How I Sold My Company Shares To Become A Private Investor

Stuart spent more than 25 years in retail marketing, beginning his investment journey on the eve of the pandemic after selling his shares in the retail marketing company, where he has been Managing Director. Passionate about investing in sustainability, property, and start-ups, he has built a portfolio to utilise his wealth to the best effect.

Your background and experience

I was an operationally-focused Managing Director of a design agency for 25+ years.  In March 2020, I sold my shares in the business, which was part of a global group. I was incredibly fortunate because one week after receiving the money, Covid hit and two weeks after this the government changed entrepreneurs’ allowance.

Part of the sale of my shares included a succession plan and I have recently become a Group Chairman, reducing my working time to 3 days per week.

Why you invest and your goals for investing

Changing my role has given me more time to think about my personal finances and the future. When you sell shares and end up with a lump of money, you naturally begin to think OK maybe I need to start utilising that wealth to best effect. That’s why I started investing.

Your investment strategy

Personally, my investment strategy was to create a portfolio that was layered so that it gives me the essential element of security for the future. I included low-risk markets investment with a focus on sustainability and the sustainable share market. I also do a small amount of property investment personally and through Brickowner. Finally, I do a little bit of angel investment.

I am not a market shares expert by any stretch of the imagination so I would rather pay for a managed shares dealing and have a professional do that for me.

My angel investments have been where I have gone out and found a start-up that is local to me and needs a little bit of investment, but more so needs some business mentoring. I help them by looking at what they are doing and where they are going and help set a 3 and 5-year strategy. What I like about start-up investment is that I can use my knowledge to give a little more back to people.

Currently, the combination of investments I have is as follows:

  • 15% – NS&I secured savings
  • 35% – PIMS (managed share dealing)
  • 42% – Owned property
  • 4% – Property development via Brickowner
  • 4% – Angel investment (includes business mentoring)

Your outlook on the market

My outlook on the market is that it is turbulent. We have had Brexit, Covid, material increases, supply chain issues, energy supply increases, political unrest and now the Ukraine situation all combine to create massive uncertainty.

This makes it essential to maintain a balanced portfolio, with an emphasis on secure cash saving, property and low-risk, managed share dealing.

Whilst I do have a high proportion in managed share dealing, at the same time, because I have that emphasis on sustainability, I feel it has been less impacted by all these factors than perhaps other markets.

What works for you and what hasn’t?

Getting impartial advice is essential to make a reasoned judgment on what to do with the assets you have worked for all your life. I spoke to independent financial advisors, banks and accountants – this has worked for me.

It is important to find a company you trust, that explains things in plain English and have a good track record. I have to say Brickowner is a shining example of building trust through clear communication. Adam very quickly in the conversations I had with him, identified my level of knowledge and he adjusts the way that he communicates accordingly.

In the past, what hasn’t worked for me is trying to analyse the markets myself. I do not have the knowledge, experience or time! There is the potential when investing to make huge mistakes, which I don’t want to do.

Any advice to other investors?

The biggest advice I can give is, do not invest what you cannot afford to lose. How I set up my portfolio means if the riskier side were to go, and that’s a fair proportion, I would still be in a fairly secure position. That for me is very important.

Talk to the experts in each field of investment. Create a balanced portfolio that meets your needs. I concluded that the only guarantees in terms of where you put your money are in cash and property.

Use the knowledge, experience, and expertise you have gained. For me, that was over the years of being in business to help others start their journey. This is quite fulfilling and is a good investment of my time and I get a return on that.

The final point I would make is, wherever you do invest … enjoy it! Try not to put yourself under pressure by thinking this has got to make money. If you’re not doing it because you must generate that interest to survive then actually you can enjoy it. The markets are going to go down, as well as up, but part of the fun is seeing when they are going to recover.