Mark Bird from Chester emerged outright winner of the Fantasy Portfolio Competition and scooped £10,000.
23rd August 2011
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A cricket test match lasts ‘only’ five days. A marathon is a mere 26  miles – just two hours  or so for top distance  runners. But Mark Bird’s test of endurance – and his high degree of financial know-how – lasted more than seven months!

That was the duration of the Fantasy Portfolio Competition organised by leading asset management group F&C Investments in which Chester-based
Mark emerged outright winner and scooped first prize of £10,000.

The nationwide game, targeted at active private investors and professional
financial advisers, saw Mark, who owns and runs Chester Financial Associates
with his wife, Andrea, comfortably at the top of the leaderboard ahead of
several thousand rivals. His astutely positioned portfolio and shrewd
adjustments over the competition period chalked up a 9.41 per cent return –
almost three per cent ahead of his nearest rival.

So was it luck, skill or a combination of the two? Mark said: ‘Although luck
certainly played some part, keeping abreast of market information, making
bold asset allocation decisions and pure gut instinct allowed me to ride more of
the ups than downs.

‘Running an independent financial advice practice that works with
individuals, small business owners and trustees, it is imperative that I
understand the bigger picture in order to help my clients build, manage and
protect their wealth.’

Originally from the Wirral – he is a former pupil of Calday Grange
Grammar School – Mark studied at Aston University and started his career
selling educational books in the outskirts of Chicago in America. From this
educational experience sprang an opportunity to progress to financial
advice in mid-Wales, training with the Prudential from 1992. Following three
years with the company he further developed his career by spending ten
years as a specialist wealth adviser with Friends Provident.

He established Chester Financial Associates in Upton in 2004. The firm
provides specialist wealth management advice focusing on retirement planning, investment planning and wealth protection including inheritance tax
advice for individual customers, business owners and trustees. Mark has also
presented regular seminars to the general public on inheritance tax planning.

Mark said he’s used some of his prize to replace a 20-year-old television, take a family holiday and pay off a ‘small chunk’ of the mortgage.


• Do not risk more than you can afford to lose, or as the legendary investor
Warren Buffet once said:

Rule No. 1 – Don’t lose money

Rule No.2 – Don’t forget rule No.1!

• Expect the unexpected. Keep an emergency fund accessible for
unforeseen events.

• Make sure you understand what you are investing in.

• Review your plan regularly, making adjustments when necessary.

• Seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser.

You are welcome to ask for more details, please contact Andrea Bird at


About the Author

Paul D

Member since: 10th July 2012

Chester word of mouth specialist, promotes and markets the best businesses in Chester. Passionately supporting local businesses, organisations and events.

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