Wells Street Journal: Providers arm advisers

What do your freebies say about you? Last week’s Money Marketing Retirement Strategy Summit at more-glamourous-than-it-sounds Luton Hoo, pension providers had all their wares on show.

Scottish Widows went for the practical approach, handing delegates handy multi-adaptor mobile phone chargers, presumably in an attempt to prove it has left its days of poor adviser support services far behind.

Royal London took a different tact, delivering bulging sacks full of golf balls, tees, and purple umbrellas. Clearing the mutual wants to be associated with funding fit and active retirements.

But the hardest marketing ploy to read came from Retirement Advantage – until recently known as MGM Advantage. In an effort presumably to prove the versatility of the firm’s new drawdown/annuity blend, advisers were given Swiss army knives branded with the provider’s new logo. Should advisers take this as a sign blended products have all the answers they need, or simply that they should use their newly acquired blades next time they have an audience with the regulator?

As is customary at MM‘s pensions events, the wine and whiskey flowed into the early hours.

According to a source – who assures WSJ he stayed up simply to glean wisdom from veteran advisers – two hardy delegates spurned taxis and decided to walk the mile-and-a-half cross country path back to their rooms as the sun began to rise.

An insider told WSJ the hotel had been expecting a tame night from the pensions conference and would be imposing a strict adviser curfew at next year’s event.