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Current Affairs

Bitcoin: Bubble or paradigm shift?

3 Minutes' reading

This week, Bitcoin breached the $12,000 mark for the first time. The total value of all Bitcoins is now approaching $100bn. Nine years ago, this phenomenon didn’t even exist. As of now, it has rocketed from the remote fringes of finance into the global spotlight at breakneck speed. In 2017 alone, its value has risen tenfold. In fact, it has more than doubled in just the last couple of months.

So, what on earth is Bitcoin? And is it a bubble waiting to burst, or the dawn of a new, enduring era?

Understanding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

By Brendan Ashe
7 December 2017
1
Current Affairs

Should we change the way money is created?

3 Minutes' reading

The so-called ‘magic money tree’ was a hot topic of discussion in the build-up to June’s General Election. If politics isn’t for you, then the expression ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ may have more resonance. Either way, it implies that money cannot simply be created from thin air. 

Yet while this may be true at individual or household level, in reality money is created every day. And lots of it, too.

By Brendan Ashe
1 December 2017
1
Current Affairs

The Autumn Budget: A job well done?

3 Minutes' reading

In recent times, the contents of a Budget speech have seldom been a watertight secret. Indeed, certain proposals aren’t leaked to the media by accident – it’s often a deliberate feeler on the part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to gauge public opinion, and allow the opportunity to amend or retract if there is backlash.

By Brendan Ashe
23 November 2017
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A preview of the Autumn Budget

3 Minutes' reading

The keys to Number 11 Downing Street are much coveted in British politics, and the role of Chancellor of the Exchequer is one which grants the chosen individual a great deal of power in shaping the future of the UK economy. But, as the countdown to this year's Autumn Budget intensifies, one has to wonder: who on earth would want to be Philip Hammond right now?

By Brendan Ashe
16 November 2017
1
Current Affairs

AI: The rise of the machines

4 Minutes' reading

Undoubtedly the biggest driver of change over the coming decades will be Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a much-publicised subject, but also one which is often poorly understood. The prospect of a world effectively run by robots and technology is an intimidating one for many people, and there is ample literature out there that will be concerning for some.

By Brendan Ashe
9 November 2017
1
Current Affairs

Base rate increases: the dawn of a new era?

4 Minutes' reading

3,774 days. 82 Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meetings. 10 birthdays. All that and more has passed by since the last increase to Bank of England (BOE) rates in July 2007.

By Brendan Ashe
3 November 2017
1
Current Affairs

Understanding the UK’s productivity problem

3 Minutes' reading

Few elements of macroeconomics better underscore the frustrating sluggishness of the recovery than productivity stagnation. A problem which applies the world over, but, in particular, appears to be stifling the UK.

By Brendan Ashe
26 October 2017
1
Current Affairs

Inflation: A saver's worst enemy

3 Minutes' reading

For savers, and indeed all British consumers, inflation data for September released by the Office for National Statistics this week confirmed what was already known: the squeeze continues. For the first time since March 2012, the CPI touched 3 per cent – up from 2.9 per cent in August, and within just 100 basis points of Bank of England Governor Mark Carney being obliged to write to the Chancellor to explain why the target of 2 per cent has been missed by more than a percentage point.

By Brendan Ashe
20 October 2017
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Drawdown fees: the price of pensions freedom

3 Minutes' reading

Few major policy shakeups are met without criticism in some corners, but it’s fair to say that the pension freedoms of 2015 have been viewed by retirees (and those approaching retirement) with a widespread, if cautious, embrace. Until then, it had effectively been mandatory for those of retirement age to annuitise their pension pots. 

By Brendan Ashe
12 October 2017
1
Popular

How tech start-ups are driving cross-sector collaboration

2 Minutes' reading

The word ‘disruption’ is often associated with fintech, and sporting a positive connotation to boot.

By Michael Todt
27 September 2017