We all need to learn a bit of patience, just like Sanchez

We all need to learn a bit of patience, just like Sanchez. Photo: Mike Egerton

We all need to learn a bit of patience, just like Sanchez. Photo: Mike Egerton - Credit: PA

As with most houses, the kitchen is our home's focal point, a warm, welcoming room dotted with essential paraphernalia: phone chargers, details of dental appointments and the like.

This column is brought to you in association with Almary Green. Photo: Almary Green

This column is brought to you in association with Almary Green. Photo: Almary Green - Credit: Archant

There's nothing better than making a beeline for the breakfast bar where, after arriving home from work, my wife and I can sit, pour a glass of wine and discuss the day's events, and whether auntie Mary, scheduled to come to Sunday lunch, has any special dietary requirements. I doubt it. She's 85, but I'll call to check.

My wife, Clare, is a great cook and the breakfast bar's position enables me to continue talking to her as she prepares dinner, periodically topping up her glass and perusing the newspaper.

At this point, conversation is often prefaced with an exasperated 'Did you read this…?', or 'Have you seen what that idiot [insert politician's name] has said now?', or 'There's nothing on the box later. Shall we watch an episode of Spiral on catch-up?' (Incidentally, if you haven't seen Spiral, the French thriller, you should. It's excellent.)

Then there's sport. We're both big sports enthusiasts and will attend almost any sporting event, so the sports pages are another great source of material for our early evening wine / chat / dinner preparation / moan time.

'I see Sanchez has become the Premier League's highest-paid footballer,' I noted last week. '£400,000 a week. That's probably net of tax too.' Clare absorbed the information as she prepared the veg before revealing her Mrs Reasonable side: 'I'd make do with that per month. Wouldn't you?' I smiled and agreed that yes, £4.8 million a year would be perfectly acceptable.

For those readers who have no idea who Alexis Sanchez is, he's a rather talented Chilean footballer who last week moved from Arsenal to Manchester United where he's being paid a small fortune to boost the latter's attacking capabilities.

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Good luck to him. I'm not one who considers such salaries 'obscene'; they're the market rate paid by a willing buyer of Mr Sanchez's services. Moreover, Sanchez didn't publicly agitate for a move to Old Trafford; he bided his time, probably safe in the knowledge that Manchester United would pay him a king's ransom to join their line-up.

While other players now regularly instruct their PR teams to issue complimentary statements regarding the manager or fans of another club in the hope it might trigger a lucrative transfer, Sanchez kept schtum and remained patient.

Ah yes, patience. Deemed, for many years, 'the virtue of beggars', according to academics, patience is, in fact, one of three most recognisable and valuable characteristics of successful investors. And, presumably, of professional footballers (or their agents), mindful of the benefits that can accrue by taking a long-term view.

A research paper (Keys to improving the odds of active management success) published in 2015 by fund management company Vanguard emphasised what its authors called 'the three factors which are most critical to improving the probability of outperformance: low cost, top talent and patience.'

Following a review of 540 funds over a period of 14 years, researchers concluded that the benefits of keeping investment costs low and having funds managed by talented individuals '…can be eroded significantly if an investor fails to maintain a long-term perspective.'

Understanding this, the paper continues, '…is critical for investors who may be tempted to use short-term past performance as a primary basis for [buying and selling] active funds,' not least because 'even successful funds experience multiple periods of underperformance.'

In fact, of the 540 funds analysed, only 109 outperformed their targeted benchmarks from 2000-2014. Of these 109, a staggering 99% underperformed in at least four of the 14 year period under review.

What does this tell us? Firstly, that selecting funds in which to invest isn't a piece of cake, but secondly and more positively, it also highlights the relative benefits of taking a longer-term view, of biding your time and being patient. We could almost call it the Alexis Sanchez investment rule. Whether that promises returns of £400,000 a week (or even a month) is, however, another matter.

The Week in Numbers


First week sales of Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, dubbed 'The inside story of the most controversial US presidency of our time,' presumably by someone who never heard of Richard Nixon.

$70 billion

Bonus payable to Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Telsa should he increase the manufacturer's market value to $650 billion by 2028. Mr Musk will receive no salary for the next decade, but each time one of 12 agreed targets are achieved, he will receive stock options worth around $600 million.


Number of Barkers dog grooming salons owned by Pets at Home due to close before Easter. It means pooches will have to go elsewhere for 'pawdicures'.


Netflix has become Virgin Media's fourth biggest 'channel' after BBC1, ITV and Channel Four. As a result, Virgin is accelerating the roll-out of its new V6 set-top boxes which enable faster access to Netflix.


An estimated 75% of the British public consider the potential of AI and robotic technology to be a force for good, says former trade and investment minister Mervyn Davies.

64 million

Number of NHS prescriptions for antidepressants issued each year. This has almost trebled since 2000.


Value slapped on Wayne Rooney's 'eco-friendly BMW super car' after the Everton striker put the car up for sale. Rooney has no immediate need for the vehicle as he was banned from the roads for two years following a drink-drive incident.

Peter Sharkey read economics at the University of Bristol. He worked as an accountant on three continents and has been a company director and investor for more than 30 years, building and selling three different companies.