Your IndustryMar 23 2012

50 years of Money Management

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In the same year that Money Management was launched, the Sunday Times became the first national newspaper to publish a colour supplement; Ford Motor Company launched its Cortina car for £573; and the BBC screened the first episode of the iconic soap, Steptoe & Son.

Unfortunately we do not have any issues of the magazine going back to its launch date; in fact we only have a few copies from one year of its first decade, 1967 when the annual subscription was £2.2 shillings.

And the magazine looked so completely different in the 60s as to be unrecognisable from what it has become today. At launch, the magazine was called The Unitholder, was a 20 page booklet with a part time editor, and covered mainly unit trusts. The unit linked life industry was still in its infancy, Abbey Life having launched in 1961 and Hambro Life still to come in 1971.

It is surprising, though, looking back through the archived copies of the magazine, how the subjects that are occupying the collected minds of today’s markets were also prevalent 50 years ago.

Take, for example, a comment in the September 1967 issue about the role of banks in personal finance: “Bank managers are now in a rather invidious position when a customer asks for independent advice....Lloyds and Westminster may stoutly maintain that their managers are instructed to bend over backwards to be impartial…but there are limits to altruism”.

The 70s

Although the magazine format continued to be booklet size for most of its first decade, it had changed to an A4 format by January 1970. It continued to be called The Unitholder right up to March 1970 when it suddenly acquired a sub line as part of its title and became The Unitholder, the journal of money management.

Then, in October 1970, the name changed again, this time to Money Management and Unitholder. The broader reach reflected in the new title was entirely apposite, considering the turmoil that was to engulf the personal finance industry, and the country, over the coming decade.

For example, we had the three day week in 1974; the secondary banking collapse of 1973–75; the collapse of the FT30 index (the main index at the time) to 146 in 1974; inflation rose to 26.9% in 1975 and several life assurance companies went bust.

Nation Life was the first to go in 1974, followed by London Indemnity & General, part of Jessel Securities, Vavasseur Life, and Slater Walker Insurance, part of Slater Walker Securities, went in 1977, as did Capital Annuity, part of London & Counties in 1978.