Merryn’s blog

Shareholders and the myth of company ownership

M&S shareholders © Getty Images

A company’s shareholders own shares they’ve bought in the same way they would own an umbrella they bought. But owning the company is a completely different matter.

Women don’t outperform men – excellent women outperform average men

100 women in hedge funds © Getty Images

The few women who make it in the boorish world of hedge funds are extremely smart, hard working and ambitious, says Merryn Somerset Webb. That gives them an advantage over the average hedge fund manager, who is merely mediocre.

The rise of alternative currencies

Bitcoin and cash © Getty Images

The more people worry about the death of cash, the more likely they are to replace cash with something else. Merryn Somerset Webb looks at some of the more successful alternative currencies.

Pay for quango bosses is out of control


Nobody knows how many quangos there are, nor how much they’re costing us. But with some chief executives getting nearly £1m a year, it adds up to a quite a tidy sum, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Rent arrears: one more thing for buy-to-let investors to worry about

Propety to let signs © Getty Images

New rules mean it’s about to get a lot more expensive to get tenants in arrears to pay up, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

The best place for buy-to-let investors? Birmingham

Birmingham © iStock

Buy-to-let is a risky investment to make right now. But if you really must buy a property to rent, you should be looking at Birmingham, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

There won’t be a global food shortage, instead there will be a glut


Many people predict a future where there is not enough food to go round, as populations grow. But it’s quite possible we will have too much food, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Super-low interest rates don't work any more. Not here, and not in China either

People's Bank of China © Getty Images

Monetary policy has failed to spark a proper recovery in the West and in China. It’s time to try something else, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

China: the great collapse isn’t coming (probably)

Container port in China © Getty Images

Everyone’s gloomy on China at the moment. But while it’s true that Chinese growth has slowed, there are plenty of signs of improvement and stability, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Want democracy? Leave the eurozone

Alexis Tsipras © Getty Images

Greece’s election result is academic, says Merryn Somerset Webb. The country is ruled by EU finance ministers and the ECB. The only way to get its freedom back is to leave the eurozone.

Thinking of moving your buy-to-let properties into a limited company? That could prove expensive

George Osborne © Getty Images

Moving a buy-to-let property into a limited company to avoid tax might seem appealing at first glance. But, as Merryn Somerset Webb, explains, George Osborne has plans to tax that heavily, too.

The one thing George Osborne and Jeremy Corbyn have in common: they want to end the great buy-to-let boom

Buy-to-let property for rent © Getty Images

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn means all political parties will be forced to debate social justice, says Merryn Somerset Webb. That means affordable housing – and getting tough on buy-to-let.

Buying to let in Scotland might be more profitable, but it's also more risky

View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill © Getty Images

Scottish university towns yield some of the highest returns for buy to let investors. But with rent controls coming, and probably new taxes too, it’s a lot more risky, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Buying in London? Try Battersea – there’s a proper property price crash going on there

New-build falts in London © Getty Images

The glut of new-build flats in London is finally having an effect on prices – with properties in Battersea down by 16% in the last year.

China's 'brand perception’ is holding it back – but that might be changing

Carl Pei of Oneplus © Getty Images

China needs to follow the example of Japan and Korea if it is to progress beyond being a mere assembly line for foreign firms, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

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