Ms ZiYou Investment Portfolio

I’ll show my investment portfolio – will you show yours?

So as I settle into FIRE blogging, I realise I haven’t actually shared the nitty-gritty investing details yet of what’s actually in my investment portfolio. As in the actual investment instruments I hold and the amounts allocated to each. And more importantly, why I’ve made those decisions, and what I did to get comfortable with them. So here comes the numbers and details.

Investment Portfolio, what is this?

Firstly, let’s make sure we are on the same page. When I say my investment portfolio, I am referring to money I have invested in the stock market for long-term growth. For me, this is specifically my ISA, taxable investments and SIPP. These total around £424k in value. I don’t have anything any more spicy than these. You can also read the backstory on my evolution from saver to investor.

I am not including any cash I hold as a slush fund, which varies between £5k-£30k usually. This slush fund is kept in a high (relative to base rate) interest rate current account. Given my high savings rate and slush fund, I don’t have a specific emergency fund that I keep in cash.

I also don’t count a small pension which is ~£45k in my allocation, as most of it is effectively cash (it’s a very weird pension, which weathered the last crash well). My other main asset is the house that I live in; I don’t consider that asset to be in my investment portfolio, but for balance and disclosure it’s important to note it exists and has about £250k equity locked up in it.

Investing approach

So how do I approach investing? I’m a firm believer in buying low-cost tracker funds and holding them. I don’t want to support any fund managers and always aim for the best value for my money. To reduce charges I buy ETFs (exchange-traded funds)  – I buy these rather than mutual funds as they cost less to hold in UK platforms on an ongoing basis. And if you have a sizeable taxable portfolio, they are easier to optimise for tax. So while I am bought into passive investing completely and buy passive funds, I do like some adventure in my asset allocation.

Asset Class Allocation

I am investing over a long horizon, hence I have a spicy adventurous portfolio – I aim for 95% stocks and 5% bonds. Many would consider this cowboy territory, and more risk-averse people will no doubt recoil with horror. Nonetheless, given I am still working, make over six figures and have marketable skills, I am very happy and comfortable with this risk profile.

I divide my portfolio into the following assets classes in the table below. This also shows where I am now and my target percentage, alongside the delta how far away from them I am.

ClassValue%Target %Delta %
US Stocks£164k38.540.0-1.5
UK Stocks£73k17.214.03.2
EM Stocks£78k18.423.0-4.6
Euro Stocks£31k7.27.00.2
Asia Stocks£33k7.76.01.7

As you can see in the table, I’m overweight in UK stocks, and underweight in EM/US stocks based on my targets. That’s mainly as given all the Brexit drama, I decided to reduce my UK exposure. I’m still rebalancing just with my new contributions at the moment, given I’m piling at least £80k each year into my portfolio this is working ok so far.

Country Allocation

So where is my money? I absolutely love this visual representation from my broker, so am sharing it with you here.  I’m very happy with the country distribution; and as you might be able to tell, given I’m learning Chinese I am very pro-China, and think they are going to only grow in global importance. And yes, with Brexit, it is likely the UK’s global importance will diminish – hence keeping funds in foreign stocks hedges against the pound crashing. (Just ignore the benchmark here – It’s a non-relevant UK only benchmark).

Ms ZiYou Country Allocation

Exact ETF’s held

If you really want the details – here are the exact ETF’s I hold, and which asset class I put them in. My choices are mainly driven by the ongoing charges, which I show here for reference, alongside being a reputable company at indexing. Blackrock (who iShares are part of) easily meets the bill.

ETFAsset ClassChargePercentage
iShares Core S&P 500 ETF USD Acc GBPUS Stocks0.07 38.43
iShares Core MSCI EM IMI ETF USD Acc GBPEM Stocks0.1818.38
iShares FTSE 100 ETF GBP Acc GBPUK Stocks0.0717.25
iShares Core MSCI Japan IMI ETF USD Acc GBPAsia Stocks0.204.69
iShares Core EURO STOXX 50 ETF EUR Acc GBPEuro Stocks0.104.40
iShares EURO STOXX Small ETF EUR Dist GBPEuro Stocks0.402.84
iShares Core MSCI Pac ex-Jpn ETF USD Acc GBPAsia Stocks0.202.57
iShares £ Index-Lnkd Gilts ETF GBP DistBonds0.252.06
iShares Dev Mkts Prpty Yld ETF USD Dist GBPProperty0.592.00
iShares Core £ Corp Bond ETF GBP DistBonds0.201.73
iShares Global Corp Bond ETF USD Dist GBPBonds0.201.49
iShares European Prpty Yld ETF EUR Dist GBPProperty0.401.43
iShares UK Property ETF GBP DistProperty0.401.31
iShares Asia Property Yield ETF USD Dist GBPProperty0.591.00
iShares MSCI AC FarEast exJpn SC ETF$Dis GBP Mutual FundAsia Stocks0.74 0.43

Biggest Holdings

It’s always fascinating to look under the hood of these funds and see what companies I am actually holding stock of. And how my holdings are distributed across sectors and geographies. Here are my 10 biggest holdings, with the percentage of my investment portfolio they make up.

  • 1.52% Apple
  • 1.25% Microsoft
  • 1.23% HSBC
  • 1.12%
  • 1.05% Royal Dutch Shell PLC Class A
  • 0.98% BP
  • 0.88% Royal Dutch Shell PLC B
  • 0.86% Tencent Holdings Ltd
  • 0.79% Facebook Inc A
  • 0.75% British American Tobacco PLC

The fact that my biggest individual holding is only 1.5% is very reassuring that I am heavily diversified although it does get me thinking can you be too diversified? I do not disagree that I like making things complex and very similar results could be obtained with a simpler portfolio, but would that be as fun?

On the right track?

Ms ZiYou lady tracks

Initially, this confirms I am still too heavily invested in the UK – the FTSE only has 100 stocks and they are far too dominant in my top 10 holdings list. Moreover, I am conflicted with the sin stock above. As a vehement anti-smoker, I struggle with making money from people’s addictions – yet BATS is riding high on the FTSE and doing well. Not to mention the heavy petro-chems in Shell and BP that also dominate the FTSE.

And call it a personal preference, but I want to see more tech and forward-looking companies on my top 10. Hence upping my EM and US stocks feel like a good approach, as they are much more heavily weighted in tech than the UK market.

Other bloggers who share

Dossers Diary Portfolio
  • Jo shares the details of her portfolio and it’s very much on the conservative side
  • She holds over 40% in cash/fixed rate savings and 25% in property
Young FI Guy Portfolio
  • And Young Fi Guy adopts a similarly adventurous approach to me
  • He has 90% stocks and 10% bonds

Over to you

  • How about you?
  • Do you openly share your portfolio – if so link me below, please 🙂
  • What’s in your portfolio?
  • Are you concerned about the Brexit Impact?

Thanks for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter. Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas – all are welcome. 

36 comments on “I’ll show my investment portfolio – will you show yours?

      1. Yeah – I think I will also eventually add a second layer, being the Vanguard global market fund and the international bond fund, but again keeping it 90/10, and then within the portfolio rebalance these two. So I will have the two LS funds working together and then the global equity/global bond funds working together…so they effectively work in pairs.

        I guess whilst we are young we can keep the split aggressive.

        I am yet to re-allocate because I keep dripping in at a 50/50 split which keep averaging the holdings back into parity.

  1. I have a similar exposure as you have and also use ETFs. My biggest challenge is that the there’s no good ESG ETFs in Denmark that I can invest in. I don’t like investing in oil, tobacco, arms etc. companies, but at the same time, there’s really no alternative if you want to invest in index funds at the moment (Danes can’t invest in ETFs abroad due to unfavorable tax regulation). What are your thoughts on investing in such companies?

    1. Hi Carl – I don’t mind the oil so much, as the companies themselves are changing and moving into renewables. I really hope there are no arms companies there, last time I checked I don’t think there are any in the FTSE100 or S&P500 – and I’ve very anti-arms. I’m a bit more conflicted about Tobacco, but ultimately I don’t care enough to work around it. And I feel you on the local tax rules, they certainly make it more complicated than it needs to be.

  2. Hey,
    Thanks for sharing this!
    It appears that you are clear on what you are trying too achieve and so it doesn’t matter if others would consider this to be “Cowboy territory”.
    By the way, putting away £80k a year is amazing, you clearly have great disicpline and frugality (and a great income. You are killing it!
    Like you, I am heavy in equities (100% in fact!), but I am comfortable with this.
    My split is normally 80% funds and 20% shares. I have recently rebalanced this closer to 50:50 as an experiment and because I wanted to have more £ invested in certain shares. However, my future monthly payments to my ISA will be for 100% index funds. 25% in each; FTSE 100, FTSE 250, S&P 500 and an Asian market index fund (China, Japan, South Korea, India etc. Brexit does not concern me because I will not be touching this money for at least 15 – 20 years. In 2038 I will be in my very early fifties, hopefully Brexit and any negative effects will be a distant memory by then.

    What sort of return have you been getting over the past 1 year, 5 years 10 years by investing through index funds?


    1. Hi Leon – thanks for your kind comments, that’s cool you are also high in equities and up there at 100%. At the current Brexit progress, I fear in 10 years we’ll still be negotiating the trade agreements!

      I don’t record or heavily monitor returns too much – they are around 11% annualised for the last 5 years, 12% for the last 3 (but some of that is just the pound devaluing post the brexit vote). And a more measly 9% this last year.

  3. My portfolio is pretty dang boring – index funds and just one individual stock (small amount gifted to me by my parents as a kid and I’ve just let it run). Otherwise, our net worth heavy hitters are our house and other real estate investment.

    1. Hi Joe, that’s a real mix you’ve got there – lots of property and investments. I love how your primary residence is only ~5% of net worth, mine is down to 25% of my net worth, but still higher than ideal!

  4. Pretty dull here too. I have 150k in a company pension In aegon GrowthTkrFlexTgtPn Going to move this to the adventurous one shortly it’s a new fund but waiting for my previous pension to be moved across.

    I have 28k in vls100 in an isa. 13k in cash £10500 in 2 p2p isas ablrate and lending works..

    I also have 7500 in 2 company sharesave schemes

    1. Hey FBA – I don’t think that’s dull – it seems quite adventurous to me with lots of equity and P2P. Sharesaves are great if the company does well, you can make fabulous returns.

  5. Thanks for sharing, I’d always wondered what you were invested in.

    My own portfolio is more complicated than it should be but I enjoy tinkering about with it and updating spreadsheets – however, over the next five years, I will continue to consolidate and simplify it bit by bit.

    My entire portfolio (equities/bonds/cash) currently stands at 88/3/9 which is on the high risk side for someone my age, I guess. My ETF/fund portfolio is predominantly for growth, the shares/investment trusts for income.

    DIY Investor (UK) asked recently why I had income paying investments and not growth, when I was still at the accumulation stage – it’s because I need to know that I can get a certain level of income and see that dividends can provide a decent proportion of income. So far, so good!

    1. Hi Weenie – I’m with you in enjoying a slightly more complicated portfolio than needed. I think a 3 fund portfolio would not allow me to slice the geographies the way I want to. I don’t think it’s bad that you are high in equities, especially as you have some decent pensions which are not equity-based. And well done on getting a good level of dividends, it’s always great when you see the theoretical strategies working in practice.

      And my income vs capital growth strategy is based on reducing tax and trading charges; I fail to see them as truly different being a passive build and hold investor. I want capital gains rather than income at the moment in my taxable account – and actually, the same in my ISA and SIPP to reduce tax and dealing charges respectively. When I FIRE I’ll evaluate the position then – I won’t change the underlying investments but may see if an alternative ETF is better optimised.

  6. I fear my answer will bore you 🙂 . It’s so simple I haven’t even written a post about it – just mentioned it in passing on the blog. All my investments are in VTSAX.

  7. What a great portfolio you have built here. Very well done. Thanks for sharing it!

    For some reason, I never became friends with the stock market. I never knew where I had him and he ended up beating me 🙂
    So I chose to go a different route: P2P/P2B lending and rental properties.

    I still openly share my portfolio and post my earnings/losses and update income graphs on a monthly basis for everyone to see.
    Here is an example of a portfolio update from last month:

    1. Thanks Jorgen – that’s a shame you didn’t get on with the stock market – however it looks like you’ve found an alternative – going over to have a nosy now!

  8. Thanks for the link pointing me over here.

    Thats a lot of ETFs!

    How often do you rebalance? and how much does a rebalance typically cost you?

    Theres quite a lot of small (<2%) holdings, is that intentional or more historical artefacts?

    Are you concerned about diversification? i.e. 100% blackrock

    1. Well I don’t really rebalance – I just point my new contributions to where I am deviating from the plan. And yes, there is a lot of small, and I have since tidied it up a bit…

      1. Yes – one in my SIPP. one in my ISA or taxable. I know at some point I’ll have to start properly rebalancing!

        And I’m only minorly concerned about all Blackrock – there is a tiny risk that in my opinion is very unlikely to materialise. I’d have them as too big to fail!

What do you think?