The Financial Conduct Authority, (FCA), is currently consulting on a 1% exit fee cap for pension exit penalties. For Martin-Redman Partners, with fixed initial advice fees and a lean product mix, this will have a minimal effect as very few advised pensions will have any exit fee whatsoever.
Most businesses have a story, a reason for them to exist that makes them different or more appropriate for their intended clientele. Some businesses are the result of a flash of inspiration, a calling or possibly a “Road to Damascus” moment.
Martin-Redman Partners was born out of frustration with financial services as it stood in December 2012; stuffy, untrustworthy, overly-complex, ridden with jargon and full of unpleasant surprises. Some things we tackled head-on, others require a longer term view, but in all things we try to inform, educate and empower.
Although we all like to be thought of as rational creatures, experimentally we make relatively few decisions on the basis of logic and cold, hard reasoning. This creates problems and opportunities for ourselves, marketeers and suppliers, as we do not necessarily make the right decisions and we cannot generally articulate how we got there in any case!
The mainstream press and now the trade press are full of comments and hand-wringing about the recent Which? report finding that the majority of financial advisers do not publish fees on their websites and are very reluctant to discuss costs before a face-to-face meeting.
As advisers we have tried to be transparent, with a fee comparison on the website, but internal discussions have shown us clearly that this is far from easy. (See here).
Outside of the world of financial services there does not seem to be a personality cult for the investment manager, but Neil Woodford could be an exception. However, even the best of the active managers have a digital competitor that in right market conditions can and often has out-performed the recognised stars.
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have been investments stars for 50 years now running Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the large conglomerate corporation. Every year Warren Buffett writes a letter to the shareholders giving them background details of the running of the business and pieces of homespun wisdom on how to run a company. Bill Gates, a big investor with Berkshire Hathaway, recommends that anyone in business should read this letter as part of their ongoing education. (please see http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2014ltr.pdf
My father has been investing for my son and his other grandchild since they were born using a basic trust structure to keep everything simple. Recently he has become exasperated by the fund manager wanting any purchases or sales signed by all the trustees, but accepting any Internet changes without question, although that will change very shortly. For him, this is a nonsense as it is making it harder for him to operate the accounts in a timely manner.