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The future of flight
When I was a very small boy, fight in all its forms was still a truly glamorous and exciting thing. The US had put a man on the moon. Concorde whisked people from A to B in enormous style at unheard of speeds. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union's copycat Concorde "Concordski" did the same (though not for very long and with a lot less style, obviously). We really did think that this was the future. Supersonic for the people. How wrong we were. Airliners are, on average, marginally slower than they were 40 years ago (for very good reasons, of course) and their miserly operators cart us unceremoniously from A to B with all the glamour of a corporation bus.
But, as Chris Carter discovers in this week's cover story, things might be changing. Technological genius and bit-of-a-weirdo Elon Musk says he will launch a "hypersonic rocket" by 2022, for example. Musk is hardly known for his modesty, of course, and is prone to the odd bout of hyperbole. But plenty of other companies are actively working in the area. So will it really be possible to get from London to New York in less than half an hour? Chris looks at the current state of research and picks some of the best ways to buy in to the supersonic boom. Read what he has to say here free.
Where to find hidden gems
Wealth management firms have changed a lot over the years. Gone, mostly, are the boutique firms that would hand pick you a portfolio of stocks to meet your particular requirements. That's considered to be too expensive an approach to take these days. Now, investment funds have to have an enormous amount of assets under management to turn the sorts of profits they'd like. The result is that they tend to buy bigger firms, with smaller companies often being passed over. That, of course, has left something of a gap in the market. One that nimbler players such as Nick Greenwood can exploit. Merryn, our editor-in-chief, spoke to him this week to find out how he operates, and has a good rummage around in his portfolio to find some hidden gems. Find out more here.
Sometimes, it makes sense to buy duds
"Past performance is not an indicator of future returns" is a phrase that will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in investment. It's tacked on to the ads for pretty much any fund you're ever likely to see. "Yet a fund's return history could be one of the best guides you have", says John Stepek. There is a twist, though. Go for a dud fund, not the ones that are "enjoying a hot streak". It sounds counter-intuitive, but there's some good research to back it up. John explains it all in this week's investment strategy page. Read it here.
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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.
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