Logo
    Search

    Reasons to Put Your Money in a ‘Fragile’ Europe

    enJune 07, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Tax changes and pensionsUpcoming elections could lead to significant tax changes impacting savings, pensions, and ISAs. Potential tax on all pension withdrawals could impact defined benefit schemes and public sector workers, causing complications and backlash.

      The upcoming elections could bring significant changes to the tax system, particularly in regards to savings, pensions, and ISAs. The complexity of the tax system and potential backlash from various groups make it challenging for governments to implement new taxes, even on large sums of money like pensions. While pensions are a likely target due to the substantial amount of money involved, finding a way to access it without causing major controversy or legislative hassle is not an easy task. The tax on savings and pensions, which was previously 25% of the Lifetime Allowance (LTA), could potentially be adjusted to a set amount, leading to the possibility of paying taxes on all pension withdrawals. This change could also impact defined benefit pension schemes and public sector workers, potentially leading to further complications and backlash. Overall, the upcoming elections and potential tax changes highlight the need for individuals to stay informed and consider the potential impact on their personal finances.

    • Pension tax relief reformReforming pension tax relief to a flat rate could make auto and old pensions more attractive to the younger population but negatively impact those in defined benefit pensions. Targeting property taxes for government revenue may not be politically feasible.

      The idea of reforming pension tax relief to a flat rate, such as 30%, has been a topic of discussion for years but has not been implemented due to the potential impact on defined benefit pensions and public sector unions. This reform could make auto and old pensions more attractive to the younger population, but it would also negatively affect those in defined benefit pensions. Additionally, targeting property taxes, like stamp duty or Capital Gains Tax on primary homes, could be another area for government revenue, but it may not be politically feasible due to the sensitivity of the housing market and the NHS in the UK. Europe, despite not being an especially exciting market from a macro perspective, is still a favored investment destination for some due to its potential for cyclical rebound.

    • European productivity challengesEurope's economic growth is dependent on productivity gains due to structural challenges, including a lack of natural resources and a shrinking population. Productivity-enhancing technologies like AI could provide crucial benefits in this environment.

      Europe's economic growth is facing structural challenges due to a lack of natural resources and a shrinking population. This means that productivity will be key to driving future economic expansion. Historically, productivity growth has been linear, not exponential, but there have been instances where falling populations have led to sudden innovation and productivity gains. The current economic situation in Europe, with high labor inflation and a shrinking labor force, could create an environment conducive to productivity-enhancing technologies such as AI. However, the underlying economy may be more fragile than is commonly understood, and the benefits from these technologies could be crucial in compensating for the structural headwinds. The most attractive areas for investment in Europe are those focused on creating productivity growth, particularly in engineering and sustainability solutions.

    • Engineering hubs in EuropeEurope, particularly Scandinavia and France, will be global hubs for mechanical materials and electrical engineering due to abundant energy and long-term capital structures. Investing in companies with unique IP and focus on electrification is optimal.

      While software engineering has been a profitable area for investment in the last few decades, particularly in Silicon Valley, other engineering disciplines such as mechanical materials and electrical engineering will be increasingly valuable in the next 20 to 30 years. Europe, specifically Scandinavia and France, are expected to be global hubs for mechanical materials engineering due to abundant energy and long-term family capital structures. France, with its focus on defense and electrification, is a leader in electrical engineering. The demand function for the electrification industry is experiencing an increase, and finding niches within this industry with high barriers to entry due to IP is the optimal way for investors to benefit. Companies that have invested heavily in R&D over many decades and have unique IP will be able to disproportionately benefit from this structural shift. For example, the tire industry is undergoing a change as electric vehicles require different performance attributes, and European producers who have invested in improving energy efficiency are starting to price their tires differently. Investing in companies with management structures that align with the incentives of long-term providers of capital is also an important consideration.

    • Niche industries for long-term investmentFocus on industries with long-term growth potential and management teams with a long-term perspective to navigate the challenges of an increasingly indebted and uncertain economic landscape. Examples include pest control, industrial gases, low-cost airlines, data, services, and infrastructure.

      Investing in companies where the state is less likely to intervene, such as specific niche industries like pest control, industrial gases, low-cost airlines, data, services, and infrastructure, could be a wise choice for long-term investors. These industries are often overlooked but are essential for the functioning of modern economies and are less likely to face heavy regulation and taxation. However, it's important to note that avoiding areas where the state is a significant presence requires careful consideration and a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape. Additionally, the speaker emphasizes the importance of identifying management teams with a long-term vision and a commitment to exceeding their lifetimes, as these teams are more likely to make decisions that benefit the company in the long run. Furthermore, the speaker highlights the issue of increasing aggregate indebtedness in developed economies and the potential negative consequences for productivity growth and social fabric. Overall, the key takeaway is that investors should focus on industries with long-term growth potential and management teams with a long-term perspective to navigate the challenges of an increasingly indebted and uncertain economic landscape.

    • Hit rate and omission in investingHit rate is crucial in investing, and omission can lead to significant alpha. European companies offer value due to digitalization and market concentration, but AI, ESG, and the transition to a low-carbon economy require careful implementation to avoid unintended consequences.

      Hit rate in investing is becoming increasingly important, with omission being a significant source of alpha. European companies, despite lower valuations, still offer interesting opportunities, especially in the context of digitalization and increased market concentration. The potential impact of AI and ESG are also significant factors to consider, but careful implementation is crucial to avoid unintended consequences. The transition to a low-carbon economy presents challenges, particularly for the most vulnerable populations, and a more thoughtful, granular approach to regulation is needed to ensure favorable outcomes. The role of investor activism is evolving, moving away from extractive practices towards finding sustainable equilibrium points.

    • Business activism and long-term successInvesting in companies that prioritize long-term success and sustainable policy influence, such as Michelin, Rentokil, and Schneider Electric, can lead to innovation and industry leadership.

      The future of activism lies in getting all parts of a business's stakeholder stack to behave as principals, aiming for long-term success and sustainable policy influence. Michelin, a long-term holding in the portfolio, is an example of a company that has driven innovation and R&D, leading the industry in tyre technology. The pest control industry, particularly Rentokil, is another interesting investment due to its network-based business model and the rising demand for pest control services in urban areas. Schneider Electric is poised to benefit from the grid transformation and the growing demand for data center capacity. If given a choice between investing in gold or Bitcoin for a 10-year period, the speaker would choose gold due to its finite supply. However, it's important to note that not everyone agrees on the value of Bitcoin. The discussion also touched upon the importance of scale in the pest control industry and the significant structural demand for electrical equipment in the energy transition and AI growth dynamic.

    • Investment AnalysisThorough research and thoughtful analysis are crucial in making informed investment decisions, with a focus on precise and niche investments, avoiding heavy government debt influence, and considering the potential outperformance of family companies.

      Key takeaway from this week's Marin Talks Money podcast is the importance of deep analysis and understanding in investing. John and Daniel discussed various trends and their potential impact on stocks, such as Michelin's transformation into a tech company and the importance of finding companies that are not heavily influenced by government debt and deficits. Daniel emphasized the need to be precise and niche in investments, rather than focusing on sectors. He also highlighted the potential outperformance of family companies due to the symbiotic relationship between management and shareholders. The conversation also touched upon the benefits of active investing over passive strategies. Overall, the episode showcased the value of thorough research and thoughtful analysis in making informed investment decisions.

    Recent Episodes from Merryn Talks Money

    Why Now Is the Moment for Bitcoin and Gold

    Why Now Is the Moment for Bitcoin and Gold

    Regular listeners of the Merryn Talks Money podcast know that Merryn Somerset Webb usually ends her interviews with one question. If you had to invest all of your money into one of these assets, and hold it for the next 10 years, which would it be: Bitcoin or gold? In this week’s episode, she makes that question the foundation for a conversation with Charlie Morris, chief investment officer and founder of ByteTree, and Alexander Chartres, a fund manager at Ruffer. 

    The episode was taped in front of audience at the Bloomberg offices in London. 

    Want to see Merryn live? Check out her shows in Edinburgh at Fringe Festival this August! 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Merryn Talks Money
    enJune 14, 2024

    Reasons to Put Your Money in a ‘Fragile’ Europe

    Reasons to Put Your Money in a ‘Fragile’ Europe

    On this week’s Merryn Talks Money, host Merryn Somerset Webb speaks with Daniel Avigad, partner and fund manager at Lansdowne Partners, a global investment management boutique entirely focused on active equities investing. He explains why Europe, though debt heavy and over-regulated, may actually be a place to put your money.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Merryn Talks Money
    enJune 07, 2024

    Living Longer Means Rethinking How You Work Right Now

    Living Longer Means Rethinking How You Work Right Now

    If aging doesn’t happen all at once, why should retirement? That’s the question Merryn Somerset Webb explores with economist and author Andrew J Scott in this week’s episode of Merryn Talks Money. They discuss the opportunities and challenges of living longer in the 21st century, and the complications it may inflict on your financial planning. 

    Plus, senior reporter John Stepek joins to talk the quadruple lock and the pensions bidding war. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Merryn Talks Money
    enMay 31, 2024

    How To Protect Your Pension From a New Government

    How To Protect Your Pension From a New Government

    A general election in the UK has been called for July 4. What does that mean for your money—and is there anything you can (or should) do in advance of a possible tide of new policy?

    Those are the questions host Merryn Somerset Webb and senior reporter John Stepek explore with guests Helen Thomas, chief executive of macroeconomic consultancy BlondeMoney, and Tom McPhail, director of public affairs at The Lang Cat. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Merryn Talks Money
    enMay 24, 2024

    The Argument Against Relative Performance

    The Argument Against Relative Performance

    Tellworth’s John Warren tells Merryn Talks Money investors aren’t interested in a manager’s record versus an index—they just want to make money.

    And it has happened again. Another new high for the FTSE 100. Merryn would love to talk about something else, but John Stepek can't. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Merryn Talks Money
    enMay 17, 2024

    Why Everyone Believes What They Want to Believe with Alex Edmans

    Why Everyone Believes What They Want to Believe with Alex Edmans

    On this week’s episode of Merryn Talks Money, London Business School professor and author Alex Edmans joins to discuss his new book, May Contain Lies. Edmans explains why he believes that stories, statistics and studies exploit pre-existing biases.

    Plus, John Stepek joins to discuss yet another boring Bank of England rate decision. 

    Emails to merrynmoney@bloomberg.net

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Making the Case for Active Investing

    Making the Case for Active Investing

    Downing Fund Managers’ Simon Evan-Cook joins this week to talk about the case for active versus passive investing.

    Cook says Jack Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group and arguably the father of passive investing, did “more for individual wealth than anyone in history.” He deserved a knighthood for creating a low risk, reliable and comprehensive way of investing, Cook says. Nevertheless, the fund manager explains why he’s an investor in active funds, and discusses how to find the rare manager who might make you real money over the long term. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Why Sunak May Quit Ahead of a July 4th Election

    Why Sunak May Quit Ahead of a July 4th Election

    Get ready for a UK election this summer, says Helen Thomas, an ex-adviser to former Conservative finance minister George Osborne and CEO of BlondeMoney. On this week’s Merryn Talks Money, she joins Merryn Somerset Webb to explain her core scenario for the British government: Rishi Sunak will resign and hand over to Penny Mordaunt, the House of Commons leader. She will call a July 4th election — and Labour leader Keir Starmer will be prime minister by the middle of July.

    Plus, John Stepek joins to discuss a new high in the FTSE 100 and Opinion Columnist Adrian Wooldridge joins the post-interview discussion to share his views on Helen's predictions. 

    Love/Hate mail to the usual address: merrynmoney@bloomberg.net

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.