• Financial Times – ESG? SRI? Is your green portfolio really green?

    You decide to buy a car. You tell the dealer you want to be environmentally responsible and trust him to supply something appropriate. You had an electric car in mind but he supplies a hybrid. Not too bad, but when it arrives you find that the internal-combustion part of the power plant is a diesel supplied by a German maker caught lying about emissions.
  • Financial Times – AstraZeneca is beginning to look like Tesco

    It might be tempting to view last week’s fall in the AstraZeneca share price in isolation, related to the results of the “Mystic” lung cancer drug trial. However, I suspect that AstraZeneca’s problems go much deeper than a setback for a single drug.
  • Financial Times – The unique advantage of equity investment

    Investment in stocks and shares – equities – has a unique advantage over other asset classes which in my experience is rarely understood and almost never discussed. Equities can compound in value in a way that investments in other asset classes, such as bonds and real estate, cannot. The reason for this is quite simple: companies retain a portion of the profits they generate to reinvest in the business.
  • Financial Times: Emerging Markets ETFs and the Jaws of Death

    In his latest article and podcast for FT Money, Terry Smith discusses why it may seem a strange position for an active fund manager to adopt but he is in favour of passive or index investment; the problems with emerging market ETFs; and the types of companies that these ETFs invest in.
  • A Hitchhiker’s Guide to emerging markets

    In my last column for FT Money* I tried to get to the bottom of why so many investors have had such a bad experience pursuing the superior economic growth in emerging markets. This begs a further question: is there a better way to invest in the developing world?
  • Why buy BRICs when you can have MUGs?

    If you were willing to invest on the basis of a snappy acronym with no regard for the economic and political characteristics of the countries, perhaps you should have subscribed for a fund investing in a group of countries which each rank a little ahead of the Brics in terms of Economic Freedom.
  • What did you invest in before the war, great grandpa?

    In this centenary year of what contemporaries called the Great War and we now call the first world war – because it became necessary to number them – what can we learn from the changes in the constituents of the stock market over the intervening century?
  • Big Blue investors may not have a winning hand

    In 2011, the legendary investor Warren Buffett caused a stir by announcing Berkshire Hathaway’s first major investment in a technology company, an area of the market he had always avoided, claiming that he didn’t understand it.
  • Investors are their own worst enemies

    Michael Johnson, the former American sprinter, once said: “The only one who can beat me is me.” I suspect that this statement simply demonstrates a lack of modesty, but it can have another, subtler meaning: that even if we are good at what we do, we are capable of producing a bad result because we allow our own emotions to defeat us. So often we are defeated not by our competition or the difficulty of the task but by our own psyche.
  • Is shale a miracle, revolution – or bandwagon?

    Unless you have been in hibernation for the past few years you will have heard that there is a shale hydrocarbon “revolution” or “miracle” under way. Barack Obama, the US president, pledged support for shale gas development in his 2012 State of the Union speech. David Cameron has urged opponents of fracking to “get on board”.
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