occurred during our working career and is based on questions asked of us by clients in the past. This has now been extended to include questions asked by students over years of teaching. We seek to help them understand a world which they have only experienced in the abstract through reading books rather than first-hand. We should, however, say that our knowledge and new discoveries in finance change and develop just as the finance world is changing and developing – we never stop learning and comparing notes to try to improve what we do.

That does lead us neatly to also talk about the examples we researched to add depth to descriptions and examples – development of these has been an ongoing process and has highlighted areas for further investigation for ourselves.

  1.        What are the overarching best practices to successful investment and portfolio management across international markets?

IP: The overarching best practice for any client in any market is not to invest money they cannot afford to lose as there will always be black swan events which investors, analysts and commentators do not foresee. That aside, international investing should follow the same rules as domestic investing but with the caveat that it operates in a more complex environment which may include areas individual investors may have limited knowledge of and feel unsure about, e.g. the effects of foreign exchange movements, political stability and the global interaction of government policies.

For a retail investor with limited knowledge, they may be safer investing on a fund basis where investment decisions are taken by a professional fund manager who is able to spend their working life watching and analyzing a particular market. Of course, as with all investment, past performance is no guarantee of future performance, but on the whole this is the less risky option.

About the authors: Michelle Hardy is a senior lecturer and module leader for several key modules on a variety of finance and international finance courses at Sheffield Hallam University. Her background is corporate banking and international wealth management for 14 years. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Ian Pagdin is Course Leader for Banking & Finance Masters and a variety of finance and international finance courses at Sheffield Hallam University. His background is finance, having worked in the finance industry for 22 years, including 19 years as an independent financial adviser.

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