Welcome to the first ever edition of City A.M. Money. At a time of volatility in the markets, and just a few weeks before the most important pension reforms in a generation are finally enacted, our aim has been to produce a magazine that will help you make the most of the exciting new investment opportunities on offer.
The shifting landscape can certainly seem worrying. As Annabelle Williams highlights on pages 12-14, staple income-paying stocks have fallen into trouble, leaving investors having to look in unlikely corners of the FTSE 100 for any prospect of dividend growth.
And, as SVM Asset Management’s Colin McLean tells us on pages 26-29, the challenges Tesco and other blue chips have experienced over the past year may only be the start. Will car manufacturers be the next to find themselves in the crosshairs of accountancy scandals, changing consumer habits, and cost pressures?
But investors that have the courage to look further afield may just find opportunities worth seizing. John Hulsman’s entertaining take on Kurdistan (page 20) is certainly worth reading, and a selection of fund managers give their perspectives on the frontier markets likely to deliver promising returns in the years ahead on pages 23 and 24. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, Harriet Green’s history of the rapid rise of the emerging crowdfunding industry, on pages 30-32, should help you decide whether you’re comfortable taking on the associated risks.
It is, however, important to get the basics right – and our Isa season checklist on pages 35-38 is an essential overview of what you need to do to make the most of this tax-advantaged savings wrapper. The looming liberalisation of pensions is another dilemma investors are having to grapple with. Despite criticism that the end of compulsory annuity purchases will lead to an epidemic of pensioner irresponsibility, on pages 16-18 pensions expert Ros Altmann tells me exactly why people should be trusted to do what they like with their own money (central bankers don’t get off so easily).
But City A.M. Money is not just about the serious world of long-term savings and monetary policy. Fidelity’s Maike Currie is writing a brilliant regular column for us, interviewing a prominent female City worker in each edition. This month she met Sue Round, the redoubtable fund manager and Thatcher-fan, who has strong words for those who think a CFA is all it takes to make a star investor.
I hope that you enjoy reading the magazine. We’d love to hear your feedback.
TOM WELSH EDITOR