Monday, 23 January 2012

Wealth Managers

Will someone please explain what a 'Wealth Manager' actually does -other - of course - than help himself to a reasonable percentage of your wealth every year for his questionable services. Twice in the last week I have asked people what they do - to receive the answer ; 'Oh I'm in Wealth Management.'  Now I have a sneaking suspicion that a Wealth Manager is what used to be called a Financial Adviser which in itself was a euphemism for what was once a Life Insurance Salesman, who, if my memory serves me right was the lowest of the low in the financial pecking order and usually the refuge for the seriously thick and unemployable.

Now I admit that this is quite a clever move by the Financial Rip Off industry. After all there was no kudos in having a Life Insurance adviser and not much in having a Financial Adviser either but just imagine how impressed the neighbours must be when you casually let drop that; ' You have an important meeting with your Wealth Manager'        

Friday, 20 January 2012

Sir Fred Goodwin

I think virtually everyone, with the presumed exception of Sir Fred himself, is agreed that he should be stripped of his knighthood what though is a little sad is that now this process is carried out by some dull and boring committee. Not so in days of old. In 1621 two knights (businessmen coincidentally) were found guilty of exercising harsh monopolies over the licensing of inns and suffered the punishment of being publicly degraded.

'Sir Francis Mitchells sword and gilt spurs, being ornaments of knighthood were broken and of the Knight Marshals men...cut the belt whereby the culprits sword hung, so let it fall to the ground. Next the spurs were hewn off his heels and thrown, one one way the other the other. After that the Marshaks attendant drew Mitchell's sword from his scabbard and broke it over his head...'  Great stuff and done in Westminster Hall it would be standing room only with tickets probably changing hands for well over a hundred pounds.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Jeffery john, dean of st. Albans

Poor Jeffrey John is apparently throwing a bit of a wobbly over the fact that no one wants to make him a bishop because he is gay.  According to the Sunday Times he has hired a leading Discrimination lawyer and is threatening to sue the poor old church of England under the Equality Act unless they make him a bishop smartish. Well hang on a second. Just how many of the seven deadly sins is the good Dean guilty of here. So he is very cross at not being made a bishop so he is guilty of WRATH,  He is also envious of others who are bishops so he is guilty of ENVY not to mention PRIDE that's three so far though we must absolve him of LUST as he is apparently in a celibate civil partnership with his long term boy friend.  Still to be guilty of three of the seven deadly sins is surely a bit over doing it for someone who hankers after a bishops mitre, not to mention all those lovely embroidered vestments which you get to wear when you are made up.    

bankers bonuses

We will soon be entering bankers bonus territory and newspapers will already be preparing the headlines castigating the greed of the bankers.  They are of course right to do so but the banker bonus culture is just part of the excessive pay scandal not just in the City, or in Industry at Board level, but in football as well.  The difference in football is that the fans, who through excessive seat prices actually pay the wages, get to boo and insult any non performing player, and do so with vim and vigour.

Not so the long suffering shareholders of the banks ( that's us in the form of the taxpayer in the case of RBS) who are unlikely to receive any dividend payments for many years while the miscreants who largely caused the grief go on awarding themselves fat pay packets and fatter bonuses.  We are told that they need to be paid so generously because without their special skills the banks would be in even great poo than they are now. Well I wonder about that. I have met quite a number of these bankers over the years and, with the odd rare exception, have been singularly unimpressed by either their intelligence or their ability.  Years ago I found myself, for lack of any other candidate who was prepared to take the risk, running a beaten up Lloyd's reinsurance broker.  I very soon worked out that what, on the surface seemed to be extremely complex was, actually, extremely simple and once one had formulated a plan and got some good people in to do the work there was  very little for me, as Chief Executive, to do except to go out and have a good  lunch.   I mentioned to someone that I felt a bit guilty about this and they told me not to be so stupid as the role of a Chief Executive was to do himself out a job by ensuring he had good people working for him.  After that there was nothing to do but act as the Chief Salesman for the company and make a few decisions and if that meant having lots of good liquid lunches so be it. He was right of course, which means those Chief Executives who are paying themselves millions are ripping the arse out of the system as- if they really are working so hard - they have obviously failed in their primary task of ensuring that they have good people to do all the work - while if they do have good people to do all the work - getting paid millions for just having a lot of good lunches does seem exceedingly  greedy.