The vanity sale

A lot of companies struggle to differentiate what they do from what their competitors do.

If they carry high overheads – posh offices, high payroll and big marketing budgets then there is no way price can be the differentiator.

All too often , the “unique selling point” of the highly priced offering is lamely termed “thought leadership“.

All too often, thought leadership is simply a positive spin on showing off.

I was invited to a French Bank recently to review their DC offering – it turned out to be a series of equations which (were I a rocket scientist) would have convinced me that sense is not common but the intellectual property of investment banks.

Samuel Johnson wrote a great poem – the Vanity of Human Wishes– listen to it being read here if you’ve got five minutes – the rest of this blog is a paraphrase!

Vanity – such a great word!

 The quality or condition of being vain.

2. Excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments; conceit. See Synonyms at conceit.
3. Lack of usefulness, worth, or effect; worthlessness.

a. Something that is vain, futile, or worthless.

b. Something about which one is vain or conceited.

Vanity is self-delusional. One can but wonder at the root cause of the vanity that we see in so much of financial services.

But this self-delusion is nurtured by the tolerance of others. Look at how we have let bankers believe in their own myths.

Emporer’s new clothes!

The truth is that we would like their to be magic bullets that will provide us with the free lunches we think we deserve. There are no free lunches, the products that bankers sell are as ineffectual as the Emporer’s New Clothes and the old adage

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true

Portrait of Samuel Johnson commissioned for He...

Portrait of Samuel Johnson commissioned for Henry Thrale’s Streatham Park gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in Bankers, Change, pensions, Retirement and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The vanity sale

  1. Mike Atkin says:

    I wish I could read something on this blog that I could challenge – but t’would require me to be untrue to myself.
    C’mon GB

Leave a Reply