James Coney  

Economic squeeze is coming

James Coney

James Coney

Really we must not forget that we are currently in a lull before the storm. We must not pretend that it is not coming. 

As the Office for Budget Responsibility predictions show, at best, house prices could be flat next year. At worst, we could have a crash of 12 per cent.

We should prepare for that.

Platforms vs going direct

I had a debate with a reporter the other day over the benefits of going direct with a fund house and using a platform.

He was arguing that it was unfair that you could get preferential pricing if you went through an intermediary. Why could you not just ring up and get the same share class direct? That way you would save in platform fees.

I understand the logic, but frankly, for anyone with a sensibly diversified portfolio why would you want to go direct? Transferring would be a nightmare; it would play havoc with your Isa and pension wrappers, plus you would have to remember all those account names.

Investment houses, in general (because there is the odd exception) do not want to have anything to do with their end customers. I am fine with that, because platforms are convenient and make your life eminently easier.

The difficulty is choosing the right one.

Consumer habits

Last weekend I went to the shops for the first time since February (other than the supermarket). I spent £80 in Decathlon and felt positively decadent. Our household spending has plummeted since lockdown and while I want to support the economy, I really do not want to go back to where it was before.

I suspect many people feel the same. And that is a problem for all of us.

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