CompaniesDec 3 2015

Firing Line: ‘We’re sleepwalking into a pension crisis’

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A storyline on the importance of saving for retirement could be making its way onto a popular soap opera – that is if Andy Davies and James Klempster of London-based Momentum Global Investment Management get their way.

The frugal mindset typically shared by baby-boomers has been somewhat eroded and replaced by a ‘carpe diem’ mentality, characterised by a greater dependence on loans and credit cards, according to portfolio manager Mr Klempster, who joined Momentum’s London operation in October 2009.

“We are sleepwalking into a pension crisis,” he said.

“We have vast swathes of the UK population who have never even dreamt of taking financial advice but they are totally unhooked to their own pensions. A lot of people are not saving for retirement and are instead maxing out on their credit cards. This is all going to come home to roost one day.

“I think there needs to be a story line in EastEnders to highlight the issue. There has to be mainstream coverage of this.”

Mr Davies, head of UK retail sales at the asset management firm, cited the death of insurers’ door-to-door salesforces, such as the fabled ‘Man from the Pru’, as a travesty when it comes to instilling a savings culture.

He said: “For me, the money that was invested in financial products which were sold by these door-to-door salespeople would have probably gone on beer and fags. The reality is that the whole discipline of saving has been lost because the regulator basically took out a whole chunk from the UK adviser market. The 1986 Financial Service Act made it harder to be an adviser and made it easy to sue big firms.”

The dynamic duo started working together in June this year when Mr Davies joined the company, having previously worked as head of business development at Sanlam.

Since his appointment, the investment management firm hired Richard Adams, who joined from Fidelity FundsNetwork and ex-regional business director at MetLife Andy Pook as business development managers, to bolster sales to the adviser market.

Mr Davies said: “The business I have joined has got some good foundations but we do not really know the adviser market, so we took the opportunity to hire two experienced and dynamic sales guys who understand that market and the challenges that advisers face.”

One of these challenges centres on advisers’ ability to demonstrate to clients the true value of their service, according to Mr Davies.

Mr Klempster agrees.

He added: “People worry about a 10bps fee but if you save someone 30 per cent by getting their generational tax planning in order, the fee for the service pales in comparison.”