Further rate cuts in bank rate alone might not be enough to bring inflation in line… the Bank of England remains committed to improving liquidity in credit markets that are not functionally normally.” So wrote Mervyn King, then governor of the Bank of England, to Alistair Darling, the chancellor of the exchequer, in March 2009. A decade later, the fallout from that letter is still being felt by ordinary Britons up and down the country.
Is the private equity industry about to trigger the next global financial crisis? For regulators whose job it is to keep a constant watch for looming risks to the financial system, the record levels of leveraged loans taken out by private equity-backed businesses are now causing real alarm.
What do you call a passive fund that isn’t so passive? If you’re a marketing guru charged with selling more asset management products, you come up with a scientific name and pitch your fund as a sophisticated new solution for the problems of our times. Meet the smart beta phenomenon.
Imagine returning home at the end of a long day in the office or a fortnight’s holiday to discover your house has prepared for your arrival. The lights switch on as you pull into the drive, the heating came on half an hour beforehand to warm the place up, and your security system deactivated when it recognised your car. The shopping has been delivered thanks to an automatic order placed by your fridge, and there’s some soothing music to welcome you as you unlock the front door.
Ask any stockmarket old hand for a few words of wisdom that investors should abide by and it won’t be long before you hear the phrase “run a profit, cut a loss”. Intuitively, that makes sense – why would you not cash out of an underperforming investment before your losses spiral, or hold on to a winner for as long as it keeps delivering?
So it goes on. The UK began 2019 as it ended 2018: mired in a fractious debate about how to exit the European Union on 29 March – or not. And for investors, this uncertainty continues to take its toll, both on their portfolios, as market volatility persists, and on their nerves, as they try to p lot a path through the year ahead.
Yes, if you believe Jean-Louis Chaussade, chief executive at French utility company Suez. Explaining his company’s recent $3.5 billion (£2.7 billion) purchase of General Electric’s water business, he told the Financial Times that the day is coming when water will cost more than the black stuff.
What does 2019 have in store for the investment trust sector?
Investors will be hoping for a better year after a difficult 2018. However, while there is cause for optimism, 2019 looks likely to be another year in which the macro dominates the micro. The political and economic drivers that have delivered a rollercoaster ride over the past year haven’t gone away. Expect more thrills and spills.
Retailers are calling 2018 the year of crisis. By the end of October, almost 3,500 stores on the UK’s high streets had shut their doors for good during 2018, according to the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), resulting in the loss of 49,600 jobs. Retail specialists have been forecasting the death of the high street for some time, but this has been the year in which those predictions have really started to come true.
In the clean, green future we all look forward to, the roads will be free of fume-belching vehicles and our society will be powered by natural energy from the sun, the wind or even tidal power. You’ll breathe more easily. ‘