The first General Election I really remember was 1979 – watching John Craven’s Newsround break off to Downing St as Maggie entered No10.
The first national party conference I attended was Brighton 1984, when Maggie and her Cabinet survived the IRA Bomb and the miners strike raged around us.
As I studied economics in the late 80s at St Andrews, home of the new Adam Smith-ers, the Big Bang started to transform the City and with it the UK’s fortunes.
For my generation and countless others my life has been shaped by Maggie and her premiership.
And the fortunes of financial services – for good and bad – were unleashed by that term of office.
Britain’s longest serving 20th century Prime Minister embarked on a personal savings revolution and council house sales were just the start.
To come were personal pensions; the expansion and globalisation of ‘The City’; privatisation and the emergence of the ‘Sid’ culture: individuals who directly owned shares for the first time.
For readers of Money Marketing – her premiership created the ‘IFA’ itself.
Were all those changes good?
I believe her direction of travel was right. Of course some reforms were not, or turned out to have unintended consequences.The personal pensions ‘scandal’ led to an ebbing away of confidence in retail savings.
Many would say an artificial ‘wall’ between IFA and tied advice did not reflect the realities of the market or of consumer understanding.
An unbridled focus on home ownership created the conditions for a lending and credit bubble, the effects of which we now live with.
As a Scot who supported her, I was never in the majority. But it would be wrong to say she unleashed the devolution or independence debate, it was there for all to see in the 1970s.
While the sense of ‘north’ vs ‘south’ deepened under her Premiership it was always there in any case and remains so after two decades.
Without Maggie the financial sector would not have reformed on its own.
Share ownership would have remained the privelege of the few. Homeownership would only have remained an unobtainable dream.
The financial adviser – in all its forms – would not have been the same.
Maggie’s legacy will always be controversial but her big political idea, personal responsibility, did much to fire up finance.
She will always be Maggie to me and Thatcher to others – but she changed our world.
There are few politicians of whom we can say that.
Iain Anderson is director of Cicero Group