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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

If they can't write English, how good d'you suppose they are on investment advice? Plus a bizarre sense of priorities that mystifies me

Eileen McCarthy of UK Auctioneers in Chester got a message from the Financial Times who wanted her to advertise.

It read, "As a number of global dynamics play out, investors are still airing on the side of caution and sticking to less volatile, safe haven stocks.

With only four IMA sectors making a gain in September, achieving returns is becoming ever harder. But never fear, as there are areas where investors are almost guaranteed to make a return.

Antiques is one of them."

I fear the journo who bashed that out is erring on the side of illiteracy - and for all I know, truth as well. That little word "almost" is usually a bit of a give-away, isn't it?

What is interesting is how some people involved in finance can get away with murder while others get clobbered left right and centre. Anyone encouraging people to save - generally a good thing - has their copy so slaughtered by the FSA that it's almost impossible to put forward a coherent argument.

On the other hand, those who encourage them to spend have for years got away with murder. Now, I see, the government is bent on stopping the credit card industry incentivising people to borrow. They are worried about people getting into trouble as a results of having to pay interest rates of 15 - 20%.

But what astounds me - and I keep banging on about this - is that they let Wonga, who charge as much as 4214%, to advertise everywhere from the internet to footballers' shirts. They have a specious argument that because you're only borrowing for a short time the interest rate is irrelevant. On the same lines I could argue that a quick, violent rape is not as bad as a slow, more gentle one.

When I say "criminal" I am not suggesting they are criminals. I suspect even the Mafia would be more reasonable. And when I say "astounds me" it astounds me that any set of people pretending to govern could be worried about 20% when that kind of stuff's going on. We know they're clueless about money, but come on. Can't they count?

Just a point of view, that's all.

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