Merryn's Blog

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Economy

Batten down the hatches: a Corbyn government could be on the way

Theresa May’s government is so inept that our next PM is quite likely to be Jeremy Corbyn. Not to prepare for that would be very foolish, says Merryn …
5 Dec 2017
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Economy

If the rich leave the country, we will all miss them

Many people are not fond of rich people domiciled elsewhere for tax purposes. But they still pay a lot in tax, and if they go, the country will miss t…
3 Jul 2017
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Economy

Why you can never be paranoid enough: Downing Street's plans to complete the war on cash

When we talked of the “war on cash” many accused us of being paranoid. But Downing Street’s plans for a cashless society went far beyond what we feare…
3 Jul 2017
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Merryn's Blog

The FCA should get tough on the fund management industry

The financial regulator has taken a swipe at high fund management fees. The industry will resist change, but the FCA needs to act quickly and decisive…
3 Jul 2017
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Merryn's Blog

Chinese A-shares, emerging markets, and the myth of passive investing

MSCI’s decision to include Chinese “A-shares” in its emerging market index shines a fascinating light on the passive vs active investing debate, days …
28 Jun 2017
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Merryn's Blog

How to keep your money safe: stay away from “interesting” investments

When everything is expensive and things are changing faster than you can keep up with, the safe thing to do remains the boring thing to do, says Merry…
22 Jun 2017
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Merryn's Blog

What to buy for the long term in this politically charged climate

If you feel wrong-footed by endless elections and uncertain about the future, what should you buy if you want to invest and forget about it for ten ye…
12 Jun 2017
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Economy

Should you cut and run before the vote?

The Conservatives will probably win the general election, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But the actual outcome is very tricky to predict. So now might no…
7 Jun 2017

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Economy

Why buying tech stocks is betting on politics (and a bad idea)

The world’s big tech companies are prime targets for government meddling. They’re not as good a long term bet as you might think, says Merryn Somerset…
6 Jun 2017
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Economy

The robots are not coming for your job (probably)

Many people are panicking about robots taking away all the jobs. But that won’t happen, says Merryn Somerset Webb. New jobs will appear – and in many …
6 Jun 2017
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Merryn's Blog

Big tech firms beware: big government is coming for you

One problem with big tech stocks is that they’re very expensive. But another is the threat from overzealous regulation, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
5 Jun 2017
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Economy

Could Britain rejoin a much-improved EU?

The EU desperately needs wholesale reform. If it gets it, there is no reason why the UK shouldn’t join the new version at some point in the future, sa…
2 Jun 2017
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Economy

The UK can’t afford free university tuition – but Japan can. Here’s how

Japan’s government wants to dramatically boost domestic consumption in Japan by offering free higher education for all 18-22 year olds. Merryn Somerse…
1 Jun 2017
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Economy

Where to get £900m to spend on social care

Get rid of inheritance-tax relief on gifts to charities – and you’ll have an extra £900m to pay for social care, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
25 May 2017
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Economy

How a pension deficit could be costing you £200 a year

Workers in companies with defined-benefits pension deficits are paid on average £200 a year less than those in firms without them, says Merryn Somerse…
22 May 2017
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Economy

Sirius Minerals and the case for a land-value tax

Why should people who have done nothing in particular receive a huge windfall just because they happen to own land in the right place at the right tim…
16 May 2017
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Economy

How car finance and diesel emissions could be the carmakers’ undoing

The collapse in diesel car prices and the popularity of personal contract plan car financing will combine to cause a lot of pain for the carmakers, sa…
15 May 2017
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Economy

Pension deficits aren't real - here's how to fix them

Pension deficits threaten the survival of otherwise healthy companies, damage productivity and hold down wages. But there’s a much simpler solution th…
8 May 2017
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Economy

Want to be a middle earner paying 52% in income tax? Move to Scotland

Living in Scotland could cost the country’s not-particularly-high-earners the equivalent of a family holiday in extra taxes, says Merryn Somerset Webb…
3 May 2017
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Economy

Fund managers are beginning to act like responsible business owners

There are signs that the world’s big shareholders are finally grasping that, as the technical owners of listed companies, they have long-term financia…
3 May 2017
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Economy

Corporations must prepare for interventionist politics

High-revenue but low-tax-paying tech companies could be targeted as the government mollifies voters with interventionist politics, says Merryn Somerse…
1 May 2017
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Merryn's Blog

Even if Macron wins the French election, there could still be chaos

If Emmanuel Macron wins the French election by a small margin, it could cause chaos. It could even make France ungovernable, says Merryn Somerset Webb…
25 Apr 2017
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Economy

The SNP’s clever but nasty politics

Nicola Sturgeon’s response to the benefits cap is a clever one, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But it’s as unpleasantly cynical as politics can get.
21 Apr 2017
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Economy

The real reason to worry about Turkey

There are lots of things to be frightened of in the world of finance. But Turkey should probably be top of the list, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
21 Apr 2017
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Economy

A snap general election makes sense for everyone

Theresa May’s snap general election makes sense for her, for the Conservative party, and for the country, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
18 Apr 2017
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Economy

Why the state pension should be means tested

The state pension should only be offered to those who need it, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
4 Apr 2017
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Economy

An unintended effect of banning cash

By banning cash, central bankers like to think they can control our spending habits, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But it may not be so straightforward.
29 Mar 2017
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Economy

How the private sector works to help the public sector spend our money badly

Virgin Trains’ pretend standard-class ticket is very handy for those who prefer to travel first class but need to disguise that fact on their expense …
21 Mar 2017
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Economy

What to do as inflation returns

Inflation is back. And that’s bad news for savers and borrowers alike, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
21 Mar 2017
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Economy

The chancellor hasn’t finished fiddling yet

The self employed shouldn’t relax yet, says Merryn Somerset Webb. One way or another, Philip Hammond will be back to tax them.
15 Mar 2017
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Economy

How to fix the fuss over National Insurance contributions

The solution to all the fuss over National Insurance contributions for the self-employed is simple, says Merryn Somerset Webb. We all pay the same tax…
14 Mar 2017
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Property

Probate fees: a new back-door property tax

The dramatic rise in probate fees is a sneaky way for the government to tax residential property, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
7 Mar 2017
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Pensions

Top up your pension NOW

If you can to up your pension before tomorrow’s Budget, do it, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
7 Mar 2017
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Tax

Pensions tax relief: is it so stupidly incomprehensible on purpose?

The complexity of the comically stupid policy on pensions tax relief means people have given up trying to understand it – and are paying a pile more t…
7 Mar 2017
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People

Paul Mumford: simple steps to successful investing

Merryn Somerset Webb talks to veteran fund manager Paul Mumford about the secret of his successful career and the stocks he's buying now.
20 Feb 2017
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Funds

Alasdair McKinnon: feather your nest with ugly ducklings

Alasdair McKinnon has turned around the Scottish Investment trust by buying up unfashionable stocks, he tells Merryn Somerset Webb.
3 Feb 2017
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Economy

How the end of cash will make charities a new fortune

When using contactless cards, we tend to spend more per transaction than we would when using cash. That’s something charities have taken note of and a…
30 Jan 2017
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Economy

Gerard Lyons: hard or soft? Let’s go for a “clean” Brexit

We need to stop making such a meal of our exit from the EU and make a clean break. Gerard Lyons tells Merryn Somerset Webb how we might do it.
27 Jan 2017
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Economy

Spotify's salutary example on the dangers of debt

Long-term investors should steer clear of companies with too much debt, says Merryn Somerset Webb. The case of Spotify shows us why.
23 Jan 2017
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Economy

Wealth inequality in the UK may be too high, but it is falling, not rising

Since the financial crisis, the incomes of the poorest fifth of households in the UK has risen by over 13% in real terms and that of the best paid fif…
20 Jan 2017
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Economy

Governments don’t need to ban cash, we’ll all just stop using it

A lot of people worry that central banks and governments will ban cash. But they may not need to, says Merryn Somerset Webb. We might just decide to d…
20 Jan 2017
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Economy

Should companies divert dividends to clear pension deficits?

Most FTSE 100 companies could clear their pension deficits in under two years if they diverted all dividend payments to their pension funds instead. S…
19 Jan 2017
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Property

For property investors, Birmingham beats London hands down

For anyone investing in or building property today, Birmingham is clearly a better place to be doing it than London, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
17 Jan 2017
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Investments trusts

Alliance Trust is finally getting its act together

Alliance is finally doing what it should have been doing for the last 20 years – offering low-cost, high-conviction and well diversified investment fo…
17 Jan 2017
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Investment gurus

Mark Slater: finding growth at a reasonable price

Merryn Somerset Webb talks to investor Mark Slater about how he consistently finds good, growing companies without spending a fortune.
16 Jan 2017
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Property

How to solve the UK’s housing crisis

The problem in the UK housing market is not a shortage of housing but a surplus of speculation called by very low interest rates. Solve that, says Mer…
16 Jan 2017
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Economy

People don’t actually buy cars any more, and that could turn out to be a very bad thing

The way people buy cars has changed. Most use “personal contract plans” – a form of cheap debt. And that could come back to haunt us, says Merryn Some…
5 Jan 2017
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Pensions

Defined benefits pensions could leave business owners destitute

The hypothetical deficits in some defined-benefits pension schemes could leave blameless small business owners facing bankruptcy, says Merryn Somerset…
4 Jan 2017
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Economy

Why modern monetary policy doesn't work – the models it uses are horribly out of date

The Bank of England’s monetary policy isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, says Merryn Somerset Webb. The whole thing needs a thorough overhaul.
19 Dec 2016