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Personal Investment: financial planning in an uncertain world

by Mariana Mazzucato, Jonquil Lowe, Alan Shipman and Andrew Trigg

Weblinks - General

Government and regulatory agencies

Financial Services Association (FSA) pages on its mission to promote financial capability. Includes information on its capability initiatives with students, young parents and others at important stages in their financial planning, and its work in schools to bring personal finance onto the national curriculum.

Bank of England, the UK’s central bank. ‘About the bank’ gives information on its history, and how it operates monetary policy. ‘Monetary policy’ gives more detail on how and why it sets interest rates to control inflation: here you can find information on the decisions of its Monetary Policy Committee, the Inflation Reports (which give an account of how well they did), and an explanation of the recent Quantitative Easing policy. ‘Financial stability’ outlines the macro-regulatory role, and gives access to the twice-yearly Financial Stability Reports. ‘Education’ offers various resources, including your own chance to have a go at setting interest rates.

HM Treasury’s Financial Services pages. Uncludes sections on financial capability, financial inclusion, and government’s future plans for UK banking and financial services. From here you can also connect to other Treasury pages, covering macro-economic policy and the budget.

Reports of the Walker Review of Corporate Governance of the UK Banking Industry, hosted on the HM Treasury website. Also contains submissions to the Review, and a link to the Turner Review on regulatory lessons of the global banking crisis.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme – information on how FSCS protects UK savers, what it covers, the claims process.


Financial information, learning resources and calculators

FSA consumer advice site – includes DIY financial healthcheck, product comparison tables, calculators, advice on common financial concerns, jargonbuster, latest news/actions from FSA.

Financial education site run by Learning and Teaching Scotland; includes information relevant to all parts of the UK on saving, managing money and tackling debt.

Resources for students, prospective students and teachers of economics and finance, supported by the Higher Education Academy. Includes a guide to studying economics, a tutorial on getting information from the internet, and much useful guidance on e-learning, software (such as Excel and PowerPoint), getting to grips with maths and statistics.

Consumer advice site run by UK Office of Fair Trading. Includes information on avoiding scams, what to do before and after making a purchase, and safe ways to save.

Accessible material on risk, uncertainty and probability, including applications ranging from presenting the weather forecast to predicting football results. Includes animations and videos helping to communicate the use (and misuse) of probability to guide financial and other decisions.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guide to the UK tax and national insurance systems, including resources designed for students.

Online budgeting tool designed to assist calendar-based planning for the year ahead.


Independent economic research and opinion

Institute for Fiscal Studies, a leading public finance research group which gives independent analysis of UK budgets and other economic policies.

National Institute of Economic and Social Research, longest-established UK macroeconomic forecasting group, site includes briefings on their regular UK, European and global forecasts and background articles.

Economic reports from the Item Club, a panel of economic experts who independently run a version of the Treasury forecasting model, hosted by consultancy Ernst & Young.

Oxford Economics, leading commercial forecasting group, including commentaries on UK and Euro-zone economies.

Money and Management blog, from leading business and finance academics, on Open University’s Open2.net site, the University’s free learning resources collection which also contains links to its BBC co-productions many with a finance or economics theme.

Financial Institutions and Economic Security blog run by Innovation, Knowledge and Development (IKD), an interdisciplinary Open University research centre.

Harvard Business School written and audiovisual material on the South Sea Bubble, with some modern comparisons.


Financial trade associations

British Bankers’ Association personal banking page. Includes BBA’s retail lending code, glossary, financial management advice.

Association of British Insurers. Includes explanations of the types of insurance relevant to individuals and households, and what the industry is doing to improve access and consumer satisfaction.

Alternative Investment Management Association, principal grouping of hedge fund and other specialist investment fund managers, including their reactions to various proposals for tighter sector regulation.

Association of Independent Financial Advisers. In the ‘Consumer area’ you can find the Association’s explanation of what IFAs do.



Information on UK state pensions, other types of pension, and saving for retirement. From here you can also click to the Education and Learning section, which gives information on student finance and other aspects of ‘human capital’ investment.

National Association of Pension Funds, includes information about pension fund operation and the Association’s annual survey.

Information from Pensions Advisory Service, an independent trust supported by the Department for Work and Pensions. Includes explanations of the different types of pension scheme, an annuity planning tool, and some quizzes to test your understanding.

Facts, briefings and longer research reports on pensions from the Pensions Policy Institute, an educational charity.


News sources

Online financial news and opinion, including fund performance data supplied by Lipper.

Investor information and opinion aimed at UK-based investors from the Motley Fool.

Financial Times online.

Public site of Thomson Reuters, leading news agency, with links to finance and business sections.

Public site of Bloomberg, leading US financial news provider, including links to Business Week articles.

Gateway to online financial publications from Incisive Media, with some free content.