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In November 1994 I was seduced by a mailing from Johnson Fry urging me to invest pounds 1,000 (plus pounds 60 for administration) into the succession of French privatisations. It seemed worth a try as the UK privatisations had proved so lucrative. But French government policy turned against privatisation, the pound grew stronger, and the arrival of the euro proved a death knell. Just four years later I got back pounds 855.47. And I had decided against the Johnson Fry SlaterGrowth Unit Trust as it seemed too risky!

EK, Lancashire

The Fool responds: You have learnt a very expensive and unfortunate lesson. About 90 per cent of actively managed unit trusts underperform the returns of the overall market. As for French privatisations, I doubt if you knew much about

them. Following the old adage "buy what you know" often helps. In future, you will know that YOU are the person best positioned to look after your own financial affairs, not some well paid so-called expert.