James Coney  

SJP makes steps towards transparency

James Coney

James Coney

This is, after all, clients’ profits that are being deducted to run the business. And that is something for all financial advisers to remember too.

Minister problems

It was pensions awareness week last week, so what did you do to celebrate? A party? A cake? Did you send a card?

The Department for Work and Pensions did its own unique celebration by welcoming another secretary of state to run the department. Thérèse Coffey was appointed following the resignation of Amber Rudd.

It really is no surprise that our pensions policy is such a mess, and ordinary people have such little regard for lifetime saving when the government minister in charge of it changes so routinely.

The DWP is not the only department to suffer from this revolving door affliction.

Housing too has had numerous ministers in charge – but at least policy in that department is not a total mess. Oh, hang on...

Fund reports 

The tale of two interim reports from two so-called stars.

The Woodford Equity Income fund and Fundsmith Equity fund half-yearly accounts dropped within days of each other. One is full of contrition, tinkering and excuses. The other is full of confidence. 

While Neil Woodford was busy trading his way to the straight and narrow, Terry Smith only sold off two stocks in six months.

Mr Smith has a loyal, almost cultish, following and it is easy to see why from his annual report.

He minced no words in his assessment of one stock he sold (Colgate Palmolive), and was frank in his assessment of global markets.

And there was even time to have a veiled pop at his rival. You can always trust Mr Smith to make fund management interesting.

James Coney is money editor of the Sunday Times