Fool's gold? Nigel Farage wants you to invest your trust in his financial advice service
- Credit: Archant
“I’m skint,” said Nigel Farage three years ago, blaming “20 years of spending more than you earn”. Who better, then, to launch a new service advising people on what to do with their money?
With a characteristically breezy lack of shame, this is exactly what the nicotine-stained man-frog has done. Fortune & Freedom With Nigel Farage offers you the chance to get his thoughts on investment by email at 9am each day, with a promise to “share with you the raw intelligence I receive from inside the system… the big opportunities you can consider - in a Britain set to flourish after Brexit”.
F&FWithNF also offers occasional videos in which our Nige talks directly to camera with all the fiscal gravitas of William Devane, the former Knots Landing star who pops up on Freeview channel ad breaks to shill for commemorative gold coins (“we might not like to admit it over here, but you Brits create some pretty spiffing stuff”).
Fortune & Freedom’s slogan is “it’s time to take back control of your money”, and Farage’s pitch to subscribers includes him saying: “It’s time to take control of your money…Or someone else will.”
All this talk of taking back control is curious. On one hand, it’s the indelible three-word mantra that arguably won Brexit; on the other, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with Farage.
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“Take back control” was, of course, the work of Dominic Cummings, who ran the rival Leave campaign, beat Farage and Arron Banks for official status and then distilled his manifesto into a forceful, forward-looking three-word mantra while Farage was ranting about non-existent Turkish invasions.
Not surprisingly, Nigel seems to hate Dom, calling him a “horrible, nasty little man” (for future reference, Farage is 5-foot-8). Why, then, use his work? Possibly because no-one would buy into the idea that “It’s Breaking Point For Your Money”, and that your savings were under threat from the Romanians next door, the people speaking foreign languages on the Tube and Channel boat migrants fresh from their four-star hotels at the great British taxpayers’ expense.
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What of the actual content offered by F&FWithNF so far? I’ve subscribed and can tell you it’s a perverse sort of thrill getting an email from Nigel every morning, especially since his subject lines are so dramatic and seemingly imbued with a refreshing sense of self-awareness. My notifications now say things like ‘Nigel Farage: When the cure is worse than the disease’ and ‘Nigel Farage: The great con” (the fine journalist Philippe Auclair has suggested that this last bit might have been written in French).
Though Farage tries to stay on topic, he’s not really a financial advice specialist. His early career as a commodities trader on the London Metal Exchange has “little relevance to the world of financial planning and investing”, according to Martin Bamford, who is a chartered financial planner and a fellow of the Personal Finance Society as well as the author of three best-selling books on investing.
So you tend to get a bit of classic Nige ranting, teeing up a piece of actual investment advice by someone else. “Spyware on our devices… facial recognition on the streets… cancel culture on social media… political correctness in the press… groupthink in the City… a dangerous and reductive herd mentality is sweeping through our entire culture,” Nigel will begin, like an overcaffeinated Icke, before his mate Rob Marstrand pops up to tell you “how to take back control of your finances in 4 simple steps”.
These turn out to include revelatory stuff like making a list of your assets (“include your house, other properties, cars, art, gold and silver coins, jewellery and antiques”) and cutting out stuff you don’t need (“fly in economy instead of premium… sell the barely used sports car that’s lurking in the garage”). Let's face it, we've all been there.
Actual investment advice seems thin on the ground, but so far Farage and chums seem keen on the idea of subscribers buying into precious metals (“another object of this is to get people to think about alternative investments, so get them to think about gold, silver,” says Farage on one of the videos). I know even less about whether this is a good idea than the average recently “skint” former commodities trader does, but Bamford counsels: “As a non-income producing asset, gold is arguably not an investment and certainly should not form more than a tiny percentage of a typical investment portfolio.”
With his lucrative LBC show gone, the Brexit Party killed off by the Tories outcrazing them and his access to fame in the USA hopefully about to disappear along with Donald Trump, deciding to reinvent himself as a maverick financial guru via Fortune & Freedom is not much of a punt for Nigel Farage.
But will it be too much of a punt for the ordinary people who have supported him in referendums and elections? The F&FWithNF small print says that its “content is general only and should not be relied upon by investors in making (or not making) specific investment decisions. From time to time we may tell you about regulated products issued by Southbank Investment Research Limited. With these products your capital is at risk. You can lose some or all of your investment, so never risk more than you can afford to lose.”
Imagine how different things might have been had those kinds of warnings been applied to the stuff Farage was selling in June 2016…
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