James Coney  

Follow the black swan for future rewards

James Coney

James Coney

It is not that tail risk investing is not expensive.

For a decade many racked up huge losses or went bust.

But even accounting for his eye-watering performance recently, Mr Spitznagel’s fund is up 239 per cent since 2008. 

Funds like Universa are only open to institutional investors, but it is worth noting because where hedge fund strategies lead, retail funds tend to follow.

Tel boy

Bang! And the old Terry Smith is back.

In a piece he wrote for the Financial Times, the Fundsmith founder showed a return to his outspoken self.

Since shipping out to Mauritius, we have not heard enough from Mr Smith, aside from his brilliantly attended annual meetings.

In his FT article, Mr Smith laid into equity income funds, company risk registers and City speculators. “I have long said no one should invest in equities for income,” he wrote. Punchy stuff.

What has prompted his recent media reappearance?

Had the large outflows earlier this year and his relatively poor performance before that left him feeling bullish now he shaken off some critics? Who knows, but welcome back, Tel.

There may be trouble ahead

I’m starting to get more anxious about the equity release sector.

While residential and buy-to-let lenders have found their business frozen, by the inability to do physical valuations, equity release lenders have found a way through the minefield.

There is increasing willingness to do computerised valuations and keep this increasingly lucrative market bubbling along.

Then there are the ways the sector has found to offer remote financial advice.

I am sorry, but in this trickiest of markets, face-to-face advice is crucial.

From a Zoom chat, it is all too easy to miss the warning signs.

Equity release needs to be careful, as in the push to keep the market open during lockdown, it may just be about to trash what reputation it has gained.

James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times