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Quick questions: Greg Kingston

Suffolk Life’s head of marketing advises his 10-year-old self not to jump out of trees and says waving goodbye to the UK was a great move

By Laura Suter | Published Sep 19, 2012 | comments

In the latest Q&A in our series, we talk to pensions expert Greg Kingston, who spills the beans on his must-follow Twitterati.

What was your first job in financial services? At Britannia Building Society. I was surprised at the sales-focused approach they took and didn’t stay there too long. Looking back it was rather naive to think that the role was going to be based on service.

What drew you to the profession? My Dad. He worked on the fringes of financial services for a number of years and knew me well enough to know it would appeal to me and, 12 years later, I’m still in it, so I guess he’s a pretty good judge of character.

What is the most important thing an adviser can do for a client? Gain their trust and then repay that trust.

What is the most important decision you have ever made? Setting a goal to work overseas and then taking the opportunity to do it. I was 26 when I expatriated to West Africa and ended up spending three years there. I lived through a civil war, an attempted coup and a couple of ‘elections’. The second most important decision I made was to leave and come back to England – the countries I lived in have all fallen apart now.

How do you think the industry has changed since you started working in it? The consumer is a good deal more informed today but unfortunately also more uninformed and less engaged than ever. That’s led to a general feeling of distrust and apathy that I just don’t see in any other industry.

Other than property, what is the most expensive thing you have ever bought? My retirement. I might be paying for it over time but after my mortgage I haven’t invested more money into anything else.

What is your perfect day off? Watching any Formula 1 race live. F1 is increasingly environmentally and politically incorrect but I love it nevertheless. The atmosphere, the noise, the smells – they’re all intoxicating. Especially when Jenson Button wins.

What would you tell your 10-year-old self? Do not somersault out of that tree one last time to impress your sister. You’ll get it wrong, land awkwardly, break your arm in two places and endure hours of pain in A&E.

Who would you recommend as a must-follow person on Twitter? There are so many but for unwavering consistency and dedication to the pension cause with a sprinkling of humour and cycling thrown in – Tom McPhail – @pensionsmonkey. Pete Matthew’s @MeaningfulMoney videos are also an inspiration.

What do you have set as your homepage in your internet browser? At home it is Facebook, the BBC, F1fanatic and Pocket Lint. At work it is a little more down to earth: Suffolk Life, our intranet and ScoopIt, where I curate my own SIPP news feed.

The consumer is a good deal more informed today but unfortunately also more uninformed and less engaged than ever

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