Investments  

What is Vanguard doing in Croydon?

What is Vanguard doing in Croydon?

In the week that chancellor Rishi Sunak doubled down on financial support during the coronavirus crisis amid a second lockdown, a bus was spotted in Croydon.

Of itself, that is not remarkable; what is remarkable is the bus was sporting an advert from investment giant Vanguard, urging people to save for their futures.

An investment advert, on a bus, direct-to-consumer, in the midst of a pandemic, is worthy of note. 

In the market downturns of 2002 and 2007, most investment houses pulled their advertising from public spaces. Only a few stood out at the time for promoting their services during what market gainsayers were saying would be a bleak Isa season.

It was; but the companies reporting strong Isa flows were the six or seven whose adverts were on billboards and bus stops, TV screens and in the national consumer media. 

Of course, some of those companies are now no more, but the message was clear at the time: things may be bad but it is important to save, and this is how. 

Now, when there is a global pandemic and companies are once again retreating in terms of the messaging, those who are sticking their necks out and showing they are active and present will no doubt do well.

Richard Smith, founder of financial education site Moneytrainers, said: "Well done Vanguard. It has a great offer with products that make sense and it should be promoting it. 

“Vanguard offers better performance on average than most funds and lower costs than most advisers by focusing on the simple bits that make the difference.”

Mr Smith added he follows Warren Buffet’s ‘model portfolio’ for simplicity. He said: “One of the richest men on the planet said ‘buy Vanguard funds’, but the average IFA would say ‘It’s more complicated than that’. No, It’s not.

“If I have to pay for investment advice, but the advice turns out to be worse than me investing in a Vanguard fund, I don’t get my fee back. 

“Vanguard offers something missing from the rest of the fund supermarkets, is a trusted name, is not ashamed to spend money on marketing this and such offerings are desperately needed by the average consumer.”

A spokesperson for Vanguard said: "In an unprecedented year, when investors need reassurance more than ever, our Value to Investors campaign represents our time-tested principles of discipline, balance and low costs.”

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com