Hannah Smith

What can women teach men about investing?

Women are still woefully under-represented among the ranks of stockmarket investors. That might be because they lack funds to invest, or confidence, or both. Either way, they are much less likely to invest than men are.

The latest Isa sales figures have confirmed the gender gap once again: in the 2016/17 tax year 17% of women invested through a stocks and shares Isa. That figure was up from 14% in the previous year (which is encouraging) but well below the 24% figure for men. The vast majority of women chose to keep their money in cash Isas.

Which is the best Isa for my age group?

Individual Savings Accounts (Isas) are a useful way to stash up to £20,000 each tax year in a wrapper the taxman can’t touch. They remain popular with savers, who poured a record £608 billion into adult Isas in 2017/18. But the focus is shifting. With interest rates on cash Isas pitifully low and the personal savings allowance exempting most people from paying tax on their savings, cash Isas’ popularity has waned, while inflows into stocks and shares Isas have hit new highs.

Six adventurous single-country fund ideas

The Bric group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) captured investors’ imagination back in 2001 when Goldman Sachs’ chief economist at the time, Jim O’Neill, coined the term. This new investment theme spawned a raft of fund launches, and investors piled in. Then in 2010 South Africa joined the group to turn Bric into Brics.

The only thing to fear is lack of fear

Something scary is bubbling under the surface in financial markets and could blow up into a sub-prime style crisis, leading fund managers have warned. The reason? Investors have become too complacent about macro risks and are behaving as if the era of cheap and easy money will never end.