Coronavirus and investments

The widely spreading coronavirus has shook up stock exchanges around the world. In Finland too, the virus has caused uncertainty among savers and investors. On this page, we assemble the latest information about the effects of the coronavirus on the market situation.

Coronavirus and shares – why are prices falling?

Share prices are determined by supply and demand. Investors buy shares in hopes that their value will increase in the future. Since the coronavirus pandemic is making the future uncertain, investors are unwilling to pay as high share prices as before, or they want to sell all of their shares.

When prices fall, security prices gradually stabilise at a new, lower level where supply and demand meet again.

Coronavirus and mutual funds – why are the values of many funds falling as well?

For many clients, mutual fund investing is the first step in the world of investment. Mutual funds are managed by experts. Their risks are diversified as the funds’ assets are invested in dozens or even hundreds of shares or other securities.

When the values of the shares or other securities owned by the fund (depending on the type of the fund) fall due to the corona crisis, the value of the fund falls too. The value of a fund is determined by the prices of securities it owns. When security prices are falling, the value of the fund portfolio falls as well.

Coronavirus and investments – five tips for investors

1. Keep calm!

Stick to your investment plan, even if it may feel difficult. In long-term investments, market fluctuations are normal. Over a time span of several years, individual causes of instability, such as the corona crisis, play a minor role. Investors’ best protection against falling prices include an efficient investment plan and an effectively diversified portfolio.

However, if you are distressed about the situation, we recommend that you consider switching to less risky investments, rather than exiting the market and transferring your funds to deposits.

2. Every bear market is followed by a bull market – just keep hanging on

Remember that if you exit the market now for a longer period, it’s very likely that you will miss out on price rises.

“In history, share prices have risen and provided high returns over the long term,” says Kai Kalajainen, Director, Wealth Management at OP. Long-term observation reveals various types of crises, from wars to the financial crisis. Although stock prices have fallen, they have always rebounded and eventually exceeded the previous record highs.

Presumably, the effects of the corona crisis on investments will also be temporary – history has shown that markets have recovered surprisingly fast even from large price falls.

3. Buy and hold strategy often leads to the best results

The buy and hold strategy is more likely to provide better results than trying to sell at peak prices and buy at the bottom.

“In the short term, we expect continuing uncertainty and fluctuations. However, the situation will calm down at some point and markets will begin to stabilise,” says Kai Kalajainen. Patience is a virtue, also when it comes to the corona crisis and investments.

4. Is this a good time to buy?

If you’re not afraid of taking risks, you should consider buying more mutual fund units or shares now that prices are clearly down.

If your investment horizon is several years, it’s highly likely that prices are now at a lower level. If you decide to buy, we recommend that you do it gradually, in several batches.

5. A monthly investor is always in the market

Monthly investment is an excellent way to save your nerves in the capital market. The easiest way to do it is through monthly investments in mutual funds. This way, you will be in the market when stock prices go up and when they are low.

(Source, op.media: Investor, calm down! Five value-for-money tips for a long-term investor) (in Finnish)

 

Where can I follow OP experts' comments and views about the market?

OP Financial Group’s analysts and experts share their current views about investment and markets on Twitter. Take part in the conversation at OP Sijoittaminen.

Our experts write about the effects of the coronavirus on the market situation at op.media. For more information, read our articles at op.media.

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Our customer service for saving and investing is currently very busy. We seek to reply to your message within 3 working days. We apologise for the unusually long waiting time in our telephone and online message services.

FAQ

If you don’t have an urgent need for the money, it’s advisable to just wait and keep to your investment plan. Remember that possible losses won’t be realised until you sell your investments.

If you seek to increase your wealth in the long term, during at least five years, the instability of this kind does not play a big role. Investors’ best protection against falling prices is a functioning investment plan and a portfolio that is effectively diversified across asset classes and, within them, by industry and by timing. If you are a short-term investor aiming for a specific amount in the near future, this may be a good time to sell your fund units.

To redeem your fund assets, log into the OP website in Finnish and go to section Rahastot (Mutual funds) on the page Säästöt ja sijoitukset (Savings and investments). Select the mutual fund whose units you want to redeem. Click the button Myy (Sell) and enter the redeemed amount. The assets redeemed from the mutual fund will normally be transferred to your account within 1–2 banking days.

Share prices have now fallen significantly, which offers a buying opportunity for a long-term investor with high risk tolerance. It’s impossible to say what is the right moment to buy. We will certainly see fluctuation in prices for some time. It is advisable to diversify any purchases between several moments of time.  For example, monthly investing in a mutual fund is a good way to diversify in this situation.

If you have OP eServices user identifiers, choose an investment service package that meets your needs (either saver’s service package or inverstor’s service package). Both service packages include the book-entry account and securities custody.

To open a service package or to transfer your custody to an OP cooperative bank, go to this page.

To surrender your OP Unit-linked Insurance policy, send us an online message when you are logged in. Select as the message subject Endowment, life and pension insurance (Säästö-, henki- ja eläkevakuutukset). When sending the online message, you will find more detailed instructions on what to include in the message.

If you have concerns about the market situation, you can change the investment mix of your insurance investment so that the risk is lower. If you do so, you avoid any tax consequence caused by a withdrawal. To get investment advice on how to change your investment mix, call OP Customer Service at 0100 0500.

If you want to leave your insurance in force, you cannot withdraw all assets. You can check the minimum amount to be left by calling OP Life Assurance Company’s customer service at 010 253 6100 (Mon–Fri 8–18). The processing time of the application is 1–2 weeks. When you withdraw savings, a possible surrender charge specified in the terms and conditions will be debited.

You can change the asset allocation on the op.fi service, on the page Vakuutussäästäminen (Saving through insurance). On the Sopimuksen tiedot (Policy information) page, open the section Säästön tilanne (Status of insurance assets) and select Muuta säästön jakaumaa (Change asset allocation). By clicking on the info button next to the heading Säästön jakauman muutos (Change in asset allocation), you will get more information on the execution of changes in asset allocation. On the page Säästön jakauman muutos (Change in asset allocation), you can see the last confirmed status of your insurance assets and the allocation of assets to investments. You can either change the percentages of your current investments by entering new ones under “uusi jakauma%” (new allocation%) or add completely new investments by clicking the Lisää sijoituskohde (Add investment) link. No expense will be charged for changes in asset allocation made on the op.fi service.

The price date of investments is determined by the date on which the change order was placed, as well as the rules concerning the investment’s valuation time. As a rule, a change order placed by 10 am on a banking day will be confirmed using the rates of the date of order. If the order is placed after 10 am or on other than a banking day, the change is carried out at the value of the following banking day.

In some cases (OP-Japan A, OP-China A, OP Life Asian Index, OP-Emerging Middle Class A, OP-Emerging Markets Equity A, OP-Japan Stars A, OP-Emerging Asia A, OP-Life World Index, OP-Guaranteed Value 80 investment basket, OP-Guaranteed Value 85 investment basket, FIM Asset Management Pension, FIM Asset Management), the order is carried out at the following banking day's value, due to the vehicle's later valuation time. Therefore, if the order is placed before 10 am, it is carried out at the value of the banking day following the order date. If the order is placed after 10 am or on other than a banking day, the change is carried out at the value of the second banking day following the order date.

You can see the confirmed change in asset allocation on OP eServices as soon as a value has been defined for all investments.

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