Investments  

Q&A: Nick Hungerford, chief executive of Nutmeg

When you think about wealth management, there’s the investment side, the sales side – which is people who come and tell you all about their company or play a bit of golf with you – then there is customer service. We’ve removed the middle part, the sales side.

We don’t give financial advice. We are an investment manager.

I think the RDR is fantastic. We are often party to closed groups of people who will curse the regulator for being around.

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I wish everybody had a bird’s eye view of global regulation and how lucky we are to be in the UK. The FCA is so forward thinking.

The FSA were the ones that got us started. The contact with the FCA and their willingness to engage has been incredible.

From a consumer’s perspective, the FCA is championing transparency and innovation. That means we are going to be in a far stronger position as a community, as a sector, as an industry, in the UK.

Companies are coming to fill this gap which has been left and allow people with £10,000 to have a choice between buying a fund because they have seen it on the tube – something named after a planet – or have a proper portfolio that they would get if they had £5 million.

For too long in our industry we’ve been taking things that are simple, making them complicated and then charging to translate them. That’s not fair and it’s not really a great product.

I think almost everybody in the investment world is keen to support the principles of transparency. I’m just not sure the systems and cultures of the institutions are set up.

I don’t ever meet someone who says, “I want to be less transparent.” But, for example, discretionary fund managers don’t display performance.

People need to say, “This is how we do stuff, this is what we charge and if you think we’re worth it then go for it.” The investment management sector may end up being behind IFAs because the advice sector has been forced to do this by RDR.

I’m as much to blame as anyone else on this, but we use words like ‘discretionary’. Discretionary doesn’t really mean anything to anyone outside the financial community.

I think consumers are very interested in financial services. I think they are interested in having control over their money.

There’s the idea that, because it’s finance, we’ve got to use long words. I think consumers then get fed up.

We have so many different products that basically describe the same thing, Pep, Isa and Tessa and things like that. We often add a layer of complexity that leaves people doubting our ability to perform sufficiently in the first place.

It’s just as much up to us to empower the consumer to understand and to be involved with financial services as it is for the consumer to make the effort.