Happy birthday to us

From the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression to the house-price bubble, it's been a thrilling 15 years, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

This week marks MoneyWeek's 15th anniversary. Fifteen years, 767 issues (we take the odd week off). That's a lot of share tips, a lot of analysis, forecasts and news. And in our case at least, an awful lot of opinions. Along the way we've made a good many excellent calls and a few pretty bad ones. We've reported on the greatest financial crisis to hit the West since the Great Depression and on the ten largest bankruptcies in history.

We've watched several bubbles from technology to housing and commodities come and go (or in the case of UK housing, stay). We've interviewed and profiled hundreds of interesting people. We've worried endlessly (with good reason) about the eurozone. We've fallen in and (sometimes) out of love with gold. And we've campaigned relentlessly to change the financial industry for the better for fees to fall and for simplicity and transparency to rise. We've also learnt a lot.

You can read Cris Heaton's take on the key lessons of the last 15 years the key one being that, if you let it, monetary policy drives everything. Read through the issue and you'll soon notice that the force behind almost all the extraordinary things that have happened in the financial world in that time has been the same.

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Loose monetary policy drove the credit bubble that ended in the subprime collapse in America. It drove the borrowing binges that ended in disaster for the peripheral eurozone states. It drove the UK housing bubble and the Western equity bubble into 2008. Now, with quantitative easing (QE) seen by most people to be a completely normal policy and negative interest rates thought a perfectly rational policy tool, it has driven most stockmarkets back to their peaks and pushed alternative assets, such as wine, whisky and art, into the stratosphere.

It is also exacerbating the politics of envy and anger across the West. Most people have noticed that wealth inequality is rising and that central bankers have more power than should make sense in a democracy and they don't much like it.So what next?

Unfortunately, it will be all about monetary policy for some time.We know there's more QE on the way in Europe and in Japan. Central bankers elsewhere are unlikely to resist printing more money of their own when their recessions return too. That, as we have learnt in the last five years, could well be good for markets.

You can also see our general recommendations for the next 15 years, our take on the most exciting technologies now, and some good news on the future of the UK manufacturing sector. Finally, our thanks to all those of you who have joined us over the last 15 years. It's been a thrilling journey. Here's to the next 15.

PS. We have only one copy of the very first issue of MoneyWeek left in the office. A bottle of wine to any reader who might be able to provide us with a back-up copy!

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.