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Independent View

It&#39s a fact. I can prove that all the time and relativity theories are wrong.

For years, the great academics, scientists and mathematicians of our time,

and indeed the great forefathers before them, have convinced us all that

there are 60 seconds in every minute, 60 minutes in every hour and 24 hours

in every day.

This is, without question, a load of tosh. I can prove without question

that, from the age of 30, time moves at a completely different speed to

those who are younger. I am mostly the same person I was five five years

ago, with a few improvements, I hope. When I look out and view the world,

it has not changed that much.

The countryside is still luscious and green, the birds still sing and it

rains all the time. It is amazing the observations that can be made while

stuck on the M25. However, and here&#39s the scary part, my features have

started to change so quickly it is like sharing a bathroom with a stranger.

For example:

A: My stomach (overnight it seems) has grown into something that a

furniture maker would be proud of. The ergonomically designed contours make

a great place to balance my wine glass, a feat only made possible through

years of training.

B: Because of fashion, I used to lie on the floor to do my trousers up –

now it is out of necessity.

C: The conversation at the hairdresser&#39s has changed. It is no longer

about the parties I am going to, no no, it is now about the different

shades of highlights in my hair. Another way of saying grey – she&#39s very

polite.

However, the thing that really got me thinking about the passing of time

was the two new members of staff at our head office. They were born in –

wait for this – 1981. Arrgghh!

But I&#39ve only just left college, I exclaim, I&#39m still young and trendy. I

can still hear them laughing at that one. “You&#39re old enough to be our

dad,” they say.

Oh lummy, it&#39s actually happening to me. As much as my youth is maintained

inside my head, the outside indicates I look like their father. The cheek

of it all.

What was I doing at their age? Oh yes, I was a yearaway from joining this

great industry of ours, all by accident, of course.

I can&#39t say I lay awake at night as a child in Norfolk planning my career.

The burning desire to get into financial services was, to say the least,

undiscovered at that time although, interestingly enough, I did meet

someone recently who did lie awake at night, he was that excited about the

prospect of becoming one of us, or at least I think that is what he said.

My first job in financial services was in the City. I was so well

“trained” I ended up selling myself not one but three General Portfolio

variable investment programmes. Doh!

It is scary to think back to the days before the Financial Services Act.

Thank goodness it arrived, the way people used to be trained was a farce.

By the way, I would like to point out that I did not work for them

directly.

Did you see the Panorama programme on the May 22? Who should have special

mention but General Portfolio. It appears that every time there is a

programme about misselling and bad practice, it gets attention.

And what individual should pop up again but Mr Patmore, ex-General

Portfolio head of sales. Bless him, he must be under the impression that

people really don&#39t like his style.

He may well have his initials interwoven into his hall carpet (allegedly).

He may well have a business card that lists him as an author, music

publisher, motivational speaker, management consultant, pilot, personal

development consultant and international telecoms consultant but does he do

a good job?

I am sure he does. After all, he appeared to be champing at the bit when

he was asked to participate in an interview on Panorama. Or maybe not. I

wonder what he is doing with himself these days?

Time is indeed a funny thing, the older you get the more your memory seems

to fade, not for everyone but for some. You see, some of us will always

remember the bad things that happened in the past. A chameleon may be able

to change its appearance but it is still a chameleon.

Mark Howard is managing director of Maddison Monetary Management

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