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Sam Jensen

When Gartmore. Jupiter, M&G and Threadneedle announced plans for a fund

supermarketto rival Fidelity, they could hardly hide their glee that they

had poached a former Fidelity man to head the project.

As chief executive of Consolidated Funds, the new fund supermarket, Sam

Jensen says he will be combining the best of US and British ideas in the


Starting projects is what Jensen does best. He thinks about business

constantly and says his greatest strength is getting new initiatives under


Two months since his arrival in the UK, Jensen says he is particularly

excited by what the new fund supermarket will offer IFAs. With four of the

leading fund management groups as its founding players, the supermarket

will be an excellent service for IFAs to offer their clients, he says.

Technology is an increasingly competitive environment and IFAs have an

important place within it, according to Jensen.

“IFAs are in an excellent position at the moment. They are the reason we

are launching Consolidated Funds. It is because IFAs are being challenged

that they need to offer the sort of services such as access to fund


“IFAs need to improve the tools they are providing and, as consumers are

faced with increased product choices, there will always be a need for

advice. IFAs can offer this and, if they provide good service, they will

keep clients who are willing to pay for it.”

Jensen is keen to reassure IFAs that Consolidated Funds will offer them a

service rather than compete with them.

“I can absolutely say that Consolidated Funds will not go directly to

consumers. It will not take IFAs&#39 clients. We will comply with strict legal

boundaries as we understand that the clients belong to the IFAs and we will

not bemuddying the waters by acting as a consumer service.”

Some might say it is a tall order to bring together four major players to

launch one project but it looks like Jensen might be the man to deliver it.

He has over 15 years experience working in the US for a number of major

financial services companies.

Since graduating from Harvard University in 1985 with an economics degree,

he has spent time as a door-to-door salesman but has also had considerable

experience of providing internet services to the financial sector.

Jensen helped to implement retail customer segmentation databases for

Chase Manhattan Bank. His most recent position has been as director of

marketing for Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds, where he was responsible for

e-marketing and the creation of a website for financial advisers.

The 37-year-old says he has had a varied and engaging career and enjoys

working in finance. The most exciting part of his career so far came when

he helped to establish Fidelity&#39s Funds Network supermarket in the US.

But he gets tough when talking of Fidelity these days. The Funds Network

supermarket will be in fierce competition to Consolidated Funds.

Jensen says while his new position at Consolidated is not quite a dream

come true, it is not far from it.

But why has he landed on our shores to follow his dream when the US is

usually considered the market leader?

Jensen says, as far as financial services is concerned, the UK is ahead of

the US in many ways. In fact, he claims the Consolidated Funds venture

could not have taken place in the US although he tried to make it possible.

“The four fund companies coming together and crossing organisational

boundaries is not something that could happen in the US.

“I was part of discussions about getting this going in the US at one point

in my career but I was unable to get that jumpstarted. The landscape is

different in Britain with not as many big players so there are more

opportunities for this sort of project.”

There is a buzz in the UK financial sector which the US lacks, says

Jensen. He believes this is because companies are more outwardly looking

and a cosmopolitan atmosphere exists with companies looking at the European


But one thing that Britain lacks, as far as Jensen is concerned, is his

family. With his wife and two young daughters still in the US, Jensen can

be seen catching the plane across the pond on Friday afternoons. Jetlag is

something he has no time for and he is always back at his desk first thing

on Monday morning.

It is the people who make a place, says Jensen, who is looking forward to

enjoying the distractions of London. But this is not something he has had

time for so far, being too involved in his new role.

Consolidated Funds is due to launch in November and Jensen says it is an

exciting time and he is glad to be playing a pivotal role.

“I am so excited about this opportunity. All that stands between what

could and what will happen with Consolidated Funds are my thoughts and the

team&#39s hard work.”

But he is constantly looking for the next vertical learning curve. “If you

are not learning, you are not bettering yourself,” he says, predicting he

will have more of an advisory role with Consolidated Funds in five years

time. By then, he will probably be on to the next big thing.


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