Merryn Somerset Webb

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Full name: Merryn Somerset Webb

Area of interest: Personal finance (esp. for women)

Journals/Organisation: Financial Times | MoneyWeek

Email: |

Personal website:




Networks:!/merrynsw |



Education: Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University: History & Economics (First); London University - School of African and Oriental Studies: Japanese (MA)

Career: NHK TV (Japan): programme producer, 1992; SBC Warburg: institutional broker, 1993; The Week: finance writer, 1997/1998; worked in the City before joining MoneyWeek at its launch: editor, 2000-; The Sunday Times: financial columnist, 2003/2008; Financial Times: columnist, 2008-

Current position/role: Editor in chief of Moneyweek, FT columnist

  • also writes/written for: writes regularly for Saga Magazine and has also written for the Spectator, Harpers, The Week, and a variety of other magazines

Other roles/Main role: Editor of MoneyWeek and also writes a regular column

Other activities:

Disclosures: Non-executive director of two investment trusts: the Montanaro European Smaller Companies Plc (appointed in March 2011) and Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon (appointed October 2011)

Viewpoints/Insight: Interview by Sophie Morris: My Life In Media: Merryn Somerset Webb - 'Predicting the credit crunch and global recession was relatively easy because it was so obvious. But I have no idea what happens next. It's new economic territory', The Independent, 1st September, 2008

Broadcast media:

  • Frequent radio and TV commentary on everything to do with money, appearances on The Tonight Show, Working Lunch, The Money Programme and BBC Breakfast






Books & Debate:

Love is not enough Merryn Somerset Webb.jpg

Latest work: Love is not enough: a smart woman's guide to making (and keeping) money OCLC 173238590, 2008


Current debate:

Financial Times:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Personal finance (esp. for women)

Section: Your money

Role: Commentator



Website: FT/Merryn Somerset Webb

Commissioning editor:

Day published: Saturday

Regularity: Weekly

Column format:

Average length:

Articles: 2017

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

  • The case for gold continues... - Back in 2000, Bill Bonner, author of financial newsletter The Daily Reckoning, announced his trade of the decade. It was a simple one: sell dollars, buy gold. It turned out to be a good plan - 12th December
  • China? Better its currency than its shares - For the past year or so, I have shared this page with UK fund management guru Anthony Bolton. No more - 5th December
  • Better value for my pension cash - Buying a fund of value stocks should provide good upside if the rally continues, some capital protection if not, and reasonable income either way - 21st November
  • What they don’t teach you at business school - Business school students – and investors - should throw out their textbooks and looking for real value in their investments instead - 14th November
  • Liars should put their house in order - Much fuss this week about the Financial Service Authority’s (FSA) review of the mortgage market - 24th October
  • Buy these cheap outperformers - while you still can - Investment trusts are cheap, they’re easy to buy and they easily outperform most other funds in rising markets. Buy them while you still can - 17th October
  • It’s too early to sing a requiem for the dollar - The dollar looks just about dead. The US is running a massive trade deficit, has an almost unfeasibly large budget deficit and offers basically no yield at all to anyone dumb enough to hold its currency - 10th October
  • Only cash can unite you from the freaky market - There was a time when David Swansen was every investor’s hero. Under his stewardship the Yale University endowment fund outperformed pretty much every other fund in the world between 1985 and 2008 and became the subject of a million business school seminars in the process - 3rd October
  • Japan adds spice to the dinner table conversation - I had dinner this week with friends from my Japanese stockbroking days. They have not gone back into the market. So the question round the table was: is it too late? - 26th September
  • Give me gold sovereigns over paper currency - If, like me, you believe a perfect storm is just getting going in the currency markets, it’s now a question of how – not if – to buy gold - 19th September
  • Going for gold - I’ve been a gold bug for nearly ten years. It’s been good: the dollar price of gold has nearly quadrupled since 2000. It has also been easy - 12th September
  • No jam tomorrow for retailers - I made jam tarts the other day. many of my friends also bake. It is one of the classic symptoms of collapsing consumer confidence - 29th August
  • The euro feels the strain - There was much excitement this week among the “worst is over” crowd as Germany and France reported GDP growth of 0.3 per cent - 22nd August
  • The law of averaging - Market timing is easy in hindsight – but do you know anyone who got out of the market two years ago and went back in this March? - 15th August
  • Too early to declare V for victory - Just because I don’t believe in a V-shaped recovery doesn’t mean I disagree with Barry Norris of Argonaut on European equities - 1st August
  • Pre-pay is a dead loss - If you want a Michael-Jackson-style send off, don’t pre-pay for a funeral plan. Open a savings account, or buy shares in a funeral director, instead - 11th July
  • No upside in these knock-down prices - The fact that commercial property prices in the US are still coming down so fast – along with the fact that residential prices remain under pressure – really matters - 20th June
  • Flat-fee ‘hornets nest’ would prevent us being stung - If no one is willing to make a flat-fee system work for fund management, the next best step would be to regulate for absolute transparency - 13th June
  • Flat fees would deliver better fund managers - Why not charge flat rates for fund management? Everyone would understand what they were paying and there would be lower costs all round - 6th June
  • Bad news dressed up as good - The rising pound is undoubtedly good news for those about to head off on holiday, but investors still need a safe haven - 30th May
  • The bearish case for property - Houses are still too expensive. The average house price is now around £150,000 and the average salary around £25,000. That makes the price to income ratio a whopping six times - 23rd May
  • Pear-shaped replaces V-shaped - For the last 80 years or so, there hasn’t been a recession and recovery cycle in the UK that hasn’t been V-shaped - 16th May
  • Nikkei knack - One of the many press releases I received this week has got me a little worried. It says that a mere 25 per cent of financial advisers think that the recent massive rally in the stock market - the FTSE 100 is at a four-month high – represents the beginning of a new bull market - 9th May
  • Pound is looking palatable - The key driver behind the collapse of the gîte and frite dreams of Britain’s middle classes is clearly the pound. Sterling has fallen10.2 per cent against the euro in the last 12 months - 2nd May
  • Pound is looking palatable - The key driver behind the collapse of the gîte and frite dreams of Britain’s middle classes is clearly the pound. Sterling has fallen10.2 per cent against the euro in the last 12 months - 25th April
  • Enjoy art for art’s sake - The great contemporary art boom was just another bubble. There was never a shortage of supply and demand was more speculative than rational – as perhaps all art investment always is - 11th April
  • Investing - I promised myself that, on my return from maternity leave, I would write no more columns about the property market. I assumed the argument was over. Not so - 4th April
  • Retailers will soon vouch for deflation - For the first time in many months, I ended up paying full price (and not a particularly cheap full price at that) in a UK high street shop - 28th March
  • Don’t bank on the bulls - Since March 6, the S&P 500 index is up 14 per cent and the FTSE 100 is up 9 per cent – leading to a growing belief that we may have seen the back of the bear - 21st March

Articles: 2008

  • Focus on your target, aim and fire - Three years ago, Albert Edwards and James Montier, then of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, published a fabulous report called “Seven Sins of Fund Managers”. It explained how a variety of “behavioural weakness”, all “inherent in the average investment process”, caused average fund managers to make endless mistakes - 5th December 2008
  • Scraping the barrel for real returns - Back in July, I wrote that anyone with significant cash savings should take them to Northern Rock and pile them into the bank’s savings bonds – which, at the time, were offering to pay a fixed rate of interest at 7 per cent a year for five years. Why? - 14th November 2008
  • Property will stay in the doldrums - However hard I try, I still can’t see how the rate cut will make things much better for the housing market. For starters, it doesn’t help most of those looking for a new mortgage - 7th November 2008
  • Songs in a minor key - Anyone who thought the path of the commodities “supercycle” would be a smooth one would have been in for a shock this year. Just look at the performance of the miners - 25th October 2008
  • How to invest it - back to basics guide to weathering the fiinancial crisis - 18th October 2008
  • Bubble, toil and rouble - They say a real bear market isn’t over until all the bubbles surrounding it are well and truly burst. On that measure, you might think we are nearly there. The oil bubble has popped – the price has now fallen below $83. So has the property bubble in most countries - 11th October 2008
  • All this optimism is getting me down - Desperate to find a reason to buy stocks? You aren’t alone. Everyone wants to be the one to pick the bottom of the market and to make the fortunes that tend to come with doing so - 4th October 2008
  • It’s time to review the house rules - Banking regulation is nothing to be rushed into. But that doesn’t mean Gordon Brown shouldn’t use this opportunity to introduce new rules. He should. It is just that he should forget the banks and focus on an easier target: the property investment market - 26th September 2008
  • Forget frantic fixes - it’s a capital offence - If you are one of the remaining stock market bulls looking for a sign of the bottom, you have been spoilt for choice this week. Unfortunately none of the events, extraordinary as each one is and as mad as each one would have seemed a year ago, tells us that the end of our crisis is in sight. It isn’t - 19th September 2008
  • There are no rewards for being brave - I get a lot of irritating press releases. This week’s worst came from one of the personal finance websites and announced that “women are noticeably more brave than men as house prices drop”. The irritating bit? The use of the word “brave” - 12th September 2008
  • Wading through the deluge - An EU directive has resulted in more than 200 UK companies reporting their financial results this week – overwhelming share investors with information, preventing analysts from finessing their forecasts, and making it a frantic week for me - by Oliver Ralph, 29th August 2008
  • Advertisers should switch on to TV - In the course of the average day, I spend several hours on the internet. Before I started writing this, I read and answered tens of e-mails. I looked up car rental prices for the bank holiday weekend. I even double-checked the cheapest rates for offset mortgages (I am absolutely not planning to buy a house – just looking) - 22nd August 2008
  • Make pessimism pay - Anyone who has put land up for sale in the past few years has had the satisfying experience of watching rich City-lifestyle buyers and real farmers elbow each other out of the way to get their hands on fields anywhere from Cornwall to Northumberland - 15th August 2008
  • The problem with cash - We go on holiday to a remote area of Shetland every year. Last year, the talk was of little but fast-rising house prices and the need to get on the ladder as quickly as possible. This year, it was all about how the housing market had frozen. Final proof, were it still needed, that the bubble/bust cycle knows no boundaries - 8th August 2008
  • The recession has just turned global - The most interesting bits of corporate news out this week came from Vodafone and De Beers. These are two very different companies – mobile phone businesses drive their growth at the bottom end of the market and diamond companies at the top end. But they both said similar things - 25th July 2008
  • It’s time to form an orderly queue at Northern Rock - I’ve never been one for tying my money up in long-term products of any kind. But I’m beginning to find myself looking rather longingly at some of the fixed-rate savings bonds on offer - 11th July 2008
  • Get yourself more money and sense I wandered through a City shopping centre earlier this week and marvelled. Here, in the midst of the credit crunch and on the edge of a nasty recession, were hordes of people shopping. Not in Woolworths or French Connection, but in Tiffany, Paul Smith, Hermès, Penhaligon’s and Gucci - 27th June 2008
  • Sorry, but this is going to hurt for a little longer - How do you cope with a credit crunch? That’s the question I was asked to address in a talk to a group of Dutch pension fund managers earlier this week - 20th June 2008
  • Try putting your trust in infrastructure - How often do you buy investment trusts these days? Probably not as often as you did a few years ago - 13th June 2008
  • The City is full of cloth ears - My sister is trying to sell a one- bedroom flat in Battersea. It is on the fourth floor of a Victorian mansion block. It is perfectly decorated and, being on the corner, has two terraces with fabulous views over the park. If one single property were to be immune from the housing collapse in the UK, this would be it. But it is not immune - 6th June 2008
  • In these uncertain times, it pays to hold on to gold - When gold was going for $300 an ounce and oil for $25 a barrel, it was easy to know where to put your money - 30th May 2008
  • Aim is looking cheap – but it’s still not worth it - Around this time last year, the nation’s investment experts all started to point out how cheap the big FTSE 100 stocks looked and to suggest that we all switched out of smaller companies and into blue chips - 23rd May 2008
  • A glimmer of a chance to save face in Japan - At the launch party for the new Spectator business magazine on Wednesday, a banker introduced himself to me. He’d been wanting to meet me for ages, he said. He was a great fan – he read all my columns and had done well over the years out of taking some of my advice. I glowed with pride. Then came the fall. But, he went on, he had also lost a small fortune as a result of buying into the Japanese market – again on my advice – in 2007 - 9th May 2008
  • Rescue rumours require a reality check - Deep in Cathar country in the south-west of France is a small village called Bugarach. To the uninformed eye, there isn’t much to distinguish it from the hundreds of other villages dotted around the Pyrenean foothills - 25th April 2008

FT columns begin from this date...

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