Choices, perspectives and dreams

After pension rules were relaxed by George Osborne in April, savers were reported to be ‘cashing in their pension pots’…

3 Oct 2015
Myth and modernity: China is feared and revered by the West

The next horizon

Given that the chaos which engulfed China over the summer included the bursting of the stock-market bubble, a double currency…

3 Oct 2015

After the Brics, the real growth story

As acronyms go, it wasn’t quite up there with Abba, named after the four founders of Sweden’s greatest export. For…

3 Oct 2015
Crowd fever: Hindus at India’s Janmashtami festival form a human pyramid to claim a pot of prize money.

Is it wise to follow the crowd?

Investors are pouring into the crowdfunding arena. Barely five years old, the sector is growing in the UK at an…

3 Oct 2015

The minimalist optimist

When you put your money into an actively managed investment fund, it’s as well to remember that you are putting…

3 Oct 2015

Sail away

You see them in harbours from the Med to the Caribbean: retired British couples sitting on their yachts sipping gin…

3 Oct 2015
Eclipse, foaled in 1764, was an ancestor of 95 per cent of thoroughbredsracing today

A business of dreams

The buying, selling and training of the thoroughbred racehorse is a multibillion-pound global concern that tends to be 18 months…

3 Oct 2015
Worth a lot of notes: Yehudi Menuhin tries out a Stradivarius at Sotheby’s in 1971

Fiddle fanciers

As with vintage wines, there is a finite supply of violins made before 1785 by acknowledged craftsmen such as Antonio…

A boom in naughty weekends

As with the awkward play-off between the possession and consumption of cake, there is a conundrum behind most property investment:…

3 Oct 2015

Teaching prudence at primary school

As a mother of two, I’m discovering that education has changed dramatically since my 1970s schooldays. Maths is now called ‘numeracy’;…

3 Oct 2015

Mad politics make betting fun

Never mind ‘Tories for Corbyn’: what about gamblers for Corbyn? We all know the new Labour leader was a 200-1…

3 Oct 2015
More downside than upside: knife jugglers at a fair in Texas

Catching falling knives

There is a curious pleasure to be had watching stocks plummet — as long as you don’t own them. It’s…

3 Oct 2015

A season of new optimism

How long will the post-election rally last before the next round of market jitters kick in? Whether it’s ‘Grexit, Brexit,…

23 May 2015
Counting the cost: Labour offered nothing for the aspiring middle class

Conservative gains

At a party in London’s St James’s on election night, the many senior business figures present were ecstatic. We’d had…

23 May 2015
Missing man: Carney’s policies matter as much as Osborne’s

Like Christmas, but not in a good way

Well, few saw that coming. After a drearily overlong campaign, election night managed to surprise us after all. This election…

23 May 2015
A sudden glut: the shale revolution has come at a time when western oil demand is falling

Big Oil: not over yet

It was the kind of megadeal that sets pulses racing in the City. When in early April the oil giant…

23 May 2015

Little Oil: cash is king

The small oil and gas company sector, consisting chiefly of AIM-quoted companies, has been massacred over the past few years,…

23 May 2015

Save now, save plenty

George Osborne, just before the election, waved his golden wand to give the over-55s access to their pension cash at…

23 May 2015
Doomed: politicians are gnawing away pension privileges

Forget pensions: ISAs are the future

‘Pensions are finished. I don’t think they have a future.’ Thus Michael Johnson, the Centre for Policy Studies expert on…

23 May 2015

The self-confessed optimist

Interviewing James Anderson is a lot more refreshing than grilling your average fund manager, as befits a man who runs…

23 May 2015

Why can’t I invest in private landlords?

Here’s an oddity. It might make an essay question for an A-level in personal finance, if there is such a…

23 May 2015

More yoga than lap-dancing

Why would any female graduate ever want to work on a City trading floor? Lots do, of course, and very…

23 May 2015
You send me: World Stamp Expo 2013 in Melbourne.

First-class postage

With the exception of the venerable Stanley Gibbons, founded in 1856, most British stamp dealers are snooty about the idea…

23 May 2015

Hole in one: golf’s hottest tipster

Why would anyone bet seriously on golf? It’s fun to have a little punt on the big tournaments — but…

23 May 2015

Lessons from Equitable Life

My name is Louise and I’m an Equitable Life pension holder. In April 2000 I began putting £1,000 a month…

23 May 2015

Keep calm and stay focused

‘How are you?’ asked a health-obsessed friend of mine. ‘Fine,’ I said. ‘In fact, terrific.’ He stared into my eyes.…

7 Mar 2015