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Keen_ AFR_20050905_Software for investors

Keen_ AFR_20050905_Software for investors - f.Co/bx‘ a Q...

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Unformatted text preview: f .Co/bx‘ a» Q aw; 747% It’s old advice, but before buying investment software be clear about your needs and do your research. Above all, beware products that promise to make you rich overnight, writes. Samantha Keen. oftware can make your life dramatically easier, provided you understand the principles behind the tools. There is software for managing your investment portfolio and softhare that helps you make trading decisions in the first place. In each of these categories there are myriad examples available on the internet for a wide range of prices. “Share-price software is really useful," says NickCoates, senior policy officer of superannuation and financial services at the ' Australian Consumers Association. “It allows you to assess whether the share is under— or overvalued, or whether your portfolio is over- dispersed or diversified enoug - But he warns that problems occur with these products, ' particularly those used for trading. when peeple don’t understand them. When that happens,_he says, people may end up building a portfolio and buying shares that are not suited to them because they have chosen an inappropriate risk model. “The danger is that you see the , advice from the software as being black'and white," he says. “But it is not a substitute for under- standing the market through reading around and researching stocks.” . . Portfolio management software is essentially an administration tool. It can be anything from a fancy spreadsheet tool to a full E .2 D .3 r: I OFTWAHE FOR INVESTORS MONEY-MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS THATIIWILL POWER UP YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE personal finance application. Its main purpose is to keep arecord of share prices and show the value of the portfolio. That value can then be compared with a main index, against which it can be benchmarked, such as the All Ordinaries Index at the Australian Stock Exchange. Many portfolio management products make it easy to work out tax, including capital gains tax. Some of them also work out things like dividend payments, stock splits, dividend reinvestments and imputation credits. ' Stuart Wilson, chief executive of the Australian Shareholders Association (ASA), says many of his group’s members who are ' serious long-term investors are users of such software. “Portfolio management software makes a difficult and onerous task simple and can be particularly useful at tax time,” Wilson says. Anyone who has more than three or four investments, or who trades frequently, would probably I benefit from an appropriate program. These applications can be seen as tools. Individual people use them differently, and some don’t like to use them at all. “I know some people who manage their shares in a book," says Andrew Nicholle, a partner at Plain Language Software, which is developing a new release of its portfolio management program. Some people prefer to automate the updates for share prices, while some like to enter share prices manually, he says. . “It’s up to the individual - some people like to keep their records close to their chest, while others are happy to let someone else do it. 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