George Pitcher is an incisive and witty commentator, whose columns I have enjoyed and learned from over the years. However, in his article on the financial services industry (MW last week), he missed the point. Our comments to the Sunday Times, under a rather hysterical headline, were not about us but the plight of ordinary investors.
As Pitcher says, as an industry we have been able to weather the tough markets of the past few years reasonably well. We don’t need anyone to stand up and plead on our behalf unlike, it seems, the Government, which he is keen to defend. But who speaks up for private investors? Just when they had begun to venture once again into the long-term savings (equity) market, they are seeing yet more tax-based incentives to save being whisked away.
The Government giveth and the Government taketh away, you may say. But what people need is a consistent and coherent savings policy in the long term. They do not need a tax break today, gone tomorrow. The tax break on pension savings has lasted more than 50 years – that is long term.
As the UK’s leading unit trust company, we want precisely what the Government wants: more people to save more for the future. We want to work with the Government to achieve that end, and to rebuild confidence in an industry battered by pension, insurance and investment trust scandals which, as Pitcher rightly points out, have not helped our nor the Government’s efforts.
This is not about Fidelity or the industry. It is, as he rightly
points out, about individuals’ trust and confidence in the savings market. By removing incentives to save, even as it exhorts people to make better provision for the future, the Government is sending out mixed signals.
We were trying to articulate the need for greater confidence in the Government’s commitment to the needs of the private investor, not to beg for any special treatment for ourselves. I don’t believe it is peevish to wish for the Government to act in a way that is consistent with what it says, just as Kevin might wish the same from his parents.
Tadworth, Surreystretch the imagination of any brand marketer. Like many others, I immediately thought of Only Fools and Horses, when Del Boy and Rodney created the “Peckham Springwater” brand, its source a hosepipe, supply courtesy of Thames Water!
Perhaps their proposition would be strengthened if pop star Javine was replaced by a Del Boy sampling “Peckham’s Best”.