Siobhan Mail, Director and wealth management specialist at Newport-based Seer Green Financial Planning.

“With the turbulence of recent years most investors have grown wary of putting money into equities. However, with bonds and fixed interest securities no longer representing good value for money, savvy investors are looking at opportunities to obtain growth with calculated risks. Our advice is always to have a diversified portfolio and equities are an important part of that.

“Despite the economic doom and gloom there are good opportunities to be seized and an important consideration is corporate earnings. Of late the US is providing some very good returns with 67% of companies’ results beating analysts expectations.

“For clients with a greater appetite for risk there are still opportunities within the Emerging Markets. Of course, with any equity purchase there is always a volatility risk, the potential for capital loss and a demand for a long-term view.

“Investors are becoming more conscious of costs and for those wishing to pursue gains in the markets passive funds have provided returns with reduced costs.

“There are number of HMRC approved investments clients can invest in to gain tax relief. These involve investing in qualifying companies which attract income tax relief, providing an uplift to their capital. A word of warning – these do carry significant investment risk, however the leading companies in this field offer a selection of risk-rated funds in which to invest. Clients are taking advantage of these reliefs often in addition to contributing to their pensions.

“For investors who have fallen out of love with the markets and do not wish to have any exposure to stock market risk we look at other asset classes. Bricks and mortar is often considered to be a low risk option, however it demands a long-term view because of the restricted access to the capital invested.

“For clients with large sums on deposit looking to obtain an income and longer term capital growth residential property has become more attractive. With lending restricted and larger deposits required, those investors with savings who are unhappy with current interest rates are looking to the rental market to provide an income that can be inflation-proofed. With the rental market increasing and lending continuing to be constricted many clients are using residential property purchase as a dimension to their portfolios.”

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