James Coney  

We must help savers drown out the markets' noise

James Coney

James Coney

Advisers have to be the calm heads in this storm. They have to be the party-poopers with one eye on reality, the other on the future. Boring but safe – what a reputation to have.

As one day-trader who got in touch with me on Twitter said: “Get ready for the Dow to hit 40,000 and the FTSE to hit 8,000 by 2023. We have one of the biggest stock market bubbles ever coming.”

Normally I would call him deranged, but in this market he might just be right.

Greenwashing

Now, be honest, hands up. We are among friends here. Who else is getting a little fed up with Mark Carney’s rabbiting on about net zero targets and green investment?

It is a noble cause, but it was bad enough hearing it when he was Bank of England governor; now we have to put up with it when he has gone.

I think we all agree that much more needs to be done on climate change, and we definitely need to push the biggest companies in Britain to work harder to achieve this.

But some of these companies feel like they are just part of the exercise to greenwash their credentials.

Very soon we will achieve my great ambition: having no ESG funds at all.

But rather than my dream of it being because investment managers are fully accountable, it will be because they have all got a nice bit of paper signed by Mr Carney.

Predictions

A quick prediction for a Budget next year: the current stamp duty holiday will remain, but the current allowances on capital gains tax will be gone and aligned instead with income tax.

The latter one certainly looks out of kilter, particularly as those eminently sensible (yet often ignored) people at the Office for Tax Simplification now think some CGT rates should be raised.

That said, you will not see any Tory government ever try to raise revenue from the biggest tax break of all: the capital gains exemption on the main home.

That would be a step too far.

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