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50for50: Will Landers

Continuing MM’s 50 interviews in 50 days for our 50th anniversary, Will Landers plans an Olympic party and hopes his answers don’t get him fired

By Holly Black | Published Feb 15, 2012 | comments

BlackRock Latin America Investment Trust portfolio manager Will Landers marvels at the creation of the internet and admits he’s not a likely X Factor candidate

What’s the most significant non-financial event in the past 50 years? The creation of the internet and the impact it’s had on people’s lives, right down to the fact that ‘Google’ and ‘Ebay’ are now words. When I first started working there wasn’t even email, it was very controversial at the time.

What will be the biggest change in asset management in the next 50 years? We’re moving more and more towards client solutions and client focus. Given the ageing population, the focus is moving from growth to income and the types of investments are changing.

If you were governor of the Bank of England for day what would you do? This doesn’t apply only to England but governments around the world have to come to the conclusion that raising taxes is not the answer; make the fiscal system more simple and more pro growth rather than looking for the quick fix to the deficit.

If I had one piece of advice for the industry 50 years ago it would be... Focus on the correct amount of leverage. Leverage is a very good thing up until a certain point and then it becomes very dangerous and we have seen what happens when it gets abused.

“We’re touching the lives of millions of people and you have to keep that in mind.”

If I was not in financial services I would be... I would love to be a singer but my voice doesn’t really allow that…but definitely something in the entertainment industry; I can’t imagine the adrenaline rush you’d get from having a stadium full of people sing along with you.

If I could put £50,000 into an investment now and take it out in 50 years I would... Definitely put it into emerging markets; it’s where everything is - the young population, the growing middle class, the natural resources, the growth – it’s where it is.

If money were no object I would celebrate Money Management’s 50th by... Taking everyone from the magazine to the opening ceremony of the Olympics, that would be one great party.

What is the best thing about this industry? The fact that what we do matters; we’re investing real money for people who are trying to build their savings and we’re trying to do the best job we can for them. We’re touching the lives of millions of people and you really have to keep that in mind.

Who has had the most impact on the industry over the past 50 years? Well I have to say our CEO, Laurence Fink, or I’ll get fired…

MM is running a series of 50 interviews in 50 days (50for50) as we approach the magazine’s 50th anniversary. For more details on the special 50th anniversary issue, contact the editor Janet Walford OBE (janet.walford@ft.com) or advertising account manager Costa Savva (costas.savva@ft.com).

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