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Investments, Basic Concepts

Policies

In Durell all types of savings and investments are referred to as “policies” (see below) even though in reality they may be “contracts” or “accounts” (e.g. a Prudential unitised PEP with contract ref 52546252). Each policy is owned by an address set record, typically a “Client”, either singly or jointly (e.g. Bloggs, Fred & Mary).

Products

In Durell all policies are based on “products” (see below) sold by “insurance companies” (e.g. the Prudential unitised PEP). A single product forms the basis of many policies. Products maybe created or edited via the “Set-up” button on the Main Menu, followed by double-clicking “Products” (see Set-up, Products and Set-up, Insurers, General & Life). Investment products are not always based on the same funds. One person might have the “UK Growth” fund in his PEP, while another has 25% “UK Growth”, 25% “Pacific Markets” and 50% “North American”.

Funds

Durell allows you to hold details of the many funds (see below) used by the different investment products (e.g. the Prudential UK Growth fund), with their bid and offer prices at various dates, from which graphs can be drawn and growth rates calculated (see Set-up, Fund Prices & Graphs).

Individual contracts can then be set-up with their specific fund details (see below).

Events

In Durell actions to purchase, sell or switch investments are called “events” (see below). These might include for example, the purchase of a bond via a lump sum of £5000, or an endowment via the regular premium of £250 per month. Similarly the sale of the investment via a lump sum would be an “event”, as would the regular withdrawal of £500 per quarter for income. Each of these “events” whether lump sum or repeated, is set-up in one action. Each such investment event may be divided into a number of funds (e.g. initial lump sum purchase of £5000 split equally between two funds).

Transactions

In Durell a transaction is the smallest unit of investment (see below), so for example a £5000 lump sum purchase of two funds is one event made up from two transactions. A regular premium of £500 per month divided between two funds for five years would create 120 individual transactions.

Transactions May Exclude Details of Units

You cannot enter or edit individual transactions in Durell - they can only be entered via events. A consequence of this is that you cannot enter the number of units per transaction when dealing with repeating events like monthly income (e.g. where you may know the sum to withdraw, but you won’t know in advance the unit price or number of units involved each month). You probably wouldn’t know this level of detail anyway, and even if you did you’d probably have better things to do. The example below shows a single-fund contract with three events…

  1. the initial lump-sum purchase
  2. income taken monthly (note the lack of units and unit prices)
  3. an accumulation received after seven months

Transactions Not Essential

When you re-value a contract in Durell you enter the total number of units, the current price and the total amount taken by the client in income and dividends (see “Investments, Adding Funds”), so you don’t have to enter every event and transaction, as discussed in “Investments, Level of Detail”.

Data-Feed Service for Investment Fund Prices

Fund details can either be maintained manually, or automatically via a data-feed service for investment fund prices. In a matter of minutes, a data-feed service typically updates the price of over 20,000 funds each day, week or month, from which information you can then produce automated valuations and comparative graphs.

Maintaining Fund Prices Manually

Updating fund prices manually takes a long time and hence is almost certain to restrict the number of funds for which you can hold information. Worse still, it is likely to result in an ad-hoc naming & coding system that will prevent the subsequent move to a data-feed service. Hence if you are intending to hold fund details you are strongly advised to start with an automated data-feed.