In this week's MoneyWeek magazine: the pros and cons of peer-to-peer lending; how cash flows move markets; and the price of ethical investing.
Plus: there could be trouble ahead for elderly divorcees; why Europe's banking system is an "accident waiting to happen"; and some novelty ETFs to buy now.
All that, and the usual news, view, features and share tips. Why not sign up now?
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The pros and cons of peer-to-peer lending
Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) has been around for a while now. It grew out dissatisfaction with the traditional financial system in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. As bank lending dried up and interest rates shrank, investors turned to peer-to-peer platforms, which offered mouth-watering returns for lending out money to individuals and businesses who were not being served by the big banks. Now, it's a booming part of the financial industry. The returns available to investors aren't as high as they used to be, but they're still much, much more than you'd get putting your money in a deposit account. But there's a very good reason for that. It's an awful lot riskier too. You're not covered by the financial services compensation scheme which safeguards up to £85,000 of your savings if your bank goes bust. That means you cold lose everything.
So far, everything has been rosy. But the economy has been booming and people haven't been defaulting on their loans in large numbers. But what would happen id the economy took a downturn? I take a look at the sector as a whole, run through the main players and what they're offering, and set a few questions you need to ask yourself before you put any of your money in. Find out more in this week's issue of MoneyWeek magazine.
How liquidity flows move markets
"Money moves markets", says CrossBorder Capital's Michael J Howell in a guest analysis piece this week . And since the financial crisis, the world's central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into global asset markets via quantitative easing. Prices of shares, bonds and property have soared. Now, central banks are talking about cutting back on the money-printing. But it's not just central bank money that has an effect on asset prices. savings flows, bank credit, company cash flows and cross border capital flows all affect liquidity too. "Peaks in the liquidity cycle typically precede asset-market peaks, while lows often indicate that banking problems and often recession lie ahead". Michael's firm has done a lot of research into the liquidity cycle. So what's it saying now? Find out in this week's issue of MoneyWeek magazine.
The price of ethical investing
"If you've been reading MoneyWeek for a while, you'll know that we view ethical investing with a sceptical eye", says John Stepek, our executive editor. But strategies that focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) are becoming quite popular with big investors. There's a increasing amount of research being done into the topic and it's come up with some promising findings. And in one area in particular, ESG investing is worth looking into. To find out what it is, and the best way to invest, sign up to MoneyWeek magazine here.
Elderly divorcees, Europe's banking time-bomb, and novelty ETFs
More and more older people are getting married, says David Prosser on his pensions page. The trouble is, more and more of them are getting divorced. That can be a problem. Research shows that couples who get divorced often end up worse off in retirement, so its important to get the pension sorted out before you split. David runs through the options for both private and state pensions.
Matthew Lynn has Europe's banking system in his sights in this week's City View column. It's in a right old mess. And everything the EU does to fix it just seems to make things worse, says Matthew. He explains what's wrong, and how to fix it properly in this week's copy of MoneyWeek magazine.
In the past few weeks, we've seen an outbreak of what can only be described as "novelty" exchange-traded funds, says David C Stevenson, based on "sexy" ideas and themes including marijuana, music streaming and pro-sports. But alongside the wackier funds, "there are a few genuine diamonds in the rough", says David. To find out what they are, sign up to MoneyWeek magazine here.
There's more, of course. Much more. Alex Ranking looks at Germanys' trade surplus; Ruth Jackson looks at the size of our personal debts, and picks out some of the cheapest ways to borrow; Sarah Moore looks at the thorny issue of leaseholds on new-build houses; and Chris Carter dives into the world of collectable whiskies. A 52-year old bottle of Japanese whisky sold for over £100,000 recently, so it's a serious business. Plus, we've got the usual travel, toys, houses for sale and Matthew Juke's wine of the week.Why not sign up now?
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, scotsman.com, 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.
Stocks and shares ISAs beat cash ISAs despite rising interest rates
Exclusive analysis for MoneyWeek shows that the stock market beat cash ISAs last year - and when inflation is factored in, cash savers actually made a loss. We run through the figures.
By Ruth Emery Published
Waspi women: could they get £10,000 compensation under new bill?
Many women born in the 1950s got a raw deal due to the rising state pension age. The “Waspi” campaign group has been lobbying for compensation for years - we outline the journey so far, and whether they might finally receive some money.
By Ruth Emery Published