Ten days ago, Al Rush and I were steaming down the motorway in Al’s £850 Jaguar to Port Talbot. When we got there met some steel workers and some retired steelworkers and people who ran the rugby club and we met some IFAs.
Yesterday, our conversations were the subject of a parliamentary question asking whether the Government would be sending the FCA to sort out what had been widely reported as a “feeding frenzy” for sub-standard advisers.
Christopher Woollard of the FCA had , the day before, made it clear to the DWP select committee that that was exactly what the FCA intended to do, and for all I know, IFAs are being stalked through the streets of Swansea and Bridgend as I type.
That we’ve got so far, so quickly is down to social media and to Josephine Cumbo and others who have picked up on it. I cannot think of another instance of these things working so well.
I meanwhile am in Amsterdam, chairing the inaugural Life and Pensions Conference for Europeans wanting to know what we are getting up to and vice-versa.
I try to opt-out of work and take holiday to go to these kind of things. We at First Actuarial don’t have much commercial interest in Pan European Pensions but that doesn’t mean that what Dr Olga of Dow Chemicals has to say about joining the Aon Master Trust, doesn’t touch me – or that understanding how Dow’s participation is part of a pan-European strategy , masterminded from a Belgian hub – doesn’t interest.
We heard a German robo-insurer explain that excess profits (they work to a 20% fixed margin) go to charity and not the policyholder. Apparently this reduces fraud (Germans would rather rip off a shareholder than a charity). If you want to see how an app can bring together all aspects of an insurance policy from premium to claim – get GETSAFE from the App Store from next week.
Clive Bolton spoke feelingly of his time in charge at Aviva and I shared how the members of BSPS mobilised through the Facebook pages set up by Rich and Stefan.
I’m preparing now for day two and reflecting that the little insights – like the GETSAFE fraud-prevention scheme, help our understanding of the big picture – the dynamics surrounding the DB member experience (for instance).
The distance between Amsterdam and London is no more than London and York, but there is something about this town which is quite different from anything you can find in Britain.
In former days, I came to Amsterdam to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh and the coffee shops. These days, I prefer to wander the canals in the mornings and evenings and to enjoy the incredible diversity and culture of this cosmopolitan city.
It was fitting that I went to dinner last night with a Moroccan and Macedonian. Meriem and Annetta are organising this conference and I’d like to give them a big shout out for making such a good job of it.
Thanks to all yesterday’s speakers, especially my good friend Theo. We have one more day today and this evening I am out on the town with the remarkable Sikko before a late night flight home to the cold reality of work.
I hope I can refresh myself today.
I hope that over the weekend I can catch up with the many requests from steelworkers looking for good IFAs, thanks to all those good IFAs who have been in touch. There is plenty of work for you to do and you don’t have to blow your marketing budget on chicken and chips in a basket!