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Golden BMX Olympian warns young investors about risk and preparation


Olympic BMX gold champion Charlotte Worthington has urged young investors to take only measured risks as part of a campaign by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Three-quarters (76%) of British investors under 40 who have invested in high-risk products such as cryptocurrency and forex admitted they were driven by “competition with friends, family and acquaintances”.

The survey of 1,000 Britons commissioned by the UK financial regulator also showed that 58% were influenced by social media hype. 

The FCA, whose remit includes consumer and retail investor protection, launched the InvestSmart campaign to help investors assess risks and halt rampant online investment scams.

‘High returns mean higher risks’

“We are seeing more people chasing high returns. But high returns can mean higher risks. We want to give consumers greater confidence to invest and help them to do so safely, understanding the level of risk involved,” said Sarah Pritchard, the FCA’s executive director of markets.

‘With our InvestSmart campaign we’re taking an innovative approach to reaching those tempted by high-risk products so that they can better understand the risks and where to get advice.

“We will be targeting people online and through social media, helping ensure inexperienced investors don’t get played. Together with a more assertive approach to finding and taking action against scammers, we hope InvestSmart will help people invest confidently.”

‘All about the smaller calculated risks’

Worthington, who won the first-ever BMX freestyle Olympic gold medal in Tokyo for the British flag, shared her approach to measured risk-taking as a part of the campaign.

“BMX is about big risk and big reward – but it has taken a lot of preparation to get to this point, with highs and lows and hours of training to get the basics right one trick at a time.

“Anything high risk might not always go to plan, it’s about being prepared and minimising your risks through research and information.

“For example, my first run at the Tokyo Olympic Games didn’t quite go to plan, but because I had prepared properly I was able to get it right in the next run.”

She added: “It’s all about the smaller calculated risks in practice that don’t always go to plan, to gain the right experience to pull off something bigger at the right time.”

“When it comes to investments, I would only take on high risks if I felt like I’d done enough research and I was properly prepared.”

Five important questions to ask yourself before you invest by the FCA:

  1. Am I comfortable with the level of risk?
  2. Do I understand the investment being offered to me?
  3. Are my investments regulated?
  4. Am I protected if the investment provider or my adviser goes out of business?
  5. Should I get financial advice?

 

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