Chris Roy Garland: Dos & Don’ts of Investing in International Markets

Christopher Roy Garland
3 min readJun 6, 2024

Now more than ever, people have investing opportunities that extend far beyond their domestic borders. As economies become increasingly interlinked, gaining exposure to international markets can enhance portfolio returns and diversification.

However, venturing into global investing also comes with its own set of risks and considerations. Financial expert Christopher Roy Garland provides some key dos and don’ts to help investors better position themselves for success while mitigating potential pitfalls.

Dos of Investing in International Markets

Do diversify globally: Investing solely in domestic markets exposes you to concentrated risk. Global diversification across different countries and regions can reduce portfolio volatility and provide exposure to faster-growing economies. By spreading investments across various markets, you can capitalize on growth opportunities worldwide and potentially achieve higher long-term returns.

Do thorough research: Understand the economic, political, and regulatory environments of the countries you’re investing in. Factors like currency risks, tax implications, and accounting standards can vary significantly. Conducting comprehensive due diligence is crucial to identify potential risks and opportunities specific to each market.

Do consider costs: International investments often involve higher transaction costs, fees for currency conversions, and taxes that can eat into returns. Factor these in when evaluating opportunities. Carefully assess the total cost of ownership and ensure that the potential returns justify the expenses involved.

Do use professional expertise: Consider investing in international markets through mutual funds or ETFs managed by professionals with global expertise, especially when starting out. These investment vehicles can provide diversified exposure to multiple countries and benefit from the fund managers’ in-depth knowledge and resources.

Do hedge currency risk: For significant international exposure, hedge against currency fluctuations that can erode returns when converting back to your domestic currency. Currency hedging strategies, such as forward contracts or options, can help mitigate the impact of exchange rate movements on your portfolio.

Don’ts of Investing in International Markets

Don’t chase hot markets: Avoid piling into markets or sectors that have already experienced a major run-up based on hype or momentum. Bubbles can form and burst quickly. Chasing performance can lead to buying at inflated valuations, increasing the risk of substantial losses.

Don’t overlook political risks: Political instability, regime changes, or conflicts in a country can dramatically impact investments there. Stay updated on current events. Geopolitical tensions, trade disputes, and policy shifts can significantly influence market dynamics and investor sentiment.

Don’t ignore liquidity: Some international markets may have lower trading volumes, making it harder to buy/sell investments at desired prices. Illiquid markets can lead to wider bid-ask spreads, higher transaction costs, and potential challenges in exiting positions promptly.

Don’t over-concentrate: While international diversification is wise, don’t over-allocate to any single country or region. Maintain a balanced global portfolio. Excessive concentration in a particular market can expose you to heightened risks if that market experiences a downturn.

Don’t disregard home bias: Despite the benefits of global investing, it’s prudent to still have a tilt towards domestic markets you understand better. Familiarity with local economic conditions, regulations, and investment opportunities can provide a valuable advantage.

The Balanced Approach to Worldwide Investing

Investing in international markets can be a powerful strategy for enhancing portfolio returns and diversification. However, it requires a disciplined approach, thorough research, and a keen understanding of the unique risks involved. By adhering to the dos and don’ts outlined above, investors can navigate the complexities of global investing more effectively. Ultimately, a well-diversified portfolio that balances domestic and international exposure, coupled with a long-term perspective, can position investors for success in our increasingly interconnected financial world.

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Christopher Roy Garland
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Christopher Roy Garland, Botswana managing director of Fidelity Indemnity (Pty) Ltd., a financial planning and corporate advisory firm based in Gaborone.