What caught my eye this week.
Okay, so the level of involvement  discovered so far seems modest. But wouldn’t it be nicer to believe that one reason most Leave voters found it so hard to articulate their reasoning was because they were native Russian speakers living in Volgograd?
Land of hope and folly
It’s no secret I think the decision to Leave was a huge mistake – especially weighed against the reasons many gave for voting that way.
Returning sole legislative authority to Parliament and reducing immigration were the only logical reasons to vote Leave. Everything else we still hear cited – inequality, the London-centric economy, globalization, the demise of ship building and mining, the bemoaning that there’s too many brown people on the High Street – won’t be solved by Brexit.
Yes, this is probably sour grapes on my part. Looking at the marvel that is the vaunted UK Parliament in action since the Referendum is almost enough to make me wish I’d voted Leave too.
How satisfying it must be to see our unshackled political leaders rally around at this time of great national need! To watch Britain bestride the European negotiations with Churchillian authority! To smirk at the perfidious and weak EU caving as predicted within mere days to our every demand!
Well no, none of that has happened. But we have had a Parliamentary sex scandal – and a nostalgic Carry On Cocking Up film is surely in the works for national release on Brexit Day.
A positive spin on Brexit
Enough of my cynicism. Food may lie rotting in the fields because immigrants are going home, banks may already be leasing office space in Frankfurt, and as a nation we may be clutching a red box containing £100 and a Tory intern’s photocopied mock-up of the new Blue British passport yet still desperately hoping the EU says ‘Deal’ – but not everyone is so gloomy.
Neil Woodford’s fund firm asked Capital Economics to produce a huge and hugely pro-Brexit piece of research entitled: Where Are We Now?  and it’s a fairy tale for Brexiteers. A long one, too. It starts as an infographic but you can dig into a ton of sector-by-sector research.
I haven’t read every last page, but from what I’ve seen there isn’t a negative number inside. Except for a potential fall in net migration, of course.
To be fair Capital Economics is mostly looking at things from a ten-year view. As I’ve said before, I agree that on that sort of timescale the UK will appear to be doing okay. The economy will probably be smaller than it might have been – because free trade works – but there will be plenty of other things to blame. Both sides will probably be able to argue they were right.
But both sides won’t have been right.
Right now both sides were wrong. Remainers were wrong that the economy would crash – it hasn’t. Leavers were wrong that leaving would be a doddle – it’s a nightmare.
I hope Capital Economics has split the difference because the scenario it paints as its middle-case outcome is one I think most of us would bite the hand off a banker for right now.
Have you tried our new broker comparison tool? – Monevator 
We now have two ways to help you to save money on platform fees – Monevator 
From the archive-ator: A brief guide to the point of bonds – Monevator 
Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber.1 
Household finances under strain as Nationwide warns of tough times ahead – Guardian 
Chancellor urged to cut stamp duty in the Budget on Wednesday – ThisIsMoney 
Mortgage costs would offset stamp duty cut, says study [Search result] – FT 
Homeowners with a mortgage end up with 15% lower private pensions – ThisIsMoney 
Top of the market? A rediscovered Leonardo Da Vinci painting goes for $450m – BBC 
Returns are almost never average – Vanguard blog 
Products and services
Most banks have failed to pass on the 0.25% rate rise to their customers – ThisIsMoney 
Number of untaxed vehicles in UK trebles after tax disc abolition – Guardian 
Infrastructure fund investors spooked by Labour PFI plans [Search result] – FT 
If bitcoin were a country, its energy consumption would be 66th in the world – The Value Perspective 
Criticism of index-tracking funds is ill-directed [Search result] – The Economist 
“I’m Hungarian and worked in the UK for eight years. Will I get a state pension or could I lose NI contributions after Brexit?” – ThisIsMoney 
Hargreaves Lansdown has hit the million customer mark – Hargreaves Lansdown 
Comment and opinion
Saving rate and mortgage loan repayments – The Finance Buff 
Every day is Black Friday for index fund investors – The Evidence-based Investor 
If it doubled (quickly) then the US market might be in a bubble – The Brooklyn Investor 
How to cynically raise $20 billion in the fund management business – The Reformed Broker 
Saving for retirement: How much is enough? [Search result] – FT 
Even with low expectations, bonds still have their uses – Bloomberg 
Chart crimes – The Irrelevant Investor 
Dividends for life: 3 stocks you can trust [PDF] – UK Value Investor 
Guy Spier: How to build a career in money management [Video] – YouTube 
More (very lucid) thoughts on speculation versus investing – Gannon on Investing 
Tesla’s truck is all about the journey – Bloomberg 
Don’t worry about the flattening US yield curve [For nerds like me; you’ll need to zoom] – Calafia Beach Pundit 
This is how a currency trader actually picks what to buy and sell [Podcast] – OddLots 
A selection of quality personal finance and investing podcasts – The FIREStarter 
Talking of which, The Escape Artist is on the Choose FI podcast [Podcast] – The Escape Artist 
A chat with Robert Shiller, and various index fund matters [Podcast] – Canadian Couch Potato 
Meet the people who listen to podcasts at super-fast speeds – Buzzfeed 
An intriguing interview with Claude Erb about markets, sequence of returns, gold, and much else [Podcast; sort of what I expect it to sound like when we pass the singularity and genius-level Artificial Intelligences appear on CNBC for a chat] – Meb Faber 
Off our beat
Manhattan retail: The new rust belt – Global Macro Monitor 
On the (non) viability of start-up island nations [Search result] – FT 
Raze, rebuild, repeat: why Japan knocks down its houses after 30 years – Guardian 
“Most of the time the future is indeed like the past, and so extrapolation doesn’t do any harm. But at the important turning points, when the future stops being like the past, extrapolation fails and large amounts of money are either lost or not made.”
– Howard Marks, The Most Important Thing 
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- Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. [↩ ]