Our Investment Philosophy

An investment should be geared towards achieving and safeguarding your life goals

OK, we’ll say it up front. You can’t beat the market over the long-term. Yes, there are a few geniuses and very lucky people out there. But events usually catch up with ‘geniuses’ and we won’t trust your future to luck. The truth is, actively managed funds over time cost more and return less than passively managed funds.

The key? Evidence-based investing. Build a globally diversified portfolio comprising thousands of stocks, distributed mainly in developed equities that represent the entire market and capture the entire market return. Do this choosing low-cost, best of breed, UCITS-compliant funds.

Portfolio characteristics


Smart, long-term, balanced, diversified, consistent, targeted, sophisticated, optimised, disciplined, low-cost, goal-oriented, empirical, tested, strategic, successful, robust

Investment rules

chess pieces

1. Create clearly defined goals

When you mentally link your investments to specific things you need, plan to do or want to achieve, you take emotion out of the equation. Instead of trying to turn quick profits by playing the market, you’re aiming to build wealth to fund current needs and future ambitions. This means you shape your strategy accordingly: investments that provide income and investments that grow steadily over the long-term.

Brain storm

2. Don’t try to beat the market…

Be the market. We choose funds with excellent records, low charges and ‘arms-length’ management. For more than 100 years this approach has been proven to produce better returns. To prove the point, in 2007 Warren Buffett made a public $1,000,000 wager that the S&P500 would outperform any actively managed hedge fund over the next 10 years. Only one fund manager took him on, Ted Seides of Protégé Partners LLC. In September 2017, Buffett won. Seides gained $220,000, Buffett $854,000.


3. Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

Upstream will give you a smart portfolio and a better way to manage it. Our portfolios are customised for you, using low-cost, high liquidity exchange-traded funds. We make decisions based on empirical evidence and build robust, diversified portfolios that are balanced across different investment classes and geographical areas, reflecting your attitude to risk. This not only mitigates risk exposure, it also captures long-term market growth.

Money bag

4. Minimise costs

Unless you’re investing in low-cost index or ETF funds via a low-cost platform, you’ll be paying exorbitant costs including product administration fees, initial fees, performance fees, management fees and ‘trade, execution and custody’ brokerage fees. Every penny in commission paid is a penny taken out of your pocket that can’t be invested on your behalf. In the long-term, the cumulative effect of this can cost you dear.

5. Keep portfolios balanced

Passive investing doesn’t mean doing nothing. Your portfolio should always reflect your attitude to risk, money available to invest, and short/long-term aims. So, we regularly check that your portfolio fits these criteria and adjust accordingly. For instance, when riskier investments perform strongly your portfolio will need to be rebalanced by allocating a greater portion of additional contributions to your bond holdings to realign it with your overall risk profile.

Eye on inflation

6. Eyes out for inflation

You need to account for the impact of inflation on your savings by increasing payments into your portfolio each year. Even at 2% p.a. flat contributions will erode the cumulative growth of your investments. You also need to think what a future lump sum will achieve for you. Half a million may sound like a lot now, but in real terms, it may not be enough a few decades down the river. For this reason, we only use inflation-adjusted figures when calculating your future needs.

Paper, scissor, stone

7. Don’t panic!

Emotions wreak havoc with logic. Successful investors maintain perspective and long-term discipline, ignoring the noise and not worrying about things they cannot control.

Warren Buffett argues it best with this simple yet powerful analogy. If you’re buying regularly for the long-term, you should be happy when the market falls. You’re getting your investments cheap, but most people feel dismay. In fact, you only want bull markets when you’re ready to sell. It feels counter-intuitive, but it’s served Buffett handsomely for more than half a century.

You’re in control

With UWM, you get full access to our online platform that is designed to simplify the investment process. It’s easy to use, flexible and comprehensive. You can immediately see where you’ve invested, recent trades and how your funds are doing with a suite of analysis tools. Transparency and knowledge-sharing are at the heart of everything we do at UWM, and our online platform reflects this.

Sorry – we can’t help everyone

If you think you can beat or time the market, or like the look of ‘alternative’ stocks, we’re unlikely to be a good fit. As your adviser, we demand only that we get close to earning the full return of the markets with your portfolio. If this isn’t exciting enough for you, choose active fund management. Alternatively, take a ride on a rollercoaster – both will have the same effect on your nerves and emotional well-being.