Interview with a young stock market investor

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to Lewis, who is a young investor. He’s recently got into buying shares and this is what he had to say to some questions I had for him.

About you

I’m Lewis, or the @Share_Investor on Twitter. I’m currently 23, turning 24 this year.

How long have you been investing?

I’ve properly been investing since May last year during the first lockdown so nearly a year, however I made small investments prior to that through my mum’s share save scheme at work and I also had another Stocks and Shares (S&S) ISA in 2019.

What age did you start investing at?

I first started investing when I was 21, when I opened a S&S ISA with Halifax on the recommendation of a friend who has investing experience. However, during lockdown 1 I thought that I’ll have excess cash that I was willing to put into the stock market as the banks slashed interest rates in saving accounts!

What got you into investing?

To begin with It was the opportunity to take part in the Share Save Scheme, I knew it was an opportunity for my money to potentially go up in value (It could decrease in the usual market but through the SSS I could withdraw the money invested without incurring a loss) and also watching films like The Wolf of Wall Street which I’m sure everyone has watched and it inspired me to want to grow my bank account (legally)!

How would you describe your investing style?

I’m definitely a long-term investor. So far on average, I’ve held all positions for 9 months minimum, topping up on the dips when they are having a down day. If I believe the story hasn’t changed then I’m happy to let the investments develop. However, if there’s a lot of momentum or news in a sector coming out then I may look at taking a shorter-term position if it fits my criteria.

Do you invest in anything other than shares?

Not at the moment, although I’m looking at setting up a Vanguard lifestyle fund in April, the new tax year, which will be more of a ‘safe’ investment and I’ll look at topping it up each month however I would love to be able get involved in property in the years to come, however that’s a long way off yet.

What has been your most recent investment?

My most recent buy was Escape Hunt (ESC). It’s a global provider of ‘escape the room’ experiences. I really like the idea of Escape Hunt and what they are trying to achieve so I took a starter position (which tends to be a smaller amount than a usual full position) to begin with and then have increased my holding as I’ve done more research.

Investing

What are your top 5 holdings?

My top 5 holdings in no particular order are: Escape Hunt (ESC), Greatland Gold (GGP), Omega Diagnostics (ODX), Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS) and Live Company Group (LVCG).

Is there an industry you must like to invest in? If so, why?

I’m quite open to where I invest my money in terms of industries/sectors, although I do like to look towards the future and try to plan accordingly. With obviously the easing of lockdown 3, I feel the leisure and hospitality industry should come to life again as everyone will be gagging to get out and do things again, hence why I’ve chosen to invest In Escape Hunt.

I haven’t invested in the oil and gas sector before as I don’t have enough knowledge but it’s something I’m looking at learning and reading about in the future.

I see you tweet about Tiziana Life Sciences (#TILS) quite a bit. What do they do and what do you like about the company and the investment opportunity?

Tiziana Life Sciences is a biotech company that’s trying to develop breakthrough therapies with the aim of treating Crohn’s Disease, COVID-19, amongst other diseases. They have a very good board with a vast amount of knowledge in the industry and their pipeline of products being developed could be world-leading.

As always biotech companies can carry a high risk if results don’t go to plan, but I feel Tiziana are in a strong situation to advance with their therapies especially Foralumab which aims at suppressing lung infection for COVID-19 through nasal self-administration which could be done at home.

Best investment in the last year/or ever (or both)

I wouldn’t say I have a best investment ever as I’ve only been properly investing for the last 9 months, however, I would say that my portfolio is diversified and the majority (hopefully) have potential for the share price and the company itself to grow over the next 12 months or more.

Worst investment in the last year/or ever (or both)

My worst investment in the last year would have to be Live Company Group (LVCG). Reflecting on it now it was a bad buy. Even though at the time it was hampered by the lockdown, they went through a slight change in restructuring of the business, and have numerous repeat bookings. I thought it would benefit from the reopening of the economy and flourish however it’s not been the case.

The director has a chunky salary and likes to line his own back pockets whilst promising much to the shareholders and delivering so little, although they have created a new sport part to the company and have bookings in SA which they may benefit from. However, it’s a share I’m looking to exit.

The worst investment ever would be Sirius Minerals, which I know a lot of people in general lost money on. This share was my first ever purchase and I naively invested regularly thinking it will return a healthy sum back for me if they became a functioning potash mine. However I didn’t know about RNS’s, charting, wasn’t regularly checking the progression and then I missed the warning signs which led to me losing a large amount of money for myself at the time! The first loss is the hardest but it makes you learn from your lessons!

What would be your advice for other young investors?

My advice to other young investors who may be looking at getting involved in the stock market would be: Don’t just jump straight into the market make sure you learn and read beforehand, there are great resources out there for free to help you learn. Protect your capital at all costs, don’t let your hard-earned money go to waste! Have a strategy and plan, know when you’re selling out of a share if it goes right and wrong! Diversify your portfolio, if you’re all in on one stock and it goes wrong you could lose all your capital.

What research do you do before buying a share?

Before buying a share, firstly I look at the fundamentals of the company. I’ll look at the half year and full year reports for the last 3 years, trying to identify how they spend their cash. I also check out RNS’ to see if anything significant has happened… I.e. a contract win or new partnership etc, this can also give an idea of how the company is progressing overall. I take a look at the chart, my charting skills are limited but I know enough to make sure I’m not buying on a spike after a fast large increase in the SP or if it’s in a downtrend, uptrend, is it approaching a resistance or support level?

What share are you most confident in that you hold?

The share that I’m most confident on at the moment would probably be Omega Diagnostics (ODX) which are part of the UK Rapid Consortium and will be producing 2M Lateral Flow Tests a week by April to support the government’s roadmap out of lockdown and helping life resume to a new normal. I see a lot of people on Twitter are invested and have high hopes over the coming months for the company.

Which shares are on your watchlist that you don’t hold?

One share that is on my watch list is Gfinity! At the moment it’s around the 5p mark and over the last 12 months since John Clarke has been with the company they have been making new strides into making Gfinity a better company! Kids in today’s age love gaming either playing it or watching it on Youtube and I feel it’s a market that’s going to grow over the coming months and years which may present a good investment opportunity!

What was the last share you sold and why?

I haven’t sold out of any shares at the moment since I started however I’ll probably sell LVCG shortly. I should have exited a lot earlier on when the second lockdown was announced as I realised the events would then be put on hold again.

What are your expectations for what your portfolio can achieve over the next twelve months?

Hopefully over the next 12 months I will see a gradual increase in the portfolio. I feel like I’ve got a core of some good companies with a nice average that should begin to develop as life becomes more normal again. Fingers crossed the share price will follow suit.

I’ll be looking at adding to positions and also investing in new companies if they fit the criteria and I can gain a good entry price.

What’s the best piece of investing advice you’ve been given or read?

One of the best pieces of investing advice is to be careful not to chase a stock! If it’s made a huge gain in a day and you get FOMO (Fear Off Missing Out), because you think it will make you quick gains then I wouldn’t do it personally! There’s been a couple of times since I’ve started investing that I have been tempted to chase a stock because I thought it was going on a massive move only for it to pull back the next day… and if I had chased the stock, I would be holding the baby whilst traders took profit into the rise!

Also always do your own research – if you’re following someone else’s ‘advice’ be wary that they may be pushing the company to get more investors on board to drive the share price up and then they may exit the positions and sell out!

I’d just like to say thanks for taking the time to interview me, I’ve met some great people along the way on Twitter who have helped in my small journey so far and I look forward to meeting and speaking to more investors, my DMs are always open on Twitter if anyone wants to get in touch.

 

And that was it. A lot of thanks to Lewis for a great interview. He’s a fantastic young investor and I wish him the best of luck with his future investments.

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