Leading Fund Manager Encourages Barbadians To Take Greater Stock Of Finances In 2015

A leading fund management company is encouraging more Barbadians to invest in mutual funds in 2015, and is on a drive to make them more aware of their benefits. Chris Callender, portfolio manager with Fortress Fund Managers says that the fund manager is seeking to help Barbadian investors take greater stock of their finances into […]

By Fortress Fund Managers

February 14, 2015

A leading fund management company is encouraging more Barbadians to invest in mutual funds in 2015, and is on a drive to make them more aware of their benefits.

Chris Callender - Portfolio Manager
Chris Callender – Portfolio Manager

Chris Callender, portfolio manager with Fortress Fund Managers says that the fund manager is seeking to help Barbadian investors take greater stock of their finances into 2015 and become more aware of mutual funds as an attractive investment option. Acknowledging that many investors had become less inclined to invest in mutual funds after the removal of the tax allowance in 2010, he said that there were still significant benefits to be derived.

“For example, while mutual funds no longer offer tax deductions for the Barbados taxpayer, investors can still qualify for up to $10,000 in deductions each year from their personal assessable income if they invest in shares of Fortress mutual funds through our Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP),” Mr. Callender explained.

Barbadians can also invest in mutual funds through Fortress’ products which have grown from the original Caribbean Growth Fund in 1996 to 12 Barbados and U.S. dollar funds, he said.

According to the Portfolio Manager long-term savers stand to benefit most from investing in mutual funds. “When you look at places like Canada such as, there is a reported CDN $1.5 trillion in bank deposits and CDN $1.1 trillion in mutual fund investments. In Barbados it’s believed that we have BBD $8.4 billion in bank deposits while it’s estimated that there’s less than BBD $1 billion invested in mutual funds. So we see a huge amount of room for the proportion of mutual fund assets to shift higher in Barbados, especially as bank deposit rates inch lower.”

Investment for as little as $100

Other benefits of mutual funds, Mr. Callender noted, include their low-cost since people could start investing for as little as $100. He went on to add that mutual funds also tended to earn a higher rate of return on investment than savings in a bank account especially over the longer term.

Furthermore the money invested in mutual funds is spread out in different assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate so that investors’ “eggs are in more than one basket.” “This way investors are not overly exposed to the fortunes of any one investment, while benefitting from the returns of many investments and broad geographical diversification,” Mr. Callender explained.

Mr. Callender also noted that Fortress Fund Managers selected and oversaw its mutual funds in a cost-effective manner designed to mitigate risk and earn an attractive return over the long-term. “Our investors don’t have to worry about monitoring all the holdings where their ‘eggs’ are invested,” he explained.

Not the wisest of decisions

Michael Lashley, a panelist at Fortress’ last investment forum, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lashley Financial has also encouraged more Barbadians to view mutual funds as an easily accessible investment vehicle. He said that some had stopped their investment after the tax benefit was removed, adding that this was “perhaps not the wisest of decisions.”

Lashley explained: “This is unfortunate because investments in mutual funds are perhaps one of the best vehicles for the average investor. Really, what we should be doing is investing for the purpose of the investment as opposed to the tax benefit. So you should decide what you want to do in terms of investments and then look for a tax-efficient instrument if there’s one.”

Mutual funds are monies pooled together from investors to buy stock in different companies, bonds, or other investments such as real estate. The funds are divided into shares and each investor in the fund buys an amount of shares that corresponds to their investment amount. The price of each share is known as the Net Asset Value (NAV).

Persons interested in finding out more about mutual funds can visit www.fortressfund.com or call 431-2198.

Fortress Fund Managers

In existence for over 20 years, Fortress Fund Managers have developed a reputation of being a trusted manager of mutual funds in the Caribbean and global markets. Its slate of funds covers the asset classes of equities and fixed income, providing stellar performances over the years. Fortress is also a leading provider of pension management and administration services to companies of all sizes, and to individuals.