Brexit: opportunity knocks

This week in MoneyWeek magazine, the opportunity offered by Brexit; invest in private equity; and why, even if Donald Trump loses, we should be very worried indeed.


This week in MoneyWeek magazine: seize the opportunity offered by Brexit; an affordable way to get in to private equity; and why, if Donald Trump does lose his bid to become America's first pumpkin-coloured president, we should be very worried indeed.

What does Brexit mean?

This week, we ask a panel of experts if Britain will actually leave the EU, and would it be such a disaster for the country if it did?

As I write, the High Court has said that the government must not trigger Article 50 without Parliament having a say. Pesky judges. Nevertheless, 52% of the people have spoken, and it is likely some way will be found for their will to triumph. So, assuming we do get Brexit be it hard, soft, or a pleasant porridgy consistency somewhere in between how will the economy fare, what's in store for sterling, and what opportunities will there be for investors?

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

It's fair to say the panel leans towards the eurosceptic side of the debate, but it's lively and interesting, and will give you plenty of food for thought. Find out what they've got to say with a subscription to MoneyWeek magazine.

How to tell if you've bought a duff fund

When you invest in the stockmarket via a fund, says Matthew Partridge, you have a choice between "active" and "passive" funds. An active fund is overseen by a manager who picks the stocks that go in it, aiming to beat the market. A passive fund just tracks a stockmarket index. Active funds tend to cost more than passive funds after all, that stockpicking excellence doesn't come cheap. But the trouble is, says Matthew, "some investors are paying active fees for passive performance". These are "closet tracker" funds, where the manager picks a portfolio so similar to the index that "their performance 'hugs' the benchmark". So how can you tell if your expensively managed fund is a closet tracker? Matthew explains it all on his strategy page.

Who should be in charge of the Bank of England?

Mark Carney, the current governor of the Bank of England, has said he'll hang around till 2019, to steer the UK safely through Brexit's stormy and uncharted straits. So, when he does go, asks Matthew Lynn, who should replace him? Recent tradition is to go with a City heavyweight, professional bank insider, or in Carney's case, a high-flying foreigner. "But there is an older tradition worth reviving", says Matthew: "appointing an industrialist." Central banking has become too narrow and inward looking, "dominated by economists and professional bankers". There are plenty of successful business people to choose from. Find out who Matthew thinks could fit the bill with a subscription to the magazine.

If Trump loses, all hell could break loose

It's easy to dismiss Donald Trump as a laughable buffoon. He does play the part exceedingly well. Trouble is, he's frighteningly popular; still bafflingly high in the polls, with still the alarming possibility that he could actually end up in the White House, his tiny orange finger poised over the nuclear button.

"What explains the appeal of a man who seems to defy logic?" asks historian Peter Frankopan. "What is so powerful that tens of millions of voters overlook his obvious flaws?" "The answer", says Peter, is that "Trump, like other demagogues in the past, has the characteristics of a prophet", relentlessly forecasting doom and gloom, with a simple rallying cry: "it is not just time for change, it is time for radical change". But the truth is "there is nothing Trump can do about the problems he identifies", says Peter.

If Trump gets into power, things could get scary. But if he doesn't' they could be downright terrifying, says Peter. Remember what happened when the Bolsheviks failed to win power in the elections of winter of 1917, he says. "Often, it is not salvation that prophets bring, but revolution".

An affordable way into private equity

Private equity gets a bad rap, says Max King. "In popular demonology, private equity funds burden the firms they buy with eye-watering levels of debt, slash costs and investment, boost short-term returns and then exit before the roof falls in, charging hefty fees along the way."

Things are rather different in reality, obviously; private equity takes firms into new markets, strengthening the management and improving efficiency. It's a sector that has the backing of "some of the UK's best known and most successful investors", says Max, including Neil Woodford, James Anderson and Lord Rothschild. "We lesser mortals need to follow their example." Find out how, with a subscription to MoneyWeek magazine.

Share tips, personal finance, property and more

Of course, we have all the usual features too news, markets and politics, plus a roundup of the best share tips form around the UK's financial press, and a professional investor's own tips for growth income stocks. Sarah Moore looks at the pros and cons of investing in student property, Ruth Jackson looks at private health insurance, and in our five-page Spending It section, Chris Carter finds some of the most luxurious ways to travel, we have the best art deco properties for sale right now, and Matthew Jukes tastes an Australian Semillon that will "knock you sideways".

If that takes your fancy, sign up now. You'll get MoneyWeek magazine delivered direct to your door, plus full access to the website and our digital editions, and to the smartphone and tablet apps. Why not sign up now?

Ben Judge

Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website,, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.

Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.