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Worried about inflation and sovereign defaults

By Chris Dillow & Gavin Haynes , 07 February 2013

Barney Black is 42 and has been investing for 16 years. Having worked in the City for over 20 years he believes his job, though well-paid, is not particularly safe. However, after having three children, his wife has recently gone back to work part-time.

His average annual return over the 16-year period has been 11.7 per cent a year. His investment goals are to preserve capital, maximise returns after tax and derive an inflation protected and growing income stream.

While he rates Troy Asset Management's Sebastian Lyon, he is sceptical about other actively managed funds: "I believe that investors paying annual fees of 1.5 per cent and above are being ripped off - this management cost should be expressed as 25 per cent of the likely annual return rather than 1.5 per cent of capital."

He has strong concerns about inflation, too: "I do not hold any conventional bonds (either corporate or sovereign) as I believe that fixed-income prices are currently in a QE-driven bubble and that buying long duration bonds at current prices will prove disastrous," he says. "I do not believe that central banks will be able to accurately control the inflation they are currently seeking to engineer and that further sovereign defaults are likely.

"As a result I am weighted towards 'real' assets (ie, directly-owned defensive equities) rather than financial assets. I have recently been buying physical gold as quasi-cash that provides tail-risk insurance."

He holds his shares via TD Waterhouse and Hargreaves Lansdown and uses self-invested personal pensions (Sipps) and individual savings accounts (Isa) wrappers for his holdings. "I hope these companies are both conservatively managed and using safe custodians."

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