Share Power book jacket
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This is a breezy, accessible and admirably brief summary of what the stock market is, how it works, and where it isn’t working well enough.

- Robert Colvile, The Times

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Books

Share Power
By MERRYN SOMERSET WEBB

Should companies care about climate change? Should they be vanquishing the gender pay gap and advancing human rights in their supply chains? And if we think they should - can we, as ordinary people, bring out these sorts of changes?

The answer is, technically, yes. In the UK, the majority of us now own shares in listed companies - whether that be through a stock and share ISA, a self-made investment or a work pension scheme. What few people know is that every share comes with a vote in company decisions, over everything from executive pay to corporate strategy. So far, though, only a very few of us get a say on how it is run.

That needs to change - and can change. Recent events have shown that ordinary people do have the power to change capitalism. Just take the millions of amateur investors taking on Wall Street pros to drive up the price of loss-making video game retailer GameStop, or social media users buying up the shares of struggling theatre chains. The technology exists to allow us to vote with our shares - all we need to do is learn how to use it.

In Taking Stock, Merryn Somerset Webb, Editor in Chief of MoneyWeek, takes us deep into the world of corporate capitalism - from the privatisation of state-owned companies in the 1980s to the financial crash of 2008 and the growth of the modern multinational - to show us how capitalism went wrong and how, with 10 simple recommendations, every one of us now has the power to make it work for us.

Best Selling Author

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb is a well known UK financial journalist and broadcaster. She was the founding editor of Moneyweek, now the best selling financial magazine in the UK, and remains its Editor in Chief today. She is also a Contributing Editor to the Financial Times and has a regular column in the FT Weekend. She has written for the Spectator, The Guardian, Prospect, Saga Magazine, The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and many other publications in her 20 year career as a journalist. She is also a regular TV and radio commentator on all matters financial. Before Moneyweek, Merryn worked as a stockbroker in Tokyo and London for SBC Warburg, UBS and BNP Paribas.

Book reviews

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Brimming with energy and hugely convincing – capitalism rescused in one short book.

– Justin Webb

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Merryn Somerset Webb makes a convincing case for public markets and greater shareholder democracy, shifting the balance of power from asset managers back to individual equity owners. A blueprint for reimagining capitalism in the post-Covid era.

– Lionel Barber, ex Editor of the FT

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‘Your power is in ‘their’ hands and here is how to get it back.’

– Russell Napier

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This book not only asks and answers one of the most pressing questions of the day, it makes the solution seem achievable. If everyone read it, we might start making progress

– Caroline Law, Editor in chief of The Week

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Merryn Somerset Webb has the unique ability to take a complex subject and write about it in a way that even I find both interesting and entertaining.

– Professor Heather McGregor CBE FRSE PFHEA aka Mrs Moneypenny

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A lively and persuasive case for genuine shareholder democracy to make businesses properly accountable

– Mervyn King

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Hurrah for Merryn Somerset Webb who tells it as it is! She points to a choice: ‘do you want to be as rich as you dare, or do you want to see the world a better place? For capitalism is like bleach; the more concentrated it is, the nastier it tastes. She takes no side, and gives practical advice to the votaries of both inclinations. Lesson no 1: votaries must vote!

– Jonathan Ruffer

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Merryn Somerset Webb combines deep knowledge of investment with accessibility, wit and an occasional swipe of the scalpel— she is incapable of writing a dull sentence. And she has an important message for the new generation of online investors: it’s not about gambling but about long-term two-way relationships in which shareholders should exercise ownership by voting or telling fund managers how to vote on their behalf, and companies should respect shareholders’ views. That way, capitalism would work better for everyone.

– Martin Vander Weyer, City Editor, The Spectator

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How should we “reform” capitalism? Merryn Somerset Webb, one of our best financial journalists, is a powerful and persuasive advocate of “shareholder democracy.” With 11 million people owning shares directly or indirectly she argues it’s time for the individual owners of Corporate UK to assert their rights and empower themselves. Her manifesto explains how this can be done and capitalism transformed.

– Lord Lamont

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Shares represent the partial ownership of human endeavour. As such they can grow in price as the ingenuity contained within the companies they represent- and can enrich their owners in a way that no other investments can .
Merryn’s book makes the case for shares better than any other I have read. Mandatory reading for all serious investors – and those who aspire to be investors.

– Jim Mellon

Other Publications

Love is Not Enough by Merryn Somerset Webb

Love Is Not Enough

Merryn’s first book, Love is not Enough, is a guide to personal finance aimed specifically at women. Some of the detail is out of date today (pension and ISA regulations and limits have changed). But the guidance and the ideas are as valid as ever. We all need to take full personal responsibility for our financial futures –our salary expectations, our provision for our children, our understanding of our investment options and of course our retirement plans. Love is Not Enough shows us how to do just that.

 

Love is Not Enough by Merryn Somerset Webb

MoneyWeek Podcasts

In her podcast for Moneyweek magazine, Merryn (often joined by Moneyweek executive editor John Stepek) interviews a huge variety of people, from top fund managers to policy makers and authors about everything financial. Some episodes take deep dives into the detail of stock markets, some take a wider view (interest rates, inflation, property prices and politics) while others end up a little more off topic. Previous guests include Lord Mervyn King, Gillian Tett, Pippa Malmgrem, Tom Slater, Jim Mellon, Russell Napier, Andy Haldane, Jeremy Grantham and Edward Bonham Carter.

 

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Shares represent the partial ownership of human endeavour. As such they can grow in price as the ingenuity contained within the companies they represent- and can enrich their owners in a way that no other investments can .
Merryn’s book makes the case for shares better than any other I have read. Mandatory reading for all serious investors – and those who aspire to be investors.

– Jim Mellon

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