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Inside Edge

Well, what a week that was. On Tuesday morning, Misys ann-ounced an agreed

bid for DBS Financial Management, bringing considerable technology savings

for product providers and real hope for a truly outstanding, fully working

IFA quotes and service portal within the next 12 months or so.

It will be great to work closely with Ken Davy and his team to enhance the

position of all 27,000 IFAs within the financial services profession in

conjunction with Aifa.

On Thursday, I managed to get to Ladies Day at Ascot, thanks to the

hospitality of Shirley Smith at Zifa. Ian Thorneycroft from DBS was there

and I was delighted to hear that his Jaguar, which you may remember was

reported in this paper a few weeks ago as stolen from a garage forecourt in

Huddersfield, has been found – in London and 7,000 miles on the clock

later. I suggested to Ian he look to see if they can be claimed as

“business mileage”.

To cap it all, I went to see Huddersfield Giants Rugby League team play

London Broncos, as a guest of Giants chairman Davy. Ken was very happy at

the end of the day as the Giants managed to secure their first point of the

season after 16 matches and avert a Super League record of 18 consecutive

defeats. A thrilling draw for Huddersfield, bottom of the league, against

London who were sixth.

I thought of this on the journey back from Huddersfield to Oxford as I was

going to discuss final-salary company pensions this week. Between 1970 and

2000, the average life expectancy of a 65-year-old man has increased to

almost 20 years from 15. This means an extra cost for the final-salary

schemes of about 30 per cent. Also, many schemes have had disappointing

investment returns relative to fixed-interest securities over the last

decade, with gilts achieving an average 9.4 per cent a year real while

sterling corporate bonds managed about 10.5 per cent a year. Scheme

surpluses, therefore, were hard to come by.

It is many of our clients&#39 dreams to be able to take early retirement

whether they are saving in final-salary schemes, defined-contribution or

Pep/ Isas. This is becoming more difficult to achieve as someone retiring

now at, say, 55 can expect to live until 85 so 35 working years to support

30 retirement years.

The Government has an issue in the pension arena which it needs to

add-ress. People need to save more, from an earlier age, and be able to

manage how they take their benefits and from what “retirement” age. This

needs careful consultation with the financial services profession and

leading IFAs in particular to help the Government in its aim of health and

welfare for all.

A challenge and one that the capped costs of stakeholder at 1 per cent a

year is not helping, as sales and marketing to the great British public is

needed as much as supposed cost savings. The biggest cost will be companies

and employees not getting the professional advice they need.

I bring it all back to the stories about Misys and DBS. People like Ken

Davy and myself, as past president of the LIA, care deeply about the

profession we are in. Now, more than ever, is a time to assist advisers to

be able to effectively and efficiently supply quality advice to individuals

and companies. The competition or challenge is in getting the right

message across to the right people and we all have a duty to do that.

Andrew Bedford is head of marketing at Misys IFA Services

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