• The best way to get wealthy 85 years ago
  • The investors who knew the past before it happened
  • Big and very old shoes to fill for Nigel, Eoin and I

Investment secrets aren’t easy to find…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Eight years ago, I found myself staring up at the gorgeously beautiful St Pancras Renaissance Hotel on Euston Road. Seeing this, sort of, Gothic Revival building was why I had left the cultural void that is Down Under to return to my childhood home.

Alas, I didn’t go in. I still haven’t been in the hotel. Instead, I was destined for the squat, ugly, red brick building next door. A place with an architectural pedigree that is so poor that it led to a “30-year war” just to get approval.

I’m pretty sure that they gave the architect a knighthood for his patience, not his design. Even today, images of the British Library building include the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in the background just to emphasise the disappointment.

In the basement of that British Library building lay my actual purpose. Dusty and musty old copies of a newsletter called, The Fleet Street Letter. I began with the edition published in December 1938…

I read about how Hitler had cornered himself economically and politically, which would lead to a war with the West starting in September 1939, beginning with an attack on Poland.

And I learned why Russia’s betrayal of the Allies was likely to occur.

“This sort of information would’ve been useful to both my German and English grandparents at the time”, I thought to myself. But it was only the beginning of what I read in the many editions to come…

The WWII editions were on funny-smelling paper, probably because of rationing.

The period when infamous spy, Kim Philby was the editor of The Fleet Street Letter had mysteriously gone missing from the British Library archives…

Next, I followed Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power as it happened, and discovered whether her monetarist policies would succeed or fail, both economically and politically, as early as 1979.

Readers were advised to buy bonds in 1979, when yields were over 12%. And that interest rates would continue to fall in 1982, as they did.

I discovered that The Fleet Street Letter had uncovered the energy potential of Australia’s Cooper Basin in the 80s, which it became my job to help Australian readers of a different newsletter to invest in 25 years later.

The Fleet Street Letter’s editions in the late 90s were about the very flaws that are inherent in the euro, which I wrote a book about in 2018. They even drew much of the same allusions to the Asian Financial Crisis which I did in my book.

Would you have liked for Jacob Rees-Mogg to have explained to you back then that joining the euro would mean Ireland’s interest rates would be too low, and that the eurozone would be in for an experience that would be similar to the boom and bust of the Asian Financial Crisis, for much of the same reasons?

I used to think that today’s financial market conditions are unusual… until I read the old editions of The Fleet Street Letter in that basement.

Consider the “bad news is good news” phenomenon that is dominating markets today. Here’s a hilarious take from 1998 that could’ve been written in 2006, 2018 or 2021:

This week, I will try to explain why the world is again bullish.

First and foremost, the world is bullish because Alan Greenspan cut interest rates several times, and stands ready to pour however much liquidity it takes into financial markets to keep the speculative bubble going. That is bubblishly bullish.

The LTCM debacle was bullish, because it led to a relaxing of Fed monetary policy, which is bullish.

The Russian financial collapse was also bullish, because it caused a lot of losses for banks, hedge funds and brokers – which caused Alan Greenspan to cut interest rates, which is bullish.

The list went on and on, getting ever more absurd. It ends with a summary that applies just as well to today:

And so I conclude my survey of why the world is bullish by stating unequivocally that investors should desire the worst. A catastrophic global depression is the most bullish thing imaginable – because the Fed will keep cutting rates, and that is always bullish!

Not many predicted the implosion of the tech bubble in 2000. And even fewer did so while also recognising the potential of the internet. But here’s an excerpt from The Fleet Street Letter in September 1999…

Our views on internet stocks are well known to Fleet Street Letter readers. In June we warned, “IT stocks are heading for a sharp fall”. Then came the sharp fall. But the internet sector is growing up, and as William Rees-Mogg points out, one day we will all be internet investors. Here he outlines the business qualities that will make some internet stocks the profit opportunities of the new century.

Yes, both Rees-Moggs featured frequently in The Fleet Street Letter’s musty, old pages.

In 2002, with gold prices surging to $300, subscribers read, “We believe the fundamentals for higher gold prices haven’t been this good in over a generation”. Gold outperformed stocks for the next 20 years.

In 2007 and early 2008, the editors and contributors were warning about the Irish economy’s downturn and the pound’s upcoming “pounding”.

More recent editors were onto bitcoin very early on, and saw both inflation and the bond crash of 2022 coming in advance.

The list of events that I read about before they happened goes on and on. Some have happened since. But I’m sure you get the idea…

Seven years after I emerged from the British Library’s basement, hopefully for the last time, I was approached to become the new editor of a revived and relaunched Fleet Street Letter.

Alongside Nigel Farage and financial market veteran, Eoin Treacy, it would be my job to carry on the legacy that I’d recovered back then. (Funnily enough, Nigel later told me that he had been approached by Jacob Rees-Mogg to become the editor of The Fleet Street Letter many years ago.)

Let’s just say this offer was a bit exciting…

But taking over “Britain’s longest running financial newsletter”, as editions from the 1980s claim, was going to be challenging…

Luckily, William Rees-Mogg had explained what he and his father had done, and what I needed to do, back in a 1998 edition:

The Fleet Street Letter has always had a strongly contrarian flavour from the time when we were campaigning against the still-popular appeasement policy of the Chamberlain government.

What does contrarian mean? It does not mean that every widely held opinion is mistaken; obviously it is not. It does mean that every widely held opinion needs to be examined to see if it is wrong.

The contrarian rejects the authority of the crowd. It follows that a contrarian investor will try to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest, whereas mass opinion always tries to sell in the cheapest and buy in the dearest.

Simple, right?

Tomorrow, I’ll reveal exactly how we plan to do it…

But if you can’t afford to wait, click here to discover what today’s Fleet Street Letter subscribers have been reading about the future.

Kind regards,

Nick Hubble
Editor, Fortune & Freedom