Hannah Smith

Specialist social housing trusts proved popular, but have disappointed

Social housing investment trusts seemed like a promising investment opportunity when they began courting investors three years ago. With the aim of improving the supply of desperately needed housing for society’s most vulnerable people, the trusts gave investors the feel-good factor along with juicy inflation-linked yields of 5% to 6%.

Four tax clever tricks that work a treat

There’s a raft of different tax breaks on offer in the UK, but a few are often overlooked by savers and investors. Using them correctly means you can reduce your tax bill and keep as much of your investment returns as possible. Here is a guide to some of the possible tips and tricks you could use (but speak to a financial adviser for proper tax planning advice).

Do investors have to choose between green and greed?

This year has been one of weather extremes. By April, the UK had already experienced almost 100 wildfires, making 2019 the worst year for such fires on record. Flooding in Lincolnshire in June drove hundreds of people from their homes. Then a late-July heatwave engulfed Europe, sending temperatures in France above 45 degrees for the first time on record. With such terrifying evidence of climate change before us, combating it has never been more urgent.

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.