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My Brexit tip & the big opportunity in private equity

by Gavin Lumsden Jun 16, 2016 at 07:00

Nick Greenwood, manager of Miton Global Opportunities (MIGO), reveals the private equity investment trust he is keeping an eye on in case there is a 'remain' vote in the EU referendum next week.

He also discusses why he has upped his holding in private equity investment trusts. Shares in many of these funds are undervalued but could benefit from a $1.2 trillion wall of money set to hit the private equity industry.

MIGO is an investment trust that seeks to exploit mis-priced investment trusts and closed-end funds. For more details see our factsheet.

Can't watch now? Read the transcript

Gavin Lumsden: Hello, with me today is Nick Greenwood, manager of the Miton Global Opportunities investment trust. Nick thanks very much for coming in. Your investment trust invests in other investment trusts which is very interesting for private investors so they’d like to know, I think, how do you go about choosing investment trusts?

Nick Greenwood: The sector is highly illiquid and therefore being an investment trust I can hang on and sit on situations much longer than other types of investors. It’s a disparate sector, there are all sorts of different asset classes so actually finding ideas is just leg work and meeting lots and lots of managers and talking to lots and lots of people and interesting opportunities discover themselves.

GL: Investment trust shares have a tendency to trade at a discount, cheaply, below their net asset value. Is that something you’re looking to take advantage of?

NG: Very much so but the day job is working out what the underlying portfolio is actually worth. In many cases the methodology doesn’t reflect the true value of the portfolio. So sometimes it may be you buy shares on a modest premium but it’s the stated net asset value that’s wrong and actually the true value of the assets is vastly higher. So in practice it’s on a discount, not necessarily on a stated discount.

GL: Well at the moment we’ve got a lot of uncertainty because of the European Union referendum. Is that creating opportunities for you or are you keeping your powder dry?

NG: It’s not causing that much turmoil apart from the property sector where people are holding off doing deals and that sector, it’s sort of slowed. And we may get a – if the vote is and I suspect the vote will be that we choose to stay in Europe – then we will get a relief bounce in some of these asset classes.

GL: OK so property trusts could be a good thing to look for? Any ones in particular?

NG: The one I’ve got my eye on is a Birmingham specialist called Real Estate Investors.

GL: Ok and what do they do, they’re based in Birmingham, are they a regional?

NG: Regional, regional. Yeh, we’re seeing London flattening out but some of the major secondary cities in the UK are still progressing quite nicely.

GL: Now if I can just move on a bit, because one of your recent purchases is in a different sector. It was a private equity trust. Now private equity trusts have been very interesting, it’s a sector that’s been very undervalued for a long time. Which one did you buy and why?

NG: We bought Standard Life European [Private Equity] although the story really was more of a macro one about the sector. I’ve been adding to all the holdings in the private equity sector.

GL: What is you like about private equity so much?

NG: Well it’s partly because the methodology is slightly behind the curve. There’s $1.2 trillion of what we call ‘dry powder’ in the private equity industry waiting to be invested. That’s a global figure.

GL: This is cash they’ve got to invest.

NG: This is a global figure. It’s been raised by private equity houses that now need to buy unquoted companies for their portfolios. The interesting thing is that money will get spent, otherwise those organisations won’t be able to charge their customers fees so we have a massive sellers’ market in this area. Now the long-established UK investment trusts have mature portfolios that have been fully invested for some time and therefore they own exactly the assets these organisations want to buy. So it’s likely that mature assets will be sold well above their stated net asset values [NAVs].

GL: So there’s a wall of money coming towards private equity investment trusts.

NG: Well the wall of money is for private equity generally but of course a UK investment trust is in a bit of a sweet spot because it already owns the assets the new money will seek to buy.

GL: Now private equity trusts and the word ‘sweet spot’ seem odd because their shares have been undervalued for some time. After the financial crisis the discounts went out as wide as 80 or 90%. And they’ve been coming in but a lot of the trusts trade at 20% or 25% below net asset value. Isn’t that saying investors are wary or suspicious of this asset class?

NG: I think there’s all sorts of things going on in pricing. One is that the sector did have a bit of a car crash in 2008 and 2009 because they over commit, they commit to more investments than they’ve got simply because it takes time for these things to work through the system and therefore if they didn’t they’d never by fully invested. But there were fears in 2008 and 2009 that some of these companies were insolvent which means that some investors are too nervous to go back into this area.

Also the traditional buyers of investment trusts are the old private client stock brokers. That whole industry has effectively been consolidated into four, five, six major houses which are typically running £25 billion. It’s very difficult for them to buy an investment trust of £200, £300, maybe £400 million and allocate it across all their clients. They don’t have the confidence that they will be able to buy sufficient stock or sell it.

GL: So there’s a lack of buyers for the shares. Yet the shares and the portfolios have been doing quite well recently at a time when there’s concern about the global economy and stock markets haven’t been good. Why is private equity bucking the trend?

NG: I think where the markets may be efficient or, rather than being caught in the cross-fire of other factors, is that when all this money gets spent and we are in a sellers’ market it’s difficult to see how these trusts will invest profitably in the next cycle given the high entry point to make new investments. So they’ll sell existing investments at higher than stated NAV which will push their net asset values higher but at that point, taking that cash and reinvesting it profitably may be difficult. However, I suspect that the NAVs have typically got another 10-15% to rise so in some cases we’re talking about, if the share prices don’t move up, we’re talking about a discount of 50% and that really discounts the possibilities that managements will destroy capital to stay in the game.

GL: Well Nick, thank you very much for telling us about private equity trusts.

NG: Many thanks.

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Comments  (29)

  • Keith Cobby: 

    MIGO is a minnow with middling to poor performance. Much better opportunities elsewhere.

    10:09 on 16 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    Why we should Remain

    • A strong, dynamic economy. We have had the fastest growing economy of the G7 countries over the last 35 years in the EU and we have the highest ever rate of employment. Since the single market began in 1993, our GDP is up 62% in real terms compared to 48% in Switzerland and 35% in Germany. All reputable economic studies from the Treasury and the IMF to Oxford University and the London School of Economics show we would be worse off by tens of billions of pounds outside the EU. We have access to the single market and through the EU trade agreements with more than 60 other countries with more on the way. Nearly 50% of British trade is with the rest of the EU, and it is estimated that over three million jobs in this country are connected to membership. Businesses large and small are in favour of Remain.

    • A strong NHS. Funding for the NHS depends on having a strong economy. Over 100,000 people from other EU countries work in the NHS and social care, including 10% of doctors. NHS staff, management and scientists agree that we should Remain.

    • Security. The EU has helped to keep the peace in Western Europe since its foundation. Before 1945, Europe was regularly devastated by conflict and war. Economic interdependence now makes war unthinkable between member states. The EU has also promoted the consolidation and spread of liberal democracy, in post-war Germany and Italy, in post-authoritarian Spain, Portugal and Greece, and most recently in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. For these reasons, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. The current and all former heads of NATO and 12 former heads of the British Armed Forces agree that UK membership of the EU is important in maintain peace and security in Europe. The European Arrest Warrant has allowed us to return criminals to other EU countries and bring to justice here thousands of British criminals who had fled to Europe.

    • Science and research. These are boosted by joint scientific and university programmes across the EU and the free movement of scientists and engineers. Over 150 members of the Royal Society of scientists have said that leaving the EU would be ‘a disaster for science and universities.’ Universities, including Oxford and Cambrige, support remaining in the EU as do over 80% of students. Airbus in Broughton has highlighted that moving experts between their sites around Europe is vital for the way they work.

    • Opportunities for us and our children. You can freely travel, study, work and live anywhere in the EU. The right of free movement for EU citizens hugely benefits the UK. It boosts our economy and enriches us culturally. Universities in particular benefit from the rights of students and world-class researchers and teachers to move freely. Moreover, many hundreds of thousands of British people live, study and work in other EU countries. We will all be poorer if we lose this right. Young voters are overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the EU as they see these opportunities as a right which would go if we left the EU. There are as many UK citizens in other EU countries as there are people from other EU countries in the UK – we get just as much benefit.

    • Rights, protection and benefits. The EU is a force for progressive values. It champions our civil and political rights, and has outlawed discrimination based on gender, race and sexuality. The EU provides a guarantee for workers’ rights, women’s rights and equality throughout the EU. The EHIC card gives you health protection when travelling anyone in the EU, Open Skies has greatly reduced the cost of air travel in the EU and mobile roaming tariffs within the EU will soon be zero.

    • Britain leading in Europe and the world. Britain should be leading in the EU and across the world and our influence is amplified by being part of the EU. We have control over rules, opt-outs to protect our unique position and a veto on important matters such as new countries joining. Crucially, membership allows us to influence EU laws. It also allows us to play a role in reforming the EU’s institutions and procedures. Were Britain to leave the EU, it might be allowed to stay in the single market, but it would no longer have a say on deciding its rules or shaping its future. Through the EU we are a rule-maker on the single market, but outside we would be a rule-taker just having to accept the rules with no say.

    • Keep the UK together. Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and the Falklands are all likely to vote heavily in favour of Remain. If we left, Scotland would call another independence referendum. It would be a disaster for Gibraltar and the Falklands as the vast majority of their exports go to the EU. Putting up a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would according to the Irish prime minister endanger the stability of the peace process.

    • Farming and the environment. The National Farmers' Union, which represents about 70% of full-time farmers has recently stated: 'On the balance of existing evidence available to us at present, the interests of farmers are best served by our continuing membership of the European Union.' This statement came after an evaluation of the pros and cons and a survey of members that gave a 2 to 1 result in favour of remaining in the EU. Consider that 93% of UK beef exports go to the EU. If we cut ourselves off from that market, as Michael Gove wants, then farmers will struggle. There are environmental standards to ensure there is no race to the bottom. Britain’s beaches were cleaned up as a result of an EU-wide initiative to improve environmental standards. The RSPB and WWF have said that the natural environment will be safer if we stay in the EU.

    17:02 on 16 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    Why brexit is wrong

    • Brexit would be an economic disaster for Britain, putting us in recession. The cost of the EU from our budget is about £50m a week (not £350m brexit claim), but if we left we wouldn’t save any money as the damage to the economy of cutting ourselves off from the market where almost half our exports go would cost us tens of billions of pounds. In negotiating a post-brexit agreement we need the EU more than they need us – we export over 12% of our GDP to the EU, but the EU only exports 3% of its GDP to us. What’s more, many foreign firms, like Nissan, set up shop in Britain because we are a gateway to sell stuff to the whole EU. If we quit, other countries might grab our jobs by luring companies away from the UK.

    • Brexit would wipe out manufacturing in Britain. The Brexit supporters want us to reduce our tariffs to zero without any agreement on lower tariffs from other countries. This means for example, China could flood our market with cheap steel and wipe out our steel industry. UKIP opposed support for the British steel industry in the European Parliament. Patrick Minford, the lead economist for the Brexit side, said in March, 'Over time, if we left the EU, it seems likely that we would mostly eliminate manufacturing'. There are over 2.5 million jobs that are dependent on manufacturing in this country.

    • A weak Brexit economy, means cuts in public services and a weaker NHS. All major unions, including the NHS unions, are in favour of staying in as they know the damage brexit would cause the economy and therefore the NHS. 10% of doctors and over 100,000 NHS and social care staff come from other EU countries.

    • Don’t trust Brexit campaigners. Boris Johnson wrote of privatising NHS services when he said: “If people have to pay for them, they will value them more,” and he has demanded the scrapping of the EU’s social charter which protects employment conditions. Michael Gove called for the health service to be ‘denationalised’. Nigel Farage has said that the NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies and suggested that there was a big problem with employee rights and protections such as maternity leave for small firms. Arron Banks the millionaire backer and co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign in a recent interview stated: ‘If it were up to me, I’d privatise the NHS’. Tim Martin of Wetherspoons is a big user of zero-hour contracts giving people unstable incomes and hours.

    • Consider who you’d be voting with. Remain is supported by the NHS staff, scientists and management, farmers, large and small businesses, universities, scientists, the current and all former NATO chiefs, 12 former heads of the British Armed Forces. Leave has the support of the far right of the Tory party, Farage, Gove, David Icke, Donald Trump, George Galloway and extreme right-wing parties such as the British National Party and the French National Front.

    • Brexiters have no plan. What model would replace the EU? They won’t tell you because they just don’t know. Some talk about Norway, which pays as much as we do to the EU allows free movement but has no say in the rule-making, while Gove says we should become part of Greater Albania, which even the Albanian prime minister says is not a good position to be in. How can they ask you to leave if they have no alternative? It’s a fingers-crossed and let’s just hope for the best attitude with the catchphrase ‘we just don’t know’. They want you to gamble – to play Russian roulette with our economy and NHS.

    • Red tape = rights and protection. The UK is already the second lightest regulated economy in the developed world according to the OECD. When brexiters talk about getting rid of red tape, they mean getting rid of workers’ rights, women’s rights and environmental protection.

    • Brexit means less sovereignty, losing control. Brexiters call for sovereignty, but we would have less sovereignty if we left the EU, not more. An isolationist Britain would not have the power it has within the EU where it can influence policy and other non-EU countries would be more interested in the much large EU market than in Britain. We would have to be a rule-taker just accepting single market rules and technical standards, rather than being a rule-maker in jointly deciding on them in the EU.

    • Free movement of people benefits the UK. Over 100,000 people from other EU countries work in the NHS and social care services. They also are key workers in house-building to provide accommodation we need and many other industries, like Airbus where research and free movement within the companies is essential. People from other EU countries make a net contribution to our economy allowing more investment in public services. They are generally well-educated and working. Most immigration to the UK comes from outside the EU. The Australian-style points system proposed by Brexit doesn’t work. It’s enormous red tape for our businesses and would slow the economy. We already use this system for non-EU immigration, and that is higher than EU immigration. Vote Leave have said they want to increase non-EU immigration. Australia has proportionally 3 times as much immigration as the UK. There are local issues where there is a sudden influx of migrants, but that should be resolved by our government’s planning. There are as many UK citizens in other EU countries as there are other EU citizens here. The rights of UK citizens in other EU countries would not be guaranteed if we left.

    • Don’t believe the Leave lies. The EU is democratic. EU decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers (our elected government ministers) and the European Parliament (our elected MEPs). The Commission is unelected, but performs the same role as our unelected civil service. Turkey is not joining the EU – it applied to join in 1987 and has so far only completed 1 of 35 conditions - at the current rate of progress its application would be complete in the year 3000 and even then we have an absolute veto. There are no plans for a European army and we’d have a veto anyway. We would not be liable for any euro problems.

    17:02 on 16 June 2016

  • Alan Anderson: 

    Tragic news today.

    The EU is not democratic. The EU Commission is the unelected lawmaker of the EU. It is not like the UK civil service. In fact the Commission has it's own large EU civil service. The EU MEPs merely rubber stamp whatever the Commission sends down to them. The Commission's decisions cannot be reversed. The Commissioners cannot be voted out by an electorate. This is NOT democracy. The Council of Ministers are elected to NATIONAL parliaments. They have NOT been elected on an EU mandate. They are about as democratically elected to the EU as the Gov of the Bank of England is to Westminster. They are all appointed.

    IN vsb, you have been unable to respond to my teasing about naming the Leader of the EU - because there is no leadership, astonishingly. So we can't get a policy statement about the UK's treatment in the event of a Brexit. A few days ago Schauble surfaced and gave his pronouncment on that subject. He doesn't hold any EU post, as far as I know. So can anyone be in charge of the EU?

    So, if Russia marches back into Estonia who will take the decision what to do? It will be Nato and NATIONAL leaders with military forces who will respond. As we well know the EU takes 7 years and counting to make a relatively simple trade deal with Canada. You have to have leadership to take decisions. It is not the EU which has kept the peace in Europe since WW II. The EU came into existence in 1992. The EU doesn't have any military forces. The EU doesn't have a leadership.

    The Nobel Peace Prize? They gave Obama the same trinket 7 months into his Presidency! Completely devalued.

    19:27 on 16 June 2016

  • xxxxx: 

    I have come to the conclusion invsb is somewhat unhinged posting the same stuff all over the boards.

    19:53 on 17 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    As 'invsb' is pontificating on why we should stay in the undemocratic, corrupt, power grabbing, expensive, elite supporting EU club, I feel perhaps a few points on the other argument might be in order.

    Let's discuss the financial liabilities resulting from an IN vote ("The UK’s liabilities to the financial mechanisms of the European Union"; Bob Lyddon)

    We have a partial liability for the entire EU budget which includes obligations towards the Multiannual Financial Frameworks used to bail out failing Member States – currently 1.23% percent of EU GNI = €40 billion per annum, or €280 billion over the seven years that the MFF is supposed to last.

    When one or all of the insolvent Member States (currently Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal) fail the UK would be called upon to contribute to the Macro Financial Assistance Programme and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (neither of which has any stated ceiling). The maximum theoretical liability for the UK in respect of these various commitments is, over the next seven years, €441.1 billion.

    In addition the UK is liable for further calls on the subscribed capital of the ECB and the EIB, the Bank of England has a 13.67% stake). If a call on a guarantee is made by the EIB, the cash required to honour it comes out of the EU budget. In other words, European institutions generate debts which are honoured by Member States.

    At the moment Greece cannot repay it’s currently due debt to the ECB without a €4bn bailout.

    The Italian banking system is carrying as estimated €360 billion of non-performing loans and as Italy has a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 133 percent so cannot bail out its banking sector – it would require EU assistance.

    An emergency loan for Greece through an EU-wide bailout fund using up to £850m of British contributions from the European Financial Stability Mechanism fund. Osborne complained that the decision to use the EFSM — despite previous agreements that it would not be used in eurozone bailouts — was made in a crisis meeting with no noneurozone country official in the room. Osborne was told by EU officials that the nine noneurozone countries didn’t need to be consulted because the 19 eurozone countries have the qualified majority necessary to make such decisions.

    So maybe 'invsb' could pontificate on just exactly where we are to find the funds to bail out the inevitable Italian bust???

    09:28 on 18 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    As 'invsb' is pontificating on why we should stay in the undemocratic, corrupt, power grabbing, expensive, elite supporting EU club, I feel perhaps a few points on the other argument might be in order.

    Let's discuss the national security liabilities resulting from an IN vote. The claim - We are safer in the EU. However:

    Although the EU had said it would not make any further enlargements eastwards, in 2008, the EU offered Ukraine a ‘Stabilisation and Association Agreement’ including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement. The EU brushed aside Russian concerns over the effect of the EU agreement on the conditions of trade agreements of the Commonwealth of Independent States which includes Russia and Ukraine stating (25 February 2013 José Manuel Barroso) "one country cannot at the same time be a member of a customs union and be in a deep common free-trade area with the European Union".

    In Nov 2013 Russia warned of its security concerns and Ukraine subsequently proposed starting three-way talks between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU but the EU rejected trilateral talks stating the EU would not tolerate "a veto of a third country" in their negotiations on helping Ukraine to become a 'new member state'.

    The Russian and EU political interference in Ukraine sparked a revolution in 2014 and subsequent signing of the EU/Ukraine agreement by the replacement government, which would in time lead to Ukraine joining the EU and result in Russia’s only warm water naval port at Sevastopol being placed within the EU. Consequently Russia annexed Ukraine (historically part of Russia).

    So, 'invsb', if the EU cannot see the obvious warning signs of the consequences of its actions, how on earth is the UK ‘safer in EU’?

    09:42 on 18 June 2016

  • Anonymous 1: 

    It's a question of heads or hearts. It would be marvellous if we could ditch the unrepresentative and undemocratic EU without economic problems However, the arguments put forward by the Remain campaign are very convincing.

    What I don't like is the emphasis of the Remains on the necessity of unrestricted European immigration because of the number already employed in the NHS. We could still permit those we want to come.and bar all the others.

    The Remains have no answer to the shortage of hospital beds, shortage of school places and the shortage of housing.caused by the unrestricted influx of foreigners. This island is full - we can't take anymore.

    The Scots are holding a pistol at our heads by threatening Independence should we Leave which would be disastrous for the UK

    I shall vote Remain but with a heavy heart.

    11:41 on 18 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    Convincing Remain arguments from credible experts - like this lot maybe?

    1981 a letter signed by 364 economists warning of the threat of recession – published just as the economy was starting to recover. Such an overwhelming consensus of economists, all wrong.

    1992 - The Treasury, backed up by most of the economic establishment, said that if we left the ERM (forerunner of the Euro), inflation would surge, interest rates would rise, and the economy would be damaged. We were forced out of the system on 16 September 1992, and inflation fell, interest rates were cut and the economy recovered. Such an overwhelming consensus of economists, all wrong.

    2008 - a group of leading economists, including Nick MacPherson, a permanent secretary at Britain’s Treasury, and Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill said “In summary, your majesty, the failure to foresee the timing, extent and severity of the crisis and to head it off, while it had many causes, was principally a failure of the collective imagination of many bright people, both in this country and internationally, to understand the risks to the system as a whole”. Such an overwhelming consensus of economists, all failures.

    2014 - a grovelling apology from IMF head Christine Lagarde (currently waiting to stand trial in France accused of a €400m fraud) for the failure of the IMF to correctly predict the UK economy. Another failure.

    So, completely and consistently wrong for 35 years – why should we think these economists are right this time?

    12:02 on 18 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    Anonymous (why?) - you say the Scots are holding a pistol at our heads by threatening Independence should we Leave which would be disastrous for the UK.

    1. They cannot demand independence - this is a matter for the UK parliament only. The Scots are powerless in this matter, so can be ignored.

    2. Scottish independence if allowed by the UK parliament, will boost the English economy, with a flood of businesses, skilled people and capital abandoning a country that cannot exist in its current form without English financial assistance. You can review the Scottish government's financial accounts if you want to see how the £16,000,000,000 provided annually by England keeps the profligate Scottish government afloat.

    12:10 on 18 June 2016

  • Dave Hill: 

    Lies, damn lies and statistics. With statistics you can prove anything you like. We pay into the EU £350 million per week. The following year the EU pay back about £120 million per week on projects they choose. It could be toward an art gallery, a project for homosexuals. We do not have any control on how it's spent. This cash would be better spent on building more schools, hospitals etc to cope with the number of immigrants. They contribute to our economy but is schooling, free health care etc taken into account. Most of the money they earn then goes back to their home country, so is not circulated in this country.

    How many hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost because we're in the EU. Large companies want us to remain because they benefit from it eg with EU grants Cadbury have closed most of their UK factories and relocated to Poland. If we leave there could be tariffs on their chocolate. Ford have closed their transit factory in Southampton and relocated to eastern Europe. We have a very large balance deficit with Europe whereas we make a profit with the rest of the world. Take cars for example. I don't think there would be any tariffs. Europe sell far more cars to us than we do to them. If tariffs were introduced the German manufacturers would soon be squealing and with an election next year they would not want thousands of job losses.

    Economic predictions are not accurate 3 months in advance so how can they be accurate many years into the future. How accurate are the economic predictions. One organisation is 70% funded by the UK and EU. They are not going to bite the hand that feeds them so they will support remain even if it's just to keep their funding.

    I don't think it's going to make much difference if we leave or remain. I have faith in this country to succeed either way. The EU is failing and I don't think it's going to be that long before it collapses.

    20:43 on 19 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    We never send £350 million. Never heard of the rebate? That comes off the figure before any money is sent. We send the equivalent of 27p per person a day - half the price of a Mars bar. Good value for the trade, investment, science funding etc.

    Between 1950 and 1973, the year that Britain joined the EU, our economy was the slowest growing in Europe and the G7 countries. Since 1973, we are the fastest growing – better than Germany, France and the US - and we have the highest ever rate of employment. Since the single market began in 1993, our GDP is up 62% in real terms compared to 48% in Switzerland and 35% in Germany. All reputable economic studies from the Treasury and the IMF to Oxford University and the London School of Economics show we would be worse off by tens of billions of pounds outside the EU. We have access to the single market and through the EU trade agreements with more than 60 other countries with more on the way. Nearly 50% of British trade is with the rest of the EU, and it is estimated that over three million jobs in this country are connected to membership. Businesses large and small are in favour of Remain.

    22:58 on 19 June 2016

  • Alan Anderson: 

    1973. That would be the EEC. Nobody had heard of the EU then. It was invented in 1992.

    I fear IN vsb is approaching heart failure.

    Some family members have just returned from a holiday in the south-east of Germany. A beautiful part of that country. One of their hosts said they read British online newspapers to find out what is happening in Germany as the authorities have clamped down on any negative news on the new arrivals. She said Merkel is much hated now in Germany. Parents are afraid to let their children out on their own. Many are hoping that a Brexit will give the Germans a chance to have a say in their own future too.

    Over to you IN vsb.

    23:20 on 19 June 2016

  • James P: 

    Invsb - stop hijacking this site with your long-winded opinions.

    MIGO is very interesting since it has so much value built in. No other trust does what this trust does. If it does wind up then the value, or some of it certainly, will be released. Even though each investment could be deemed higher than normal on the risk scale the overall risk is neutralised with such diversity.

    17:33 on 20 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    Alan - you really are in full Project Fantasy mode :-)). You clearly don't know Germany very well... press freedom is extremely important there. The EEC became the EU... brush up on your history too. Germany is one of the most pro-EU countries...again get some facts, not fantasy. Even their far-right party, the AfD, is pro-EU.

    20:54 on 20 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    Brexit would be an economic disaster for Britain, putting us in recession. The cost of the EU is about 27p each a week (half the price of a Mars bar), but if we left we wouldn’t save any money as the damage to the economy of cutting ourselves off from the market where almost half our exports go would cost us tens of billions of pounds. In negotiating a post-brexit agreement we need the EU more than they need us – we export over 12% of our GDP to the EU, but the EU only exports 3% of its GDP to us. What’s more, many foreign firms, like Nissan, set up shop in Britain because we are a gateway to sell stuff to the whole EU. If we quit, other countries might grab our jobs by luring companies away from the UK.

    Brexit would wipe out manufacturing in Britain. The Brexit supporters want us to reduce our tariffs to zero without any agreement on lower tariffs from other countries. This means for example, China could flood our market with cheap steel and wipe out our steel industry. UKIP opposed support for the British steel industry in the European Parliament. Patrick Minford, the lead economist for the Brexit side, said in March, 'Over time, if we left the EU, it seems likely that we would mostly eliminate manufacturing'. There are over 2.5 million jobs that are dependent on manufacturing in this country.

    20:55 on 20 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    Invsb - please enlighten all your enthralled readers. A source or 2 for the opinions you give at such great length. Remember: no source = no facts = you're wasting your time(and everybody else's time).

    Off you go, we are all waiting.

    21:04 on 20 June 2016

  • Alan Anderson: 

    INvsb. There's nothing wrong with my history. That's why you were unable to contradict me. You abuse history to give the EU a pedigree that it's not entitled to: for example, that the EU has kept the peace in Europe since the end of WW II. Which is impossible because the EU was created in 1992. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989. It was the victorious allies and Nato that kept the peace in Europe and still do. Even today the EU has no military forces. It's Remain's fantasy that an unarmed, non-existant political project has somehow managed to keep the peace on a continent. You can't even deal with the migrant invasion.

    Any word of your Leader, INvsb? Non-existant Leader too?

    So who's living in a fantasy world then?

    Don't take things to heart, INvsb. It's just a bit of amusement, yes?

    21:49 on 20 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    Your history is clearly lacking. The EU started out as the ECSC in 1951 renaiming itself the EEC then the EC and now the EU. Look it up.

    Interesting that NATO rates the EU's peacekeeping role highly...I prefer to trust their judgement, not yours. And that the Nobel Prize was awarded to the EU in 2012 precisely for its role in keeping the peace in Europe. Your knowledge seems lacking once again.

    Keeping the peace is more than just armaments... encouraging democracy, implementing sanctions.

    22:20 on 20 June 2016

  • Alan Anderson: 

    I don't need to look it up. The ECSC is in no way the same animal as the EU. Nor was the EEC. You just can't bring yourself to admit it. Your twisted grasp of history probably has the United Nations starting in 1920!

    We've already discussed the Nobel Peace Prize. It was awarded to Obama just 7 months into his Presidency. So clearly Nobel Peace Prizes are pushed out like 0% interest credit cards without regard as to whether or not they are deserved. They have lost their value.

    Fact is the EU was created in 1992 and you're in denial.

    22:35 on 20 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    No I'm not Alan. Google it and learn. The EU treaty was an amendment to the ECSC Treaty.

    And you still claim to have superior defence knowledge than the current and all former NATO heads? They all say the EU played a vital role in keeping peace in Europe, as did Boris Johnson in his book from a couple of years ago.

    23:15 on 20 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    invsb - peace in Europe (not counting a minor Balkans spat and a little war in Ukraine) was the product of:

    1. A common enemy in Russia

    2. NATO

    3. The splitting into 2 of the chief warmonger in Europe (Germany)

    The war in the Balkans was stopped by NATO whilst the EU sat on its hands and pontificated.

    The war in Ukraine was CAUSED by the EU.

    06:27 on 21 June 2016

  • Dave Hill: 

    If Brexit is going to be so bad, why haven't companies given profit warnings on a Brexit vote. It's because a Brexit vote isn't going to be any worse that remaining in the EU.

    09:41 on 21 June 2016

  • Alan Anderson: 

    INvsb. Some on these forums have actually been a part of this history whereas some(like me)have spectated while we lived through it. I remember in 1962, just by chance, sitting next to ex-President Eisenhower and his bodyguard(wearing that iconic secret service mac)in France. Everybody who passed were smiling at him and each other. Everyone knew who Ike was and that he was one of the liberators of Europe.

    This was the era of the French-British fiasco in Suez. The Berlin airlift. Checkpoint Charlie. The Cuban missile crisis. The U2 incident. Chairman Mao. Korea. Dien Bien Phu etc etc.

    If you could have gone back in time and stood up with your Wiki-Google-Remain 'knowledge' and blurted out that the European Coal and Steel Community was responsible for keeping the peace in Europe . . sigh.

    09:51 on 21 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    I said it played a part, which even Boris Johnson agrees with. To quote Boris Johnson from the Leave campaign: “It was his (Churchill’s) idea to bring those countries together, to bind them together so indissolubly that they could never go to war again - and who can deny, today, that this idea has been a spectacular success? Together with Nato the European Community, now Union, has helped to deliver a period of peace and prosperity for its people as long as any since the days of the Antonine emperors.”

    Not sure how you sitting next to an ex-president proves anything Alan. Nice anecdote for dinner parties though.

    Steve - it may have passed you by, but Germany has been reunited since 1990. Catch up mate. The conflict in Ukraine was not caused by the EU. More Leave myths.

    The EU established the democracies in Spain, Greece and Portugal after the dictatorships and has done the same with the countries of Eastern and Central Europe so that they could join the EU.

    17:01 on 21 June 2016

  • Steve30: 

    invsb - some facts for you:

    Although the EU had said it would not make any further enlargements eastwards, in 2008, the EU offered Ukraine a ‘Stabilisation and Association Agreement’ including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement. The EU brushed aside Russian concerns over the effect of the EU agreement on the conditions of trade agreements of the Commonwealth of Independent States which includes Russia and Ukraine stating (25 February 2013 José Manuel Barroso) "one country cannot at the same time be a member of a customs union and be in a deep common free-trade area with the European Union".

    In Nov 2013 Russia warned of its security concerns and Ukraine subsequently proposed starting three-way talks between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU but the EU rejected trilateral talks stating the EU would not tolerate "a veto of a third country" in their negotiations on helping Ukraine to become a 'new member state.

    The Russian and EU political interference in Ukraine sparked a revolution in 2014 and subsequent signing of the EU/Ukraine agreement by the replacement government, which would in time lead to Ukraine joining the EU and result in Russia’s only warm water naval port at Sevastopol being placed within the EU. Consequently Russia annexed Ukraine (historically part of Russia).

    fact fakt/

    noun

    plural noun: facts

    A thing that is known or proved to be true.

    Try it sometime. However, your post is sheer garbage, so I won't respond further.

    19:14 on 21 June 2016

  • invsb: 

    Project fantasy again Steve. Saying that arranging a trade deal justifies invasion by another country is ridiculous talk.

    21:02 on 21 June 2016

  • colin overton: 

    Dear invsb, I voted Leave and would do so again, for non-financial reasons and a belief in NATO. However many of your arguments are more cogent and persuasive that anything I heard from Cameron, Osbourne and Bobtail. The Remainers have only themselves to blame by running a government funded, sneering and almost Stalinist campaign that highlighted negative issues and the You vs. Us divides festering in English society. Had the campaign majored on your quite valid points, I believe Remain would have won by a margin.

    08:05 on 04 July 2016

  • Steve30: 

    Hi Colin - I thought this thread was dead now the right result has been obtained. However it would be of interest to know what parts of invsb's post were "cogent and persuasive". All I could see was waffle, half truths and downright lies.

    09:13 on 04 July 2016

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