I would further suggest that the web is mainly the province of those who fall into the middle to upper socio-economic groups.
I remember around eight years ago I was heading to a football match at Tottenham with three other IFAs. Parking near the ground tends to be on the minor roads on the many housing estates that encircle White Hart Lane. On the way to the game, we were discussing the merits of Sky. As I recall, two had it already and two did not.
As we parked, we were sent into silence after I pointed out the number of sky dishes on the estate homes we parked alongside. Essen-tially, almost all the flats or houses had one. If we now went back to them and asked how many had broadband, I would suggest it will be in the minority although recent options on accessing the channels via the web may alter that but that is not my key point.
As the Thoresen report is tested by the pathfinder project, the reliance on the web concerns me. The obvious medium is TV, whether implicitly or directly. The interactive services remain underutilised and yet would access the very audience we need to engage.
The other essential development needed is the creation of low-cost flexible savings plans, where the taxation issues are minimised and charges kept to the minimum using modern investment options usually and somewhat ironically for the richer clients.
We need to create a nation of savers if we are to have a nation of investors who will need to seek out professional advice, otherwise we will be moving in ever diminishing circles or markets.
This has to be a partner-ship between the sector and the Government. To date the investment managers have escaped relatively unscathed from the pressure on charges and this cannot continue. Why they should be insul-ated, especially when their performance in the main is so pedestrian mystifies me. It also reminds me of a polo shirt given to me as a present in the past. In fact, I received two, one an original and the other a copy.
The copy washed better and lasted far longer than the original, not perhaps what we are conditioned to expect.
Managers that cannot beat cash over five years should have their annual management charges reduced but in many cases they escape scrutiny as their customers are passive.
Major banks are often paying a pittance for management (perhaps that is all its worth?) then adding on a healthy slice which has little connection with the concept of added value or more correctly the value delivered.
For too long, people in this sector have been paid too much for deliver- ing too little and now the time of reckoning is on the way.
It is too late to stop this and ironically the part of the market that will drive this will need it the least, that is, those who can afford to pay will pay less and the moral dividend will fall to those who need it the most.
Communication is important but the web is just one conduit and to ignore the alternatives is to skew the outcomes.