Investments information

Over the past few months we’ve seen some volatility in global financial markets. This is a perfectly normal part of investing, as markets can be affected by all sorts of things. At the moment, it’s been the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the subsequent impact the coronavirus has had on the global economy because of reduced demand for products and services. But the rise and fall of market prices is something that’s always happened – and our quick guide below could help you navigate the ups and downs of the financial markets.

How does the market affect investments?

Markets can be affected by all sorts of things. For example interest rates, inflation, economic outlook, policy changes, consumer confidence. All these types of changes can make things uncertain, but the rise and fall of market prices are a normal part of investing.

So, it’s only natural to wonder what market volatility might mean for your investments.

The first thing to bear in mind is that investing is for the long term, and if we stop and take a look at previous market changes, we can see both short and long-term effects.

Below, we look at the recent market volatility.

Putting the figures into perspective

Let's take a look at 2019/20. Having experienced nearly a year of stable growth, 2020 saw stock markets take a big turn. At first glance, this chart could look a little alarming:

UK equities - graph of total return from 14 June 2019 to 15 June 2020

IA Global Sector - total return from 14 June 2019 to 15 June 2020

But let’s take a step back and look at the same period in the context of the last six years and suddenly things might not look so bad:

UK equities - graph of total return over 6 years

IA Global Sector - total return over 6 years (total return does not include the effect of any fees and charges)

Please note: past performance is not a guide to future performance. It’s important to stress that investing is for the long term; here at Nationwide we suggest investing for a minimum of six years.

So, although we live in uncertain times, follow our top tips for looking after your investments.

I’m still concerned about my investments. What tips can you give me?

There’s always something that can potentially affect investments. However, if you follow our tips, these could help you look after yours no matter what’s happening in the world.

Don't try to time the market

No-one can predict what the markets will do next. Selling your investments when prices have fallen could result in a permanent loss. Fund managers work hard to exploit these downturns in the market to ensure your investment makes the most of any opportunities during uncertainty.

Consider regular investments

By investing on a regular basis, you'll buy assets at a different price each time you invest. This can help smooth out the impact of the highs and lows of market movements. Regular payments into your investment may help increase the chance of purchasing assets at a low price.

You might want to consider phasing any withdrawals you need to make

If you know you’ll need access to your money in the next 6 months, doing this gradually may help, as values can change in a short period of time during volatile market conditions. Plus, phasing any withdrawals can also help minimise the inconvenience of being unable to access your money if a fund temporarily suspends trading. This can sometimes happen in a volatile market, as it allows funds to dispose of assets in an orderly way, protecting remaining investors in the fund. This is quite common within property funds, where the underlying assets aren’t easily tradeable and take time to dispose of.


A well-constructed investment portfolio can help minimise investment volatility. The key is ‘diversity’. This means investing with different assets and fund managers. Or invest in a single fund like our Primary Fund range, which will do this for you. It invests in different underlying funds, within different asset types, across a range of geographical regions and fund management styles. In other words, you won’t be putting all your eggs in one basket.

Make sure your investment plan is up to date

Your investment plan or strategy should be in line with your tolerance to risk, ability to absorb loss, accessibility, time horizon and investment goals. Making sure your plan is current may help you ride out any unpredictability.

For this reason, it's important to regularly review your investment portfolio and change any parts of your investment strategy, if necessary. For example, you may decide to put off that planned purchase until a later date when market conditions have settled. Or it may mean considering a different approach to risk.

We're here to help you achieve your financial goals. So if you still have any concerns or questions either about your portfolio or investment plan, please contact a Financial Adviser. They will be happy to speak to you about your options, and make sure your investments remain right for you.

This is not intended to promote or provide a recommendation in relation to our investment service. Any comments made are intended to provide general information only. If you would like any further information, please contact a Financial Adviser.