Victoria Brannen: How to invest in Britain today

First of all, a disclaimer. I've looked into some of the better investment opportunities in Britain using our insight into the 'recession-busting' industries and it has become apparent to me that even favourable opportunities are disappointingly problematic.

The 'safe' FTSE high performers, once an indicator of home grown success stories, are far from straight forward. Two thirds of the FTSE is now exposed to global companies with all the uncertainty that brings.

And how does the average private investor feel about investing in the stock market at all, when Greece and Portugal threaten all around into a quickening whirlpool? When even institutional investors are falling victim to stock market volatility, and falling back on Central London property, it would certainly seem the time to invest in some physical commodities, and in something that gives you a return, not just capital growth.

Physical commodities are not something which Britain has made its name by in recent history. What other opportunities are there? Is there a better bet than equities? Anything which can give you more than 5% at present is worth thinking about.

Maya have clients in a sector which has benefitted from the weak pound, the high air fuel and belt tightening trends of our increasingly frugal times. Once an outmoded symbol of a nostalgically unsophisticated British heritage, holiday parks have been seeing resurgence over the last few years as the 'staycation' phenomenon has seen fewer, shorter, but more frequent (and increasingly impulsive) holidays being taken in the UK.

For those who can offer an experience which has kept up with the enhanced expectations of the post Hi-de-Hi generation, it can be seen that budget holidays are very much de rigueur.

We Brits have embraced the need for austerity with characteristic spirit, as the shrewdest operators have developed offerings which offer accommodation and facilities which are a far cry from the utilitarian stereotypes of the past. Increasingly, luxurious holiday homes, lodges, camping pods, yurts and tipis all rejuvenate a sector which has captured the imagination of the nation.

However, investment opportunities for private investors within the sector do not present themselves obviously. Major players are privately owned and much of the innovation in the sector is being lead by small groups and independents. This fragmented area presents some very interesting scenarios to corporate investors, where the a scale of their investment can realise the potential for consolidation and the cost benefits that entails.

It is fair to say however, that the holiday park sector is all but closed to you unless you are an institutional investor, high net worth individual or pension fund. The option is there to go to a multimanager who will offer shapes in a fund, but the scale of fees and multiple commissions does somewhat reduce the lustre.

Osborne has pinned the prospects for the future re-growth of British companies onto SMEs and entrepreneurial groups, but it will be angels at the other end of the celestial spectrum, banks, who can reap (somewhat cautiously) the rewards.

So in order to answer the question as to where to put equity right now, we would recommend using the principles which have seen our core businesses experience a recent resurgence, by going back to basics and using street level instinct, the strategy Lord Sugar with characteristic brevity calls 'smell what sells'.

Staying in the leisure sector, a trip down any high street or motorway services could lead you to believe that Whitbread look good, notwithstanding an apparent intention to divest the successful Costa Coffee chain. Mobile phone shops too show no sign yet of oversaturation. We only need get a utilities bill to remind us that there are still legs on the industry in the short term at least.

For the slightly more entrepreneurial it would be good to seek out opportunities with interests in the viable redevelopment of the Olympic legacy - for example the 6,000 homes in the Olympic Village.

The increasing likelihood of insurance for care in old age would lead you to think that there should be some smart money to be made there, but not being experts in equity investments, we are in danger of once more proving the point that not enough opportunities exist for the private investor in companies taking part in the regeneration of the British economy.

A good portfolio needs to be skilfully balanced. However one chooses to invest as an individual, by whichever different methodology or attitude to risk objectives, be it favouring technical analysis, yield or property, balance is critical. And in order to achieve this, in our opinion, a long hard look needs to be taken as to how private individuals can access the non-equity alternatives which are driving growth in the British economy today.

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