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What the weekend money pages were saying

Shelby and Dulcie

It seems that most of this weekend’s Sunday Papers’ Money sections were done and dusted before Boris’ announcement on Saturday evening. As he addressed the nation on live TV, those of us living in England found out that we will be joining other regions in the UK in facing new lockdown measures with a four-week closure starting this Thursday. As a result of the timing of this,, there’s no set theme evident across the publications. Of course, Business sections are dominated by analysis about what the different outcomes of tomorrow’s US Election might mean – as well as some last minute reporting on the consequences of the Prime Minister’s statement might mean for businesses in England and concerns about a business and jobs crisis.

So what about the Money sections? Here’s a snapshot of what your clients will have been reading this weekend.

It was mortgages in the spotlight at The Sunday Times Money section. It leads with Kate Palmer’s article highlighting serious problems afoot for self-employed individuals looking for a mortgage deal. She reports on lenders increasingly excluding self-employed borrowers from deals and cuts in how much they can borrow as a result of concerns over possible loss of earnings during the Covid pandemic.

On a different tack, Ali Hussein reports on large outflows of investors’ money from Western European and US equity funds last month, in contrast to the $6.9bn added to emerging market funds according to research from EPFR.

There were some wise words from James Coney, reminding investors that speculating and investing on the result of any election is foolhardy. His message is that short-termism should be replaced by sound investment principles of thinking global, thinking long term, thinking about costs and about what you care about. No arguments from us on that front James!

Over at the Financial Mail on Sunday, Jeff Prestridge and Rachel Rickard Straus take opposing views on whether or not banks should axe free current accounts.  It’s a ‘no’ from Prestridge who argues that free banking is part of the UK’s DNA – like fish and chips. Rickard Straus paints a broader picture, highlighting how there isn’t really any such thing as “free” banking as bank customers pay in other ways.  Often, she highlights, these alternative ways of financing the sector can hit those with least financial resources through increased fees and charges for overdrafts. Of course, they also hit savers paying them less interest than they charge borrowers. In a separate article, whilst highlighting the derisory rates of interest paid on savings accounts, Prestridge reminds readers that the UK stock market is showing a hefty fall since the start of the year and that investing regularly in this way over the long term is a sensible option. As he says ‘long term thrift pays’.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Govt has said that the housing market will remain open as England moves into the second lockdown but there appears to be a lack of clarity over whether estate agents are non essential workers. During the first lockdown the Telegraph reports that around 450,000 moves were frozen. The current two week circuit breaker in Wales has effectively closed down the housing market in the principality. Removals valuations and indeed surveys have been going ahead in Wales during the two week circuit breaker with all participating parties needing to ensure that they were wearing PPE and following social distancing rules but in person property viewings stopped and high street estate agents closed.

The Government and the FCA are reported to have said that the mortgage holidays (along with furlough scheme) will be extended and the PM has stressed that the govt want to allow business to continue and keep the economy going.  On 2 November the FCA will announce details of the extension of the mortgage deferral scheme despite the cut off date being October 31st, the scheme will now continue. The Telegraph view is that longer payment breaks will help stem any increase in forced sellers and should help to ‘insulate house prices from the economic shock of the pandemic’ .

 

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