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How to achieve an effective global allocation of equity investments - 7th June 2018

The global equity markets have shown great resilience in the past three months, bouncing back strongly from the sell off at the start of the year. Comforted by this performance investors are likely to have renewed confidence in placing money in the equity markets. As always, though, the question is how to allocate the money between alternative equity investments. It is timely, therefore, to revisit Professor Janette Rutterford's blog from January 2017 which explores how finance theories can be deployed to determine the allocation of investments in the global equity markets.

The FCA initiates action on rent-to-buy and overdraft charges - 31st May 2018

Today’s announcement that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is initiating action to curb the excessive costs of rent-to-buy products and is investigating ways of containing overdraft costs comes as welcome news to the circa three million people in the UK who are forced to rely on high cost credit. As with its regulation of pay day lenders, however, the FCA has to navigate a careful route between making such products more fairly priced whilst not restricting their availability in a way that forces more people to use the unregulated debt market.

Pension transfers growing in volume and mortgage terms beyond the age of 100. What is the older generation getting up to? - 21st May 2018

Two recent news stories have presented an interesting picture about the financial decisions of those in later life. First came further evidence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the growth of the number of people employing the new freedom to draw on their pension pots and transfer their funds to new pension schemes. Then came news that some lenders are providing mortgages for terms that stretch well beyond the time when the lender is 100 years old! One bank has just increased the maximum age for mortgage applicants to 85 years.

True Potential PUFin's finance education mission - 13th May 2018

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 had seismic ramifications on both the domestic and the global economy and also resulted in significant regulatory and financial services industry activity to restore confidence, financial stability, protect consumers and prevent such carnage happening again. These changes have made significant improvements for consumers in many areas although certain groups of consumers have suffered from unintended consequences in some product areas.

No change in Bank Rate comes as no surprise - 10th May 2018

Following its May meeting the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has announced that Bank Rate will remain unchanged at 0.5%. The decision reflects clearly how sentiment about the UK economy is changing. Go back a few weeks and my forecast that Bank Rate would be unchanged was at odds with the consensus (Is there any reason for the Bank of England to raise Bank Rate in May?).

Rent costs are putting the squeeze on workers and pensioners - 1st May 2018

The huge rise in the cost of property since the 1990s has already had a material social impact on the UK. We are all aware of the increasing difficulties that young people are having in getting onto the housing ladder. There has been media coverage too of the increasing numbers of those in their 20s and 30s still living with their parents rather than moving out into their own homes. No surprise then that the percentage of households living in their own properties has fallen from its peak of 71% in 2003 to under 63% now.

The growing participation of mothers in the workforce – a major social change in the UK - 27th April 2018

The position of women in the UK labour market has come under close scrutiny this year, first with the publication of data on the gender pay gap and now with a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) showing that the proportion of mothers who are in paid employment has grown significantly over the past 40 years. A quiet revolution has been taking place with the participation of all women in the labour market growing – a trend that seems likely to continue.

Let’s look at the figures first before examining the causes of this trend.

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.

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