Rob Arnott: Covid's hidden investment opportunities

Merryn talks to Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates about some of the unexpected consequences of Covid and their opportunities for investors, plus the "wonderful safe haven" of UK value stocks, and the attractions of energy companies.

To sign up to watch John’s webinar with Roland Arnold, manager of BlackRock Smaller Companies trust, on 20 October, just go to moneyweek.com/blackrockwebinar – it’s free.

Transcript

Merryn Somerset Webb: Hello and welcome to the MoneyWeek magazine podcast. I am Merryn Somerset Webb, editor-in-chief of the magazine. And as you will all know from the last couple of months, the treats just keep coming. Today, I have with me Rob Arnott, who’s the chair of Research Affiliates. 

Rob, thank you so much for joining us today. Hugely appreciated. I have so many things I want to talk to you about. But before we do that, please really tell us a little bit about Research Affiliates, what you do, why you do it.

Rob Arnott: Sure. We’re probably the only $180bn asset manager in the world that doesn’t manage assets. We’re in the business of doing research into capital markets, into the nature of investing. And out of that research, we develop investment strategies, which we license to others. So, we have large relationships with LGIM. We have large relationships with Pimco, and Invesco and the list goes on, and they then run the assets using our ideas.

And so, it’s an unusual business model, but it works for us. We’re basically an extension of our clients’ R&D capabilities. They have their own ability to create products. But if we can leverage that, they’re happy to have us.

And they in turn are our distribution arm. So, we don’t have to have call centres. We don’t have to have a training desk and so forth. We’re best known as the inventors of the Fundamental Index, which we introduced to the world through FTSE. And we’re also major players in global tactical asset allocation.

Merryn: OK. Do your clients run specific funds based on your strategies, or they take those strategies and put them into their wider research?

Rob: They, in most cases, create funds. So, there’s almost 100 mutual funds and ETFs around the world that are managed using our ideas. Legal & General has commingled trust using our work. Scottish Widows, likewise.

Merryn: OK. So, if my readers wanted to go and find a specific fund that would reflect the kind of things that perhaps you and I are going to talk about, where would they go?

Rob: Well, if you go to any of these organisations and look for the words fundamental index or RAFI – R-A-F-I – that is almost certain to be a strategy that is under licence from us.

Merryn: OK. Perfect. I think everyone will have grasped that. Thank you. Now, on to the kind of things that you talk about and think about. You’re big thinkers around at Research Affiliates, aren’t you?

You have a report coming out, which I think has not been published yet. So, it’s exciting. Listeners, we’re going to hear about it first. A report coming out about Covid. Obviously, everything is about Covid at the moment. There is nothing that isn’t about Covid one way or another. It’s called Collateral Damage From Covid. Now, I think anyone can look around themselves and see collateral damage somewhere. I definitely can. But I wonder what that report is really about. What was the key driver behind it?

Rob: Well, the key behind it was a recognition that a lot of things are happening that aren’t getting reported. Sadly, Covid, you’ve got this global pandemic, and it’s been highly politicised. If you state an opinion, you are presumed to be making a political statement, even if that statement is simply about data.

So, as investors, we were looking at the whole Covid mess and wondering, where are the hidden investment opportunities? Because in investing, if you simply invest in accordance with the common narrative, the common narrative is already in share prices, and so it’s not going to help you. It won’t help you perform better or find the niche opportunities.

So, in the Covid arena, we were asking the questions of, what is underreported? And what are some of the implications of that? So, not widely reported. This past winter was the most benign flu season in history because people were wearing masks, and Covid was making the rounds big time, but ordinary flu wasn’t.

Merryn: That’s interesting. Is it because people are wearing masks or because they’re keeping their distance from each other?

Rob: Both.

Merryn: We’ll never know the answer to that, will we?

Rob: We’ll never know the answer to that. Both help. The masks don’t help the wearer so much, but they do help if you happen to be a carrier. They do help in the moisture in your breath, capturing the viruses and just sticking them into the paper of the mask. So, you’re helping other people. And social distancing also is a factor.

But the biggest thing that’s been overlooked is the surge in collateral damage deaths. In the United States, there have been over 80,000 unnatural deaths above the normal run rate. Now, what are unnatural deaths? Unnatural deaths include things like suicide, homicide, drug overdose, and accidents. People don’t think about this, but if you’re at home, you’re at higher risk of accident than if you’re at work. Workplace accidents are de minimis, but accidents are home are pretty commonplace.

Suicides are not up particularly, but homicides are. Homicides in the United States have been running literally double the normal run rate since last April, May.

Merryn: But is that about Covid, or is that about all this defund the police and so on, all that business [overtalking]?

Rob: I think it’s all interconnected. If people are at home and don’t want to be, they’re getting angry, and some people vent anger in most inappropriate ways. Overdose deaths. Last year, it was up 20,000, 30% just from the prior year, and that’s just for the latter two thirds of the year, because the first third of the year was pretty benign. And so, that means that during the Covid period, it was up by nearly 50%, and that has at least continued, if not accelerated, this year.

So, think of these as deaths of despair or deaths of boredom. You’re bored, so you take drugs. You’re in despair, so you try to mask your sadness with drugs. You don’t do that. I don’t do that, but there are people who will. And that’s 80,000 people who died as a consequence of either our policy choices or our personal choices in responding to the pandemic. That’s a lot.

The other thing that’s interesting, people talk about the number of deaths. I forget the number in the UK, but in the US, it’s now 650,000 and counting, deaths from Covid. Well, what’s interesting is to think in terms of years lost, not just lives lost.

The average Covid death in the United States is somebody who is roughly 80 years old and has roughly three comorbidities. So, what does that mean? That means most of the people who’ve died from Covid were going to die fairly soon anyway. Almost half were people in nursing homes or on hospice care. And hospice, I don’t know how much hospice is used in the UK, but in the US, it’s really intended for the last three months of life.

Merryn: It’s exactly the same in the UK, a hospice. If you’re in a hospice, I’m afraid things have come to a sad end already.

Rob: Right. So, half of those 650,000 deaths were people who were going to almost certainly die within the next year. Of the rest, 90% of the rest were people with multiple comorbidities. That could be something as benign as obesity or something as severe as congestive heart failure. And on average, those comorbidities lead to a life expectancy of around six to eight years. Presumptively, the Covid deaths would’ve cherrypicked the more vulnerable end of that range.

So, if you assume four, five years for that portion of the population, then you’re left with the final 6% people who had no comorbidities, weren’t in a nursing home, average age somewhere in the 60-year-old range. So, if you presume 15 years of life lost for them, do the math and the average death from Covid lost 30 months of life.

Now, think about the 80,000 unnatural deaths. Suicides, homicides, overdoses, and accidents. Those will hit people at all ages, which means that, on average, they lose half a lifetime. So, let’s say 35, 40 years. If you’ve lost 80,000 people, and they’ve each lost 35 years, that’s 2.8 million years of life lost. If you lost 650,000 from Covid, and they’ve lost an average of two and a half years, that’s 1.6 million years of life lost. Nearly twice as many years of life lost due to the surge in unnatural deaths.

That means that the lockdowns, the policy choices, and our own personal choices during the pandemic, personal choices like being afraid to go to the hospital, that sort of thing, that cost nearly twice as many years of life as the virus did.

The other element of not-adequately-covered consequences would be heart and lung disease, stroke, and cancer, what are sometimes called the big four sources of natural death, those are also up, between 80,000 and 90,000, above normal run rate. You’d think it’d be down, not up. You’d think that people with heart disease who die of Covid, those get counted as Covid deaths, not heart deaths, so the heart deaths should be down. No, they’re up. They’re up about 80,000, and that’s been totally underreported. 

Merryn: And is that because people haven’t gone to the hospital in time?

Rob: Frequently, that would be the cause. Or there have been supply chain disruptions for meds. Or they don’t want to go to the doctor either because they’re afraid of catching Covid or because they don’t want to distract the doctor in the midst of a pandemic and don’t know that they need meds. But whatever the reason, those numbers are up 80,000 also.

And they’ve lost an average of, let’s say, three to six years of life. On average. Because people diagnosed with stroke, or heart disease, or COPD, lung disease, or cancer, have a very wide range of outcomes, but the median is about six years. And so, if those 80,000 lost six years of life, that’s going to be another 500,000 years of life lost to the policy choices and the personal choices that we’ve all made during the pandemic. So, this is severely under covered.

Now, this is not all horrible news. What it does mean is that people who would’ve died in 2022, in 2023, instead died in 2020 and 21. And that means that the death toll in the nation, our nation, your nation, almost every nation, will, in 2022 and 23, likely be the lowest in history.

Think about that from an investment perspective. Think about what that means for insurance companies. You’re collecting life insurance payments, and all of the sudden your pay-outs go through the floor. Your margins soar. Think about it from the vantage point of pensions. Your expected pension liabilities understate the true liabilities because the retirees that are left after Covid are going to be living longer because the unhealthy ones were picked off by the disease.

And so, there are some pretty powerful investment implications. The pension community is not nearly as well funded as they think they are. The insurance business is probably going to see a couple of years of remarkably benign conditions. You have a whole host of unintended consequences that stem from lockdowns and our personal choices in the wake of the pandemic.

Merryn: There’s another interesting dynamic there, isn’t there? Which is that all the work that we’ve done, this incredibly fast work on the vaccines that we’ve done so far, could have knock-on effects through the healthcare businesses in terms of coming up with vaccines for other things.

And I don’t know if coincidence or not, but I’m constantly seeing in the papers at the moment news on new cancer treatments, cancer vaccines, etc. I don’t know if this is coincidental, but there does seem to have been some kind of great leap forward in medical technology over the last year and a half.

Rob: I find it fascinating that, so often, we demonise big pharma. Big pharma is creating cures for all sorts of things left and right. And without some profit to cover the cost of that research, it stops.

But be that as it may, what we have in terms of the vaccines is new technology tied to messenger RNA, using mRNA techniques to basically create an antibody that goes around looking for the Covid virus and unzips its DNA. Literally unzips the DNA. And what’s interesting is there’s no reason that you can’t use exactly the same techniques for HIV, for many types of cancer, for many viral infections. And so, the notion of…

I saw a podcast with one woman who was one of the pioneers in mRNA technology, and she made the provocative statement that Covid was going to save many times as many lives as it cost us because of medical innovations that affect a whole range of ailments.

Merryn: That’s a really interesting take, that it may be that, well, the last two years have been beyond horrendous. After that, the effect will be increased life expectancy for some time to come.

00:16:47

Rob: There’s also lessons to be learnt from what happened in the Spanish flu a century ago. In the United States, the life expectancy tumbled 13 years during the pandemic. Average life expectancy dropped 13 years.

Merryn: Well, the main victims of the Spanish flu were very young, weren’t they? It was very [overtalking].

Rob: A lot of them were young. And during this pandemic, our life expectancy in the US fell two years. Now, the aftermath, which gets far too little attention, is that over the next three years, life expectancy in the US then soared 18 years. So, life expectancy net was up five years literally two years after the pandemic and stayed there.

And it would be unsurprising if we see death toll drop to all-time record lows in 2022 and 23, and life expectancy leap to all-time highs in those years, and the research that led to the vaccines wind up being used for a whole array of ailments, meaning that that jump in life expectancy is permanent. That’s wonderful news, unless you’re running a pension.

Merryn: Yes. People running pensions have had tough times already. Low bond yields, etc. It’s been a difficult decade. Really difficult decade.

But let’s look at one of the things that you wrote about towards the end of the report, in section six. This too shall pass, and of course all crises do eventually pass. But in that section, you talked specifically about the UK and the level of antibodies here.

Rob: Yes. It’s fascinating results. The UK, of course, was way ahead of the curve on immunising its population. And whatever one may think about the British government, they got that one right. And the notion of rolling out the first dose first so that more people could have at least one dose, also a brilliant way to deal with it.

Merryn: And they turned out to have been right in leaving that long gap as well. It turns out that that long gap between the first and second dose gave the vaccine more efficacy than doing it very quickly as some other countries did.

My mother being absolutely furious because she had her first dose, and all her friends in France had their second dose before she had… Had their first and second doses before she had her second dose, even though she had her first dose weeks before them. She was constantly ringing me up and complaining to me as though I could do something about it. And so, I was pleased when I was able to tell her the other day that, in fact, that had worked out quite well for her.

And then now, we’re using this strategy in the UK, I think we’re using this strategy anyway, of now that everyone is or the majority of people are vaccinated, of trying to let the virus basically get through the population as quickly as possible, before the efficacy of the vaccine fades, so by the time this wave is through, everybody will have antibodies. I think that’s what we’re doing anyway

Rob: Whether it’s deliberate or not, that’s exactly what you’re doing. And one thing that I find fascinating, the current Delta variant making its way through US, UK, Europe and so forth, just as nasty as the Alpha variant. Spreads more easily. And so, it’s been laying waste across India, Indonesia, the developing economies of the world.

But in the UK, there’s something called case fatality rate. It’s the number of known cases divided into the number of deaths. Well, the case fatality rate during the Delta wave in the UK is down 89% from the last wave. 89%.

That’s wonderful news, but why is it particularly interesting? Well, across the UK, 91% of the population test positive for antibodies. 71% have had the double jab, but 91% have antibodies. What does that mean? It means that two thirds of the people who haven’t been vaccinated, already had the disease. Two thirds.

And if you have natural antibodies or if you have vaccine antibodies, you’re resistant. It doesn’t mean you’re immune. There’s some naivety about the word immune. You’re not immune. You’re resistant. And most importantly, you’re resistant to it being a bad case. So, you don’t wind up in the hospital. You don’t wind up dead.

In the United States, there have been 2,000 people who had been doubly vaccinated, who died, but that’s out of 180 million vaccinated people. So, that’s one out of 100,000.

00:22:03

Merryn: But also, we can’t say that because of this confusion between whether people die primarily of Covid and comorbidities, etc. We can’t tell whether people have died with a positive test, and it hasn’t been the Covid that has been the main contributor to the death. So, these numbers are still very confusing. One of the incredibly frustrating things about this pandemic is that even now, 18 months on, it’s quite hard to get a handle on the data properly.

Rob: That’s partly because it’s so heavily politicised. If you take a view that the lockdowns are at this stage doing more harm than good, you are presumed to be an anti-vaxxer. You’re presumed to be right-wing. And so, everything is politicised, which is very sad.

People say, follow the science. Scientific method means challenging your own assumptions, challenging your own conclusions, asking what’s wrong with your own ideas, and openly welcoming alternative views. That’s scientific method. It’s not saying, follow the science when it agrees with me.

Merryn: Well, I suppose that the UK, or certainly the government at the moment [unclear] has made it pretty clear that they’re not intending to introduce any more lockdowns of any kind. Perhaps they have done the same research as you have.

Rob: Yes. I think the first lockdowns were totally fine because we didn’t know what we were dealing with.

And if politicians, instead of saying, we’re following the science, had come out and said, we don’t know what this thing is. We don’t know how bad it is. We’re going to be hypercautious because there’s more downside in being careless about it than in being too cautious, so we’re going to be too cautious. Bear with us, please, while we figure this thing out. Instead of saying, follow the science. If you disagree with us, you’re ignoring science. That’s total rubbish.

Merryn: Well, because the science was, A, unknown, and B, changes all the time.

Rob: Exactly. And there are different views floating around. The right way to deal with science, with different views, is open-mindedly consider the alternatives and don’t dismiss them until you’ve studied them and proven them wrong.

But be that as it may, there are a host of long-term unintended consequences. Work from home. In the US, we’ve swung from having 17% of IT employees working from home rather than at work, to 44% now working from home entirely, not even coming to the office once. That’s going to swing back towards the old norms, but it’s not going to return to the old norms. It’s only going to swing back partway. Which means work from home will be far more routine than it used to be.

I’m in the fortunate position of being in an industry, as are you, where working from home, you can be just as productive as working in an office.

Merryn: I don’t know. I bet you don’t find yourself doing the school runs and the laundry while you’re working from home.

Rob: I’ve got a nice hermetically sealed office at the house, that allows me to do podcast like this one without any fear of a dog running in.

Merryn: Listen, we had better move on to the other thing that people aren’t necessarily thinking about. This, again, is connected to what we’ve been talking about with Covid, which is the UK. The rapid vaccination rate here. The antibodies that we’ve just been talking about. The way we have been able to reopen the UK economy, or at least the English end of the UK economy, so quickly relative to other countries, perhaps. Add that to the fact that the Brexit deal is done.

And you have looked at the UK and said that, actually, the UK market, and UK value stocks in particular, is what you would call your trade of the decade, which I’m thrilled by because, by the way, this is my trade of the decade as well. So, I’d love it if you can tell us a little bit about why it is that you agree with me.

Rob: It is fascinating to me. When we issued that report in January, we’d been talking since last fall about the UK being a trade of the decade. I don’t like to use words like trade of a lifetime because you just don’t know. But trade of the decade means this is something that’s almost certain to pay off very handsomely on a ten-year basis.

And when we published that paper, I was shocked. I thought people in the UK would be pleased that we were declaring UK stocks to be trade of the decade. Instead, in the comments attached to the publication, we were excoriated for not understanding how bad UK companies are. I thought it was quite funny.

Anyway, the yield in the UK is higher than in Continental Europe. It’s higher than across the MSCI developed world. Shiller PE Ratios, price relative to ten-year smoothed earnings, fell to a low of roughly ten times earnings in the Covid crash, and they’re still under 15 times earnings. The US is at 38 times. 38 times the ten-year smoothed average earnings.

Just nosebleed valuations. And the UK is 60% off relative to the US. Well, to my way of thinking, mean reversion, should the UK be at a lower valuation multiple than the US? Maybe. I don’t know. But 60% off, no way.

Merryn: If so, why should it be? Why should we be? Everyone says that this is because we have very few big technology companies, and we’re not a growth market, etc., so we deserve to trade at something of a discount. But I have seen research recently that shows that even if you take out the difference in the style of company and just compare sector by sector, UK stocks still trade at a massive discount to US.

Rob: That’s exactly right. I’ve heard arguments that US remains a hub for entrepreneurial innovation. And across Europe, perhaps, because of demographics, older populations, there’s less entrepreneurial capitalism, less patents, that sort of thing. But that makes a difference only at the margin. Maybe the UK should be at a discount to the US. It shouldn’t be a large discount.

60% off sounds to me like there’s room for it to double. Any time I see a market that has ample room to double, I want to own it. Unfortunately, in the US, we don’t have any ETFs that track UK value stocks, the out-of-favour, the unloved stocks. Why UK value? Because look down the road. I like to ask the question, will this or that problem still be with us in five years? Is Covid still going to be a major issue roiling the world economy in five years? Nope, not likely.

And so, as the global economy recovers, who’s going to benefit most? The countries and markets trading at deeper discounts. What about value? Value stocks have slower growth, lower profit margins, less competitive product, often have less insightful management, but that’s all in the price. The stocks will perform badly as stocks only if the companies perform even worse than bleak expectations.

So, once again, five years down the road, will these companies see elevated bankruptcies? Not with Covid receding. Not with global supply chains re-established and things humming along OK.

So, the big beneficiaries of, this too shall pass, are the value stocks. The growth stocks already saw a huge surge because they were perceived to be very well positioned for Covid and for a post-Covid world. And like most narratives, that’s absolutely true. They were well positioned. But like most narratives, they’re already in the share prices. The share prices reflect the fact that these companies were and are well positioned, reflect the fact the value stocks had elevated risk of bankruptcy, but that risk is ebbing. 

And as the risk is receding, UK value looks to us to be one of those wonderful safe havens, not individually stock by stock, but in aggregate, safe haven that could easily double in the coming half dozen years.

Merryn: And you’re not concerned, as so many people still feel to be, I suspect necessarily, but nonetheless, there’s a lot of concern still around Brexit, and about the fact that people [unclear] go, this isn’t going particularly smoothly, although, actually, to me, it seems to be going remarkably smoothly, given how it was predicted to go. Are you worried about that? Or do you think this, again, this will definitely have passed in a couple of years?

Rob: The Brexit concerns are definitely part of the current narrative about the UK. Boy, the UK made a terrible mistake. It’s going to compromise its ability to trade. It’s going to be forced to follow EU rules regardless, etc.

Roll the clock forward five years. Is the EU going to have an active trading relationship with the UK? Of course. Is the UK going to turn to other non-EU markets to bolster their trade elsewhere? Of course. They won’t have to follow EU rules to deal with their trade outside the EU.

Will the UK stop being a finance centre because it’s not part of the EU? Pardon me, the US isn’t part of the EU, and it doesn’t seem to have impaired our ability to have a vibrant financial services community. The UK can do much the same.

So, I look at this as something that’s going to create endless complications, frictions, problems, troubles for a while. And five years from now, will be not quite a non-issue, but close. Ten years from now, it’ll be a total non-issue. And any time you see a narrative that’s driving the market, that won’t be driving the market in five or ten years, it’s a really easy question to ask, which markets are going to benefit as this particular narrative, this particular problem dissipates? Well, that’s the UK.

Merryn: OK. Let’s look at this the other way around. I agree with you, by the way, entirely. You’re completely brilliant, of course. But what if instead of the UK doubling, the US market halves? You just told us the valuations there. It sounds like a bubble to me.

Rob: We have bubbles galore in the US. One of the things I’m proud of is back in 2018, we created a definition for the word bubble that is actionable, that you can use in real time. That definition is very simple. If you’re using a valuation model, discounted cash flow, something like that, you’d have to make implausibly aggressive assumptions to have any sort of decent risk premium. And as a cross-check on that part of the definition, the marginal buyer doesn’t care about valuation models.

So, take GameStop. Went up 100-fold in nine months, with 80% of that rise happening in three weeks. The narrative that drove GameStop was, hey, here’s a stock with short interest that’s larger than its overall capitalisation. More than 100% of the stock has been shorted. Let’s show these idiots. We’re going to buy the stock and do this short squeeze. OK, well, that drove the share price up. The short squeeze was very effective. It put at least one hedge fund out of business. But…

Merryn: Cheered up my lockdown to no end as well, by the way.

Rob: But is that a valuation narrative for the future? No. Does the marginal buyer care about fundamentals? No. The people advocating the trade were saying, don’t pay attention to fundamentals.

Tesla is another interesting example. You’d have to make rather extreme and highly implausible assumptions about the future in order to justify today’s share prices, trading somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 times its annual sales, never mind PE ratio.

And trading at that kind of multiple of sales, if the company grows 50-fold in the coming decade, 50-fold, and has a decent profit margin at the end of ten years, then it might be OK at today’s price. Well, 50-fold. Amazon in the last decade grew 11-fold. So, is Tesla going to grow five times as fast as Amazon? I don’t think so. And does the marginal buyer of Tesla care about valuation models? No, they don’t.

So, there are bubbles galore. I wouldn’t say the US stock market in aggregate is a bubble. I would say it’s very expensive. But I would say that there are bubbles galore, mostly in the tech arena, and there are also non-bubbles. Apple, you have to make aggressive assumptions to justify today’s price, but not implausible assumptions, and the list goes on there.

Merryn: What other parts of the market in the US might be non-bubbles?

Rob: I think the most vivid example would be energy. Very much out of favour. The narrative is these companies are all sitting on stranded assets that will never be economically interesting to extract because of the green revolution. Well, again, this sounds… Any time you opine on energy, you’re presumed to be political.

No, let’s look at simple facts. 83% of all energy used worldwide is carbon based. The most optimistic forecast have that down to 70% in ten years, and 60% in 20. And that 60% will be larger in absolute terms, absolute use of carbon than today’s use of carbon. So, if that’s the case, we’re going to have a big carbon-based energy segment of the market for decades to come.

Does that mean stranded assets? I think every time the assets look stranded, and prices go down, in commodities, the quip is that the cure for low prices is low prices. Meaning that low prices stifle additional quest for the product, and then the prices recover. So, we’ve seen in the last year a huge surge in oil prices. Now, a lot of those assets aren’t stranded anymore.

And so, just viewing it, ignoring all of the political controversy and just viewing it from a simple economics perspective, these companies will be around for a long time, and they’re priced as if they won’t. So, that would be what I would call an anti-bubble. An anti-bubble is a market in which, using a conventional valuation model, you’d have to use implausibly pessimistic assumptions in order to not earn a good risk premium. That’s true of pretty much the whole energy sector.

Merryn: Rob, I feel we’re going to have to leave it there, but that was absolutely fascinating. And that discussion on energy, particularly relevant today, as we see the natural gas shortage beginning to affect absolutely everything.

Anyway, we really appreciate you coming on to talk to us, and I think we got some pretty amazing takeaways there. Buy energy. Buy UK value. Buy insurance companies. Worry about your pension. And think about the things that other people haven’t thought about when it comes to Covid. Rob, are you on Twitter? Is there any way that our readers can follow you and see what you’re thinking on a more regular basis?

Rob: We have a website, researchaffiliates.com. And if you go onto that website, you can sign on and get emails every time we release a research paper. We tend to release two or three research papers a month. And you just glance at the title and glance at the opening paragraph and decide whether to read on. I think they’ll decide to read on more often than not because it’s very out of mainstream research.

Merryn: I’m sure they will decide to read on, and I will definitely be reading on. Thank you very much. Now, if you’d like to hear more from us, of course you can go to our website, moneyweek.com, where you can sign up for our brilliant newsletter, usually written by the fantastic John Stepek. That’s Money Morning.

You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at MoneyWeek. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at MerrynSW. And you can follow John on Twitter at John_Stepek. I’m not sure if he’s on Instagram or not, but I’m going to ask him.

If you have a moment and you enjoyed this podcast, which I know you did, please feel free to review us on your podcast provider of choice. Only review us if you’re giving us an excellent review because the way we continue to get consistently excellent guests is from those good reviews. Thank you very much. And Rob, thank you so much indeed. I hope we will speak to you again at some point.

Rob: I’m sure we will. All the best. Thank you. This was fun.

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Low interest rates have helped the biggest companies to entrench their positions. But what if rates rise?
25 Oct 2021

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Properties for sale for around £1m
Houses for sale

Properties for sale for around £1m

From a stone-built farmhouse in the Snowdonia National Park, to a Victorian terraced house close to London’s Regent’s Canal, eight of the best propert…
15 Oct 2021
How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy
Energy

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy

The government has started to roll out its plans for switching us over from fossil fuels to hydrogen and renewable energy. Should investors buy in? St…
8 Oct 2021
Emerging markets: the Brics never lived up to their promise – but is now the time to buy?
Emerging markets

Emerging markets: the Brics never lived up to their promise – but is now the time to buy?

Twenty years ago hopes were high for Brazil, Russia, India and China – the “Brics” emerging-market economies. But only China has beaten expectations. …
18 Oct 2021