Money managers under the microscope
Good news for fundies, bad news for nephews
The National Association of Pension Funds isn’t quite as rambunctious as in the days of fat-cat bashing by Christine Farnish, but it still offers up intriguing glimpses into the lives and loves of the nation’s worker drones and retirees.
The latest survey (of 1,248 British full and part-time employees – for the record) makes very clear the priorities as people prepare for retirement, with full pockets winning a convincing victory over full hearts.
Some 71 percent pick out financial security as a bedrock of happiness in the dusk of life, and they want to be fit enough to splurge it all on escorted Rhineland river cruises and hydraulic beds; good health scores 69 percent.
It’s maybe a bit depressing, though, that just 45 percent think happiness will come from the love and attention of their family and friends. (More people say they’d get a kick out of travel in retirement — presumably escaping the unwanted embraces of significant others. One in seven respondents said the one thing they would miss most in retirement was time away from their partner…)
It’s a good bit of news for the fund firms flogging investments, and trying to tap into that fear of a penniless retirement. Respondents remain unconvinced their current pensions will deliver them the security they’re after (just 34 percent say they’re confident) and that means they’ll be trawling the market for products which can help make up the perceived shortfall.
Retail money has started to come back into the market, Schroders being one recent beneficiary, and new funds are seeking to sell the benefits of diversification to private investors stung by losses in narrow portfolios during the financial crisis.
One example has been Fidelity’s China Trust, the prospectus for which landed on my desk this morning (it was published online last week). What’s most attention-grabbing isn’t the 15 percent performance fee, but the marketing rouse of a draw for free holiday for two to Hong Kong for those investing via ISA. I guess if you win, you could always take along your husband or wife, son or daughter, and perhaps take the opportunity to explain your retirement priorities in the baldest possible terms.