THOSE who opt to put their bonus into a unit trust are better off investing it in a fund with holdings in a range of different markets, rather than in a single country fund, says Templeton's marketing and sales director Stewart Aldcroft. He said while many fund management companies were keen to tell people when to buy into a market which was performing well, they were not so enthusiastic about advising investors when to pull out. As a consequence, the investor who had put his money into a fund investing in a single country whose stock market was booming, left it there when that market began to fall and when it would be better to switch it to another market. In a fund invested in a number of markets this would not happen, because the manager would sell the badly-performing market, or stocks, and move into a better market, or shares. 'Someone might say, 'Buy Thailand, it looks like a really good market'. So, you buy into a fund only invested in the Thai market. But if the Thai market went into a slump, the fund company was unlikely to tell the investor the time to sell,' Mr Aldcroft said. 'If you had put the money in a regional fund, which had investments in Thailand as well as other countries, then we might have already sold those Thai stocks for you at the right time and switched the cash somewhere else.' He said the industry was moving away quite quickly from single-country funds and there was increasing evidence that more people were looking for a fund which invested in more than one market. Mr Aldcroft said he would tell someone who came to him asking for investment advice to put about 80 per cent of his bonus into three Templeton funds which had various degrees of risk and reward. The minimum initial investment in the company's funds was US$1,000 (HK$7,800) and investors then had the option of arranging for HK$1,000 or more to be invested in the fund directly from their bank account every month. People should keep their cash in the funds for three to five years, then allow the manager to buy and sell various holdings when necessary, Mr Aldcroft said. Forty per cent would go into the company's global growth fund which had holdings in a range of international equities. 'It is a proven fact that, over time, equity markets will outperform other forms of investment, such as bonds or cash deposits,' he said. 'This fund invests in markets worldwide and has an outstandingly good track record.' He recommended investing another 20 per cent of the bonus in the company's emerging markets fund, which was a more riskier scheme than the global fund but offered the potential of higher growth. Mark Mobius, managing director of Templeton Investment Management (Hong Kong), recommended the advantages of putting money into Latin American and other emerging markets several years before other Hong Kong-based fund companies started to devote as much attention to Mexico and Brazil.