≡ Menu

Weekend reading: Email SNAFU, and the FCA wants you

Weekend Reading logo

What caught my eye this week.

First off, apologies if you got a rogue email from us yesterday pointing to a popular US investing website – and nothing else!

This was a screw-up, and the person responsible has been roundly ballsed-out – which was the longest talking to I’ve given myself in a bathroom mirror since I worked up the courage to ask out Joanna Jones when I was 13.

It was also a reminder that I really must sort out our creaking email system.

If you subscribe to Monevator by email (and how could you not, it’s free?)  then please watch for an opt-in reconfirmation in the next few weeks. That will ensure you keep getting posted our articles.

(The real ones, I mean. Not the SNAFUs!)

Watching the watchmen

Second, a quick pointer that the FCA is after comments on its discussion paper concerning the rules around high-risk investments and regulated investment firms.

I appreciate that Monevator is the spiritual home of ‘two cheap diversified tracker funds in a tax-wrapper and you’re done’ investing. Many of the products being looked at – such as P2P investing, crypto, and crowdfunding – are frowned upon by true passivistas.

But personally I enjoy the opportunity to lose money experiment with all sorts of weird and wacky things – with my eyes open to the risks – and I know I’m not alone.

Of course there should be proper regulation, disclosure, and oversight. But active and esoteric investing shouldn’t just be for the rich.

Maybe you feel differently? Fair enough. The point is the FCA is asking for your thoughts by 1 July. If you want to have your say, you best get opining.

Otherwise there are truly tons of links below, just in time for the end of summer floods… Enjoy!

From Monevator

How an offset mortgage can help you achieve financial freedom – Monevator

Defensive asset allocation and model portfolios – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Enter The Accumulator’s confession booth – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

UK inflation hits 2.1%, ahead of BOE target – Reuters

About 2.3m Britons hold cryptocurrencies, despite warnings – Guardian

JP Morgan swallows Nutmeg ahead of UK launch of digital bank – Sky News

Cashless society nears, with only one in six payments in cash – Guardian

UK food and drink exports to the EU have plummeted – ThisIsMoney

FCA urges thousands to seek compensation over pension transfers [Search result]FT

‘Big Short’ investor Michael Burry warns of biggest bubble in history – Business Insider

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newsroom raided by 500 officers over national security law… – Reuters

…and the paper subsequently sells five times as many copies – BBC

The distributions of equity returns are not that different whether inflation was rising (blue) or falling (red) [PDF]JP Morgan

Products and services

Equifax has revamped its credit score scale: does it matter? – Which

Lifetime ISA deposits hit £1bn for the first time – ThisIsMoney

Offer: Open a SIPP at Interactive Investor and you pay no SIPP admin fee for six months, saving you £60 – Interactive Investor

Savers pull £24.5 billion from NS&I after rates are slashed – ThisIsMoney

Fidelity now has nearly $18bn in its game-changing zero-fee index funds – Investment News

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade

Seraphim investment trust to give UK investors access to space – ThisIsMoney

How the Maker crypto token reinvents the financial system – Net Interest

Homes for celebrating the summer solstice, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Three solutions for index fund voting dominance – Morningstar

Portfolio acid test – Humble Dollar

Want to stick to your budget? Open six bank accounts – Guardian

A mindful way to pay your bills – Rock Wealth

Avoiding early retirement invisibility madness – Leisure Freak

Predicting inflation is hard – A Wealth of Common Sense

Factory reset – Indeedably

Mid caps are not hidden champions versus small or large – Factor Research

The evidence against private equity and venture capital – Advisor Perspectives

Naughty corner: Active antics

When does the stock market go up? – The Blindfolded Chimpanzee

Two stock pickers look back at their Covid trading journals [Podcast]Telescope Investing

Mega marketplaces – Drinking from the Firehose

Ideas – Enso Finance

The Schiehallion Fund: early and patient – IT Investor

The post-Covid economy mini-special

Office, hybrid, or home? – Guardian

Winners and losers of the Work From Home revolution – The Atlantic

Kill the five-day workweek – The Atlantic via MSN

A ‘Great Resignation’ wave is coming for companies – Axios

Half of US pandemic unemployment money may have been stolen [Really?!]Axios

Covid corner

English Covid R number remains unchanged at 1.2-1.4 – Reuters

What will delaying the 21 June full unlock achieve? – BBC

All over-18s in England can now book a vaccine appointment – The Sun

Brazil’s main Covid strategy is a cocktail of unproven drugs – NPR

In hunt for pandemic’s origin, new studies point away from lab leak – Guardian

Kindle book bargains

The Joy of Work: 30 Ways To Fall In Love With Your job Again by Bruce Daisley – £0.99 on Kindle

Legacy by James Kerr – £0.99 on Kindle

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – £0.99 on Kindle

Liars Poker by Michael Lewis – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

How low can birth rates go before it’s a problem? – Five Thirty Eight

Standard or ESG benchmark? – Klement on Investing

Off our beat

Man swallowed then spat out by a whale – Cape Cod Times

Harder than it looks, not as fun as it seems – Morgan Housel

Some scientists believe the universe is conscious – Popular Mechanics

Three couples in their 60s who share a house in their retirement – Guardian

And finally…

“Indeed, the very idea of ‘normality’ is now little more than a fiction, and in no sense a guide to the future in a world continuously reshaped by radical uncertainty.”
– Gordon Brown, Seven Ways To Change The World

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every Friday! Like these links? Note this article includes affiliate links, such as from Amazon, Interactive Investor, and Freetrade. We may be  compensated if you pursue these offers – that will not affect the price you pay.

  1. 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”. []
{ 20 comments… add one }
  • 1 JimJim June 19, 2021, 5:57 am

    @TI, thank the gods for that! It was just a SNAFU! For one fearful moment I worried that you had sold out to The Fool U.S. (and monetised your asset, @TI last seen sailing on a big yacht into the sunset leaving us behind clutching hankies and sobbing) 🙂

  • 2 Kid Cocoa June 19, 2021, 7:20 am

    Yes, thanks confirming yesterday’s link was just a minor error and not some dodgy phishing scam. I’ve spent the last 12 hours expecting to see my bank account drained before my eyes!

  • 3 Luke June 19, 2021, 7:47 am

    Nice to make the naughty corner again with our active antics, Monevator. The market is currently beating us year to date, so while I might be tempted to be extra naughty to get ahead, actually even active investing can be boring when you do it properly!

  • 4 Chiny June 19, 2021, 8:46 am

    A SNAFU that as well as affecting email, also hit the RSS feed. Actually I thought some spammer had infiltrated the web hosting. I suspect us humble Monevator followers are relieved it was not some dire happening, especially as everything has been so reliable for so many years.

  • 5 Haphazard June 19, 2021, 10:36 am

    Lifetime ISAs….if deposits are on the up, will we get some more providers? There are hardly enough to create much competition – and those that do exist often have limits on transfers in.

  • 6 Matthew June 19, 2021, 11:36 am

    Regarding people using crypto, P2P, etc I believe it’s a function of more awareness of these things – banks will generally not suggest normal savers start investing or have a conversation with them until they have lots of cash and turn up in branch – for regulatory reasons as well as the banks wanting cheap savings customers – so standard investing and education about it is less available to the everyday person. Overcaution about suggesting people address is failing people, and there is insufficient education about what pensions are under the hood so that people actually see that as a form of investing – but on the other hand our equity return also depends on irrational consumerism and overcautious savings accounts providing cheap credit.

  • 7 Lou Canova June 19, 2021, 11:57 am

    Long time reader but never commented before. Thanks for the Sterling work you do you’ve certainly helped me a lot over the years.Looking for some advice on good places to read up on VCT investments. Possible new departure for me as mostly invested in index funds (with some more active picks) but have used up pension and isa limits and a very fortunate couple of years makes me want to look at vct as the tax treatment is very favourable. Any suggestions?

  • 8 xeny June 19, 2021, 12:02 pm

    @Chiny – it was the top article on the actual site for an hour or more yesterday afternoon/evening

  • 9 Jon June 19, 2021, 12:40 pm

    the Investor has done two very good short articles on EIS and VCTs recently..
    that cover the basics and the context.
    They might be a reasonable first start, before delving into the murky world of VCs.

  • 10 Faustus June 19, 2021, 1:12 pm

    Anyone else notice this week that man of genius Dom Cummings has started to take a keen interest in investing, esp. Jeremy Grantham: https://twitter.com/Dominic2306/status/1405622143539367944
    No surprise to discover that he is an apocalypse bear, but curious what asset allocation he currently thinks optimal – presumably 100% cash.

  • 11 Bb June 19, 2021, 2:04 pm
  • 12 Matthew June 19, 2021, 2:07 pm

    Nobody had thought of these things before Dom came along to save the day lol
    All the Spidermans in government would be pointing at each other wondering who to blame:

  • 13 The Investor June 19, 2021, 4:43 pm

    Thanks all, yes it was completely harmless except in that it caused bother and fuss. The site repels literally tens of thousands of malicious attacks a day (sometimes an order of magnitude more) but it can’t protect against me being a numptie! 😉

    @Luke — I enjoyed the diary entries, and especially your frank discussion about whether you’d have been better off doing nothing! The market is a mechanism for making us all look a bit silly. 😉

    I’m very slightly lagging in 2021 (less so than I thought mid-week, when I woke up not realizing The Trade Desk had done a 10-for-1 share split overnight!) but I’m not going to stress about it after that cracking 2020.

    Looking back is great fun, but thinking (as I know you guys certainly don’t!) that every year should be anything like last year would be a terrible mistake.

  • 14 Lou Canova June 19, 2021, 7:49 pm

    Thanks Jon and Bb. That Finumus article is very interesting. Lots more thinking to do…

  • 15 Andrew Preston June 19, 2021, 11:48 pm


    I lent out money through Ratesetter for many years, almost from when they started. Always enjoyed downloading the interest payments. All worked really well. However, couple of years ago, as I recall, they, Ratesetter, made some really big loans to a couple of outfits that were duds. Very embarrassing for them. I’m old enough to remember a man called Jim Slater, his various proteges, secondary banks that went bust…, and decided this was the right time to exit from P2P lending. I chose the right moment, but it was nice while it lasted.

  • 16 G June 20, 2021, 8:33 am

    Agreed on P2P and Ratesetter in particular. As soon as I saw coronavirus gaining momentum in China in Jan 20, I thought I should panic early and P2P didn’t look too good. Took four weeks to get everything out, but I managed it.

    Didn’t worry about S&S etc because I figured they would bounce back eventually, I didn’t need to liquidate them now and I should keep buying.

  • 17 P Everton June 20, 2021, 10:51 am

    Doesn’t Morgan Housel rather misunderstand the two sayings she starts her piece with? They’re surely not about the expert or the prophet.

  • 18 AVB June 20, 2021, 11:11 am

    P2B lending- been investing in EasyMoney IFISA (doesn’t have to be an isa) before and during the pandemic; and surprisingly they haven’t had a single default yet. Might be a good alternative to P2P, I am currently getting about 6% return (the return varies according to how much you invest).

  • 19 Ducknald Don June 20, 2021, 11:40 am


    Morgan is a he rather than she.

  • 20 Andrew June 21, 2021, 12:39 am

    I had a wedge in Assetz Capital (P2P) going in to the pandemic and liquidity evaporated. They were, however, very transparent throughout, continued to innovate on the product (to allow discounted withdrawals to improve liquidity etc etc) and continued to pay interest.

    Recently they are liquid again, and I was able to withdraw without any losses. In fact they have the opposite problem now… too much money flowing in and not enough loan origination to match it to.

Leave a Comment