Samantha Downes  

Time to stop talking shop

Samantha Downes

Samantha Downes



Last week this column covered the issue of independence - that of financial advisers.



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Last week this column covered the issue of independence - that of financial advisers.

This week, in the interests of impartiality, it is turning its critical eye a bit closer to home; that is the coverage of personal finance issues in the media.

The financial services industry and the journalists who cover it do largely exist in a bubble.

It is by no means the only industry to do so. But within these bubbles it is very easy to get lost in discussions which actually have very little to do with the end consumer; the investor.

For example regulation, it has been debated, chewed upon (and spat out occasionally) but despite being covered extensively, nothing much has changed.

Some would argue things are worse for investors.

That is not to say navel gazing and introspection does not have its place but the industry does need to give itself a sense of perspective and develop some self awareness. Maybe even more of a campaigning ethos.

On Twitter, for example, there are numerous calls to arms, mainly from the PRs of large pensions and life insurance providers, who invite journalists to events which talk about the issues affecting investors. However what benefit is this really?

We know the issues and talking about them amongst ourselves is not helping the vast majority of the UK, which remains financially disenfranchised.

The farthest the industry has got in helping consumers is via websites which help people save money via the best credit card deal.

Even it is debatable as to how educational learning to save money via coupons and the best credit card deals - essentially ways which actually might be encouraging unnecessary spending.

It might even be some people’s opinion that  the real money made here was not in the money saved by consumers but in the affiliate deals the websites signed with the credit card companies themselves. 

The financial services industry is capable of great things, but as my grandmother would say - it needs to do less talking, and more doing.