Deanne Forrest (pictured) admits she was charmed into submission by Peter Parker - if that ever was his real name. The 50-year-old artist was looking for a way to boost her modest savings and support her teenage sons through university when a friend recommended Banc De Binary (inset) - a website that would let her trade on the stock market for instant returns of up to 60per cent. Peter, her smooth-talking Cypriot account manager, assured Deanne that the trades she was placing were 'absolutely zero-risk'. When she wavered, Peter became flirtatious, calling the divorcée 'beautiful' and 'glowing' and asking 'dear Deanne' if she would paint a portrait of him.
Investor essentials and share and fund prices
Top performing investment trusts of 2016: After a four year slump, global uncertainty helps gold, mining and commodities top the pile
After years of rocky performance, gold, precious metals and oil made a comeback in 2016 as political uncertainty made nervous investors take refuge in 'safe haven' assets.The top performing investment trust sector is Commodities and Natural Resources, up a whopping 72% - rewarding brave value investors.
Money Pit Stop: I've just got married and want to save up for a holiday home in Europe - where should I invest?
Our reader wants to afford a holiday home in Europe in the next 25 years and generate up to £120,000., but he has just got married and want to have children. The 27-year-old says 'I want a return of between 7 and 8 per cent and I'm wiling to take on higher risk to achieve that.' We get an expert's thoughts on his portfolio for the Money Pit Stop column.
It's been a year of political upheaval and for investors that has meant plenty to think about - but how worried should they be? On the latest Investing Show, Henrietta Grimston, of Seven Investment Management, explains how investors can position themselves for big political and economic events and looks at how deeply they need to consider them.
Hotel Chocolat specialises in premium chocolate, made at its manufacturing facility in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. It also sells alcoholic drinks, such as cocoa-infused gin and vodka, specialist teas and coffees and a range of chocolate-centred gifts and treats, including personalised chocolate boxes, hampers and Yule logs. The group listed on AIM in May, the shares are 264¼p and they should increase in price as the business expands both in the UK and overseas.
How much does it cost to invest the easy way? How to find the cheapest DIY model portfolio or online wealth manager
If you don't want to do all the legwork fund selection involves you can access model portfolios and digital wealth managers that find suitable products, but how do you weigh up their costs? We take a look a some of the most popular options and reveal the costs associated with letting a platform build and run a fund portfolio for you.
With savings rates dismally low, Britons are turning to investment sites - but risk losing £900 in lost returns thanks to sneaky fees
Picking the wrong investment website when you buy funds could cost you up to £900 in lost returns. Thousands of savers now use online investment supermarkets such as Hargreaves Lansdown, Charles Stanley Direct and Fidelity Personal Investing, to pick their own shares and funds. But if you pick one with higher charges it could leave you hundreds of pounds worse off, according to research by The Lang Cat, an investment consultancy.
How do government bond markets work? We cut through the jargon and explain how they affect YOUR savings, pension and investments
Global government bond markets are vast and affect everyone who pays tax, saves or invests. But it's often hard to tell what's going on when there's a surge in bond buying or a sell-off because the jargon used by industry insiders can be pretty impenetrable. We unscramble it here to help everyone else fathom what's going on.
A firm has emailed me about buying an airport car parking space, which it says would give me a guaranteed minimum return of 8 per cent a year. It says that a RICS valuation has been done and the parking space is being sold below its market value. I'm wary as I know about stocks and funds but I've never held this type of investment. Is putting some of my savings in an airport car parking space a good idea?
We've been warned that inflation could hit 4% next year. Needless to say, if that happens it spells bad news for our money. The answer is to invest spare cash, says one expert, what we know about long-term financial history indicates it to be a wise suggestion. But what counts as spare cash and what's the point in holding cash at all?
How to invest for children: The best ways to start early and build their savings pot as the Junior Isa turns five
Can ethical funds keep up with their rivals? Study claims the 'feel-good' factor costs investors, but fans say a positive impact matters
Profits from funds that hold anything from arms firms to tobacco stocks may leave you feeling uncomfortable. So should you back a more ethical investing style? Good Money Week, campaigns to get people doing that, but research by Fund Expert that claims investors would be better off simply donating profits to an ethical cause.
Marmitegate was just the beginning: Experts warn spat was 'thin edge of the wedge', so should investors stick with supermarkets and retail?
Supermarket giant Tesco scored a PR victory last week in the Marmitegate spat with consumer brands titan Unilever, but investors need to weigh up just how the falling pound will hit supermarkets and other retailers, say experts. While the weak pound is good for some, the flip side is pressure on import prices and there will be more spats like Marmitegate. So what does that mean for investors in retailers?
Investors who backed Neil Woodford - who now runs CF Woodford Equity Income - at the turn of the millennium could have turned £10,000 into £45,000 today. But to really rake in the returns you needed to get on board early. If you'd spotted Mr Woodford's potential when he started out at Invesco Perpetual in 1988, you could have turned £10,000 into £299,000 by now.
THE MINOR INVESTOR COLUMN
This is MoneyINVESTMENT CLINIC
Stock markets have confounded forecasts and risen on Donald Trump's election to US President, but will the Trumpflation trade run out of steam? Trump's spending, tax cuts and tearing up of regulations have been seen by traders as spelling good news short term for many US companies - but will he prove to be a good President long-term for investors?
You can enjoy great tax breaks with alternative investments - putting money into fine wine, classic cars, gold or perhaps even stamps. But before you take the plunge, you need to realise that while they can be rewarding, alternative investments can also prove volatile and illiquid. We explain what you need to know
INVESTMENT EXTRA: Inflation rise isn't necessarily bad for savers, but it means a change of investment strategy is needed
Marmitegate - the pricing row between maker Unilever and supermarket Tesco - turned out to be a red flag that prices were rising. Inflation climbed to 1 per cent in September, its highest rate since November 2014. Because inflation erodes the value of cash, it means what £1 bought a year ago, it cannot buy today. So savings that may have been safe sitting in the bank earning negligible interest are now losing buying power.
THE INVESTING SHOW
Investing: don't miss
DIY INVESTING IDEAS
Acc: Accumulation - any income generated by the fund like dividends or interest is automatically reinvested.
Inc: Income - any income generated is distributed by the fund instead of being reinvested.
Dis: Distribution - any income generated is distributed by the fund instead of being reinvested.
R: Retail - the fund is aimed at ordinary investors.
I/Inst: Institutional - the fund is aimed at corporate investors like pension funds.
A, B, M, X etc: Different fund houses use letters for different things. Check with them what they stand for.
NT/No trail: Some fund houses use this name on clean funds which carry no commissions for financial advisers, supermarkets or brokers, just the fee levied by the fund manager. But other fund houses use different letters - I, D or Y, for example - so you need to find out for yourself which are clean funds.
Gr: Stands for gross.
GBP/£: Fund denominated in pounds.
EUR: Fund denominated in euros.
USD/$: Fund denominated in US dollars.
Compiled with online stockbroker The Share Centre
MIDAS SHARE TIPS
FUND AND TRUST IDEAS
Monthly Or Lump Sum Savings Calculator
Are you paying too much for funds? The best DIY investing platforms for four different types of investor
Investors are pouring record amounts of money into funds and trusts - but have you chosen the best broker to help you buy your investments? The easiest way to invest is through an online platform. These are essentially one-stop shops for buying funds, investments trusts and shares, and are generally much cheaper than buying directly from the fund companies themselves.But which one you choose will depend on what type of investor you are. We explain what to consider.
While market performance is outside of an investor's control, the amount they pay is firmly in their hands and many are looking to lower cost alternatives offered by either exchange traded funds. Why are more investors buying into ETFs and what can they do for you? We reveal five reasons to add ETFs to your portfolio.
Dumb tracker, cheap do-it-all fund, or smart beta? Passive investing has never been cheaper, here's how you can track the market
Passive investors have never had it so good. Costs are falling at the same time as their opportunity to tap into markets increases. But it's not just about tracking a market anymore, smart beta combines passive approaches with active allocation and ready-made passive portfolios are also being snapped up. So what does a good tracker look like?