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Is it time to fire the apprenticeship levy scheme? - 20th April 2018

In 2017 the government launched the apprenticeship levy to fund its ambitious plan to have three million apprentices in training by 2020. After only a year the scheme is attracting growing criticism from various quarters.

Is there any reason for the Bank of England to raise Bank Rate in May? - 13th April 2018

The next quarterly Bank of England Inflation Report will be published on 10th May to coincide with the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee’s deliberations about the level of Bank Rate. Some weeks ago a further increase in Bank Rate from 0.5% to 0.75% seemed a very strong possibility. Now, though, the chances of a move look slimmer following the publication of data and news that suggest that parts of the economy, at least, are struggling.

Understanding investment risk and risk appetite - 10th April 2018

With interest rates remaining close to historic lows, with the recent weakness in global equity markets and with even the UK property market becoming subdued the issue of where to invest for a good return - and for a return that is fair for the risks involved - has come to the fore again.

One issue that those advising investors have to grapple with is the lack of clarity that people have about the nature of risks associated with different investments and the genuine appetite they have for taking on those risks in the search for higher returns.

Another wet (and cold) bank holiday - but what about the effect on the economy? - 2nd April 2018

Back in August last year I wrote this blog about the economic effects of bank holidays.

Now after the worst Easter holiday break for years - weatherwise, at least - I was reminded of my blog about the economic effects of bank holidays.

Wrap up warm and read what what I said when the sun was shining last August.

Martin Upton


Interest rates on the rise? - 23rd March 2018

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to keep Bank Rate unchanged at 0.5% at its March meeting. But with two members of the nine person committee - Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders - dissenting by voting for a hike to 0.75% the prospect of a further increase in Bank Rate the near term seems increasingly likely.

In terms of timing the most likely point in the coming months for the next hike in Bank Rate is May, when the Bank of England will present its latest outlook for inflation in the UK.

Keeping a level head when investing - 14th March 2018

Our feelings have an enormous influence on our attitudes to financial risk and investments. So how can consumers deal with the emotional side of money?

Money brings out strong feelings in us all.

Research by The Open University (OU) shows that even experienced City traders can get driven off-course by their emotional responses as they react to the markets. When their investments dip, they may feel isolated, or take big risks to win back their losses.

Are US tariffs on steel and aluminium the start of a trade war? - 9th March 2018

On 8th March President Trump authorised the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into the US - albeit with Canada and Mexico exempted. The move is aimed at protecting US producers of these commodities from 'unfair' foreign competition.

The impact of emotion on investment decision-making - 4th March 2018

The impact of emotion on investors' decision-making is a subject that members of the True Potential PUFin team have a great interest in - particularly Professor Mark Fenton-O'Creevy who is renowned for his research in this area.

Shares magazine's Tom Sieber drew on the expertise of Mark and myself in researching an article on the psychology of investing.

Tom has very kindly agreed to allow his thought-provoking article to be published on this website.

Commonhold ownership of property fails to take-off - 26th February 2018

In the UK the two main forms of property ownership are freehold and leasehold. Under freehold there is outright ownership of the property and land it is situated on. Under leasehold the freehold to the property is owned by a landlord. In recent years leaseholders have complained in their thousands about the terms of their leases. In response to this a new form of ownership called ‘commonhold’ was introduced by the government in 2004. This aims to avoid the common problems of leaseholds. But despite this prospect this new form of ownership has failed to take-off.

A week of missed economic data – what does it mean for households? - 23rd February 2018

This past week has seen a mixed bag of economic data published. A rise in earnings inflation and a sharp improvement in productivity - both suggestive of an improving economy – have been counterbalanced by the first rise in unemployment for two years and a downward revision of economic growth. So what’s going on - is the economy growing in strength or not and what does it mean to households.

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