Thursday, 13 September 2018

Summer Review

We spent the Summer meandering through selected parts of Europe in our campervan. The constant outdoor activity of an August camping trip provided an enforced but welcome escape from the regular feed of news and information and was a great chance to reflect on life and priorities.

Also having time away from a computer and TV finally gave me time to get to grips with my new Olympus PEN-F camera. It's a wonderfully stylish piece of retro design, that lets me do clever things with colour, without having to suffer the trauma of learning PhotoShop!

Anyway, this is an investment blog, so back to the subject. Driving through France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium and Holland I was looking around and hoping to maybe gather real-world insights that would help me to make better investment decisions.

I noticed the Germans and Austrians are spending more than the value of a few HS2s on motorways, bridges and tunnels, and just like us when we build infrastructure over here they use German machinery. I noticed again that Italy is two countries (a rich one and a poor one), that rural France is barely awake, that Belgium can match us for potholes and that Holland is unbelievably cycling friendly.

These observations are nothing new, however, but they do give me comfort that the economic engine of the Eurozone is keeping its foot on the investment pedal.

It also made me wish that the UK could take a more decisive approach to develop infrastructure, with less talking, fewer endlessly time-consuming reports and studies and more digging.

The Germans and Austrians wouldn't put up with terrible road and rail links between two of their major cities, as is the case with Manchester and Sheffield for example; they'd have got to work years ago and dug a very long tunnel.

Behaving as equities have done since the beginning of time my investments went up and then came down again to finish the Summer where they started. The graph was a striking virtual copy of the real mountains I'd been exploring.

Looking to the future I have decided to move my daughter's Junior ISA to another provider (more on that in another post), and I have just noticed three quite interesting new investment trust launches that will take place over the next month or so - Mobius Investment Trust, AVI Japan Opportunity and Smithson. I am having to repeat to myself over and over again "do not invest at IPO stage, do not invest at IPO stage, do not invest at IPO stage."

History tells me (or rather shouts at me) to sit on my mouse hand when tempted to subscribe to an  Investment Trust IPO as if I'm patient I'll almost certainly be able to buy-in later at a discount.

The Rural Investor


  1. I agree with you on these IPOs. At least two (Mobius and Smithson) are in investment categories where the competitor trusts are on substantial discounts i.e. 10%+ so paying par at IPO seems nonsense.
    I won’t be partaking. Time will tell.

  2. Was slightly tempted with Smithson as it might immediately go to a premium, but I know that if in doubt, the best choice is to sit on my hands and wait!


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