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Attitude to risk may depend on the age of the client or the business. Younger people lean more towards risk, as Michael Pagliari explains in this TV show.
I think that goes back to sort of life cycle questions. As clients are younger and are looking to build assets they may well have a higher disposition towards risk and that might lead them towards more growth-type portfolios. As clients advance through that life cycle and perhaps sell a business or begin to retire then it’s really a question about draw-downs and inheritance tax planning and so on, and portfolios tend to de-risk to some extent. So as you grow through that life cycle portfolios do tend to sort of de-risk over time.
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Merger business advantage should be the first consideration when joining with another company. Giles Murphy of Smith & Williamson looks at quantifying the business benefits of a potential merger.
I think the question of what are the advantages of a merger is actually the first question we will often raise with clients when we’re talking to them because quite often people will end up in conversations with other firms simply because there is a relationship there and somebody believed it was a good idea.
Bearing in mind the pitfalls and the downsides, and the costs involved in a merger, I think it’s very important that right up front people fully understand what the benefits are and can articulate them, and actually also put a monetary sum against them so they can actually quantify what the opportunity is.
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I think we often talk about the five Ps as being principles why mergers won’t take place.
Those come down to property, pensions and annuity arrangements, you’ve also got the people aspect of it and the culture.
There’s the profile of a firm or the brand, if you like, and how that’s going to be portrayed in the market.
And the fifth one is just the general level of profits, the comparable levels between the two firms.
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Life expectancy is rising. Mike Fosberry of Smith & Williamson discusses successfully advising a growing number of retirees.
I think the successes are people obviously living much longer nowadays.
Longevity I think it one of the biggest issues we face economically from a family life perspective. It's a huge impact in terms of well an economic perspective in terms of things like care costs, etc.
And how do you deal with longevity?
People are, let me say, they're retiring at 65, they may have a spouse who's three years younger than them on average, that's normally the case. One of them is likely to be alive in 30 years’ time, actuarially speaking.
So that's a huge issue because their retirement life may in some cases be longer than their working life. So do you have enough money when you retire to sustain yourself through what could be a very long retirement?
And bear in mind that the latter stages of the retirement are probably going to be in pretty poor health as well. So how do you cope with that? How much money do you need to cope with that? And so we've got to get people focusing on those issues now.
Government is looking at it.
Obviously we've seen extension of state retirement age. For most people it's going to be 67 or 68, perhaps longer in the future.
That's only part of the solution the government will put to it. They can't afford to increase the amount of money set aside for things like care bills, we haven't got the money to do it.
So there's going to be a huge incentive or a huge requirement for people to fund for themselves.
And that's part of my job, making sure that they focus on those issues.
In terms of success, well we have a lot of clients who are well into retirement, in their late 80s, who seem to be surviving on the income and capital that we're able to provide them with in their retirement.
So I'm touching wood when I say this because ultimately peoples’ expenditure patterns, etc differ.
But in the main I think we've done a pretty good job. And I think one of the issues there is being in a situation where you're able to provide that long term advice and have the capability of being able to do that as an organisation.
______________________________________________________________________________________Life expectancy is just one issue that is changing the ways businesses are thinking and operating. Inside Finance will bring you more perspectives on the big issues in 2014.
The digital economy creates a lot of unstructured data. In this TV show Nigel Huddleston discusses the challenge of making it relevant to your business.
There’s a real hot topic around big data and it means lots of different things to different people.
But I think the key is, is finding an intelligent way to make this massive confusing information relevant to what you’re looking at.
I think in the hospitality sector again, one of the key things is, is bringing in data from third parties and your own data in a meaningful way
So integrating things like your loyalty programmes with search behaviour, you know, who’s looking for what hotels in which cities and at what times and from what devices, and being able to track that with your own data.
And bring all of these bits of information together so that you can both serve the user but also carry out transactions and push information to the user in a meaningful way.
It’s very confusing. There’s lots of companies out there trying to help with this at the moment.
It’s early stages but it’s very, very important to the industry.
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One of the things with data is what we use with it, both as Google, but also as a provider or a supplier of holidays, content hotels.
That one of the key things with data is to make sure that it’s permission based, so that you’re using information the way that the user allows you to use.
And that means that the onus is on you to make sure that if you’re using that data then it’s useful to the consumer so that you’re using it in a way that’s going to be helpful to them.
So if you’re checking into a hotel or about to arrive at a hotel and maybe they’re kind of following you from the airport and can see through mobile that you’re on their way. As long as you give permission.
They know that you’re ready to check-in, that they know what room type that you prefer, they know what you like in your room in terms of flowers or drinks in the bar, all of those things are potentially useful, but only with the user’s permission.
But again, early stages there, there’s lots of exciting things going on in using user information.
I think it’s very early stages in this big data field. I would say we’re probably two out of ten in terms of where we can go with this.
And who knows where it’s going to go, you know, it’s almost as if it’s the early stages of the dot com era again in terms of the power of big data.
Connected marketing relies on well developed personal brands to share company content. Our latest video from Bob Barker explores the issue:
A lot of companies out there have been using traditional marketing mechanisms.
They’ve been using digital marketing, and what we see is that more and more marketing has got to rely on the individuals in the company to help get the messages out because it’s those individuals that are often the sales people and it’s the individuals who themselves have got networks.
So what we do a lot of is helping people to understand what their personal brand is all about and to make sure, for example, on LinkedIn that they’ve got a decent profile because Google’s going to find you on LinkedIn if somebody’s looking for you quicker than any other platform, so you need to look the part.
You need to be dressed well, and so on and so forth. And then there’s the whole thing about network maintenance, or understanding and managing your network.
So we’ve all built up contacts on our Outlook or whatever it is, and we’re beginning to build up more and more contact on LinkedIn as it becomes more the de facto business platform for business people connecting.
So we have to put time in and understand how we build and nurture our networks using something like that.
And then the other thing is that now we’ve got a brand and we understand our network, we’ve then got all this content that the company’s produced that might be relevant to what we’re talking about but nobody’s sharing it.
So a lot of companies are building all this content and people aren’t sharing it, like these videos.
We see in large companies, when you look at the shares, nothing’s going on, and so we help companies to understand.
We help the individuals in those companies to understand it’s their responsibility to help get this content out there because on the internet when people are researching companies and they’re looking for what people, you know, what companies are all about, they’re doing a lot of their research without the company knowing.
So unless that company’s got content out there and people are interfacing and being out there, and having their brand out there, they’re not going to be visible when companies are looking for who they want to do business with and who they might trust.Inside Finance TV will continue to explore connected marketing and the surrounding issues- look out for more TV shows from Bob Barker.
I think there are a variety of things, one is my earlier point that not many people in business now have actually been through this process before. I think the second one is that the whole thrust of shareholder value and the, you know, the financial economic engineering that there is mitigates against that kind of risk taking for the long term.
I don’t want to get into a short termism kind of rant.
But there is a definite prejudice against taking those kind of long term risks.
And I think the third thing is as well that the media, the politicians are pretty bad at suggesting we’re ever going to get out of this, you know, they’re almost making a meal of the gloom.
And so even if you are a businessman who has an optimistic streak about your own business, it’s very difficult to be optimistic about the wider economy because every time you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper, you know, you get slapped in the face, I think it’s bad news.
There is a big difference, there is a big difference because you walk in a room now and people know of you. Before, you'd walk in a room and people would like... they might know you, they might not know you but only through introductions.
I walk in a business meeting now or a business room now and it's like oh yeah that's Colin he won all those entrepreneur awards last year.
So it gives you that bit of negotiating power as well, and I guess belief in the business BetterBathrooms and the belief in you as an individual to back you.
So much so, because we've done so successful as a business, we've just done an equity release deal, so we've just got an injection of a lot of money, I can't comment on until after Sunday because Sunday papers hopefully will be publishing.
But the whole thing brought together and it's, like I say, it's been an amazing 12 months.
I've had another Sky interview and a few more BBC Radio interviews but also because of winning entrepreneur of the year you get other opportunities. So I'm involved in the tenner campaign which is a government backed campaign where we give £10 to students at high school and they basically use that £10 to buy a product and resell it.
And this is something that's rolled out nationally.
So I went to a school in Manchester and worked with their students and it was amazing, like you're talking about 11, 12, 13 year olds who were thinking like entrepreneurs, they were really into it. I guess the Apprentice TV thing's really helped that. So I've been involved in that project, I've been involved in other charity stuff.
So it's just allowed me to get to another level for people to actually recognise that actually this guy's quite good at business and not only that, if this kid at 32 years of age can do all of this I wonder if he can share that knowledge.
So I've actually got involved in a few other things since then, a few other businesses and I'm mentoring someone now who's 21 years of old who's the next, in my opinion, the next super geek and he doesn't mind me saying that.
I'm a bit of a geek myself. So it's been an amazing journey this last year.
For me the other one I think is be really aware of your financials. It's not only from... it's a dash point that you know at each point in time what your financials look like but then also making clear that your key staff understand key financials.
And don't be scared of communicating that with your key staff. Another one I think is growth, we see a lot of businesses that immediately are incentivised of diversifying in terms of products and new markets very quickly.
We always say stick with the knitting, sell more to your existing customer base and a term at Cranfield we use, is like squeezing the lemon.
So if you think about a fridge, you want to get as much lemon out and not end up with a half-rotten lemon at the end of the week.
I think that is another important lesson to hand out and I think if I had the last possible one to squeeze in, it would be, I think, think about what you want to be as an entrepreneur.
What role do you want to play, where do you see yourself in a few years time?
And so make sure that you build a succession that will allow you to do the things you're best at and not be the hero or the meddler but be the one who works on the business and rather in the business.
A key thing I put forward as an investment, I mean that history shows that the companies that do well in the upturn are those that manage to maintain their investment and their marketing and basically the fabric of the business intact so that when the upturn came they could take advantage of it.
Those that as it were waited until it was obvious missed the boat.
And yet if you look at the levels of investment, the levels of marketing and all these indicators in the UK economy, it’s clear that for the most part people are cutting back.
And so they’re not actually looking through the current difficult times so that when the good times do come an awful lot of them aren’t going to be ready and so they’ll miss the markets.
Entrepreneurial spirit will be portrayed in various parts of a persons character. In this TV show Julie Meyer discusses persistence.
I’m fairly good at picking up on how much steel somebody has in their spine. So, you can tell and it’s not just the level of intensity or the stare that they give you, it’s more you can kind of sense in how concerted an effort. People betray their level of persistence in many ways and I don’t know how, it’s almost like a neural network after you’ve done it for so long. But you can kind of sense whether somebody’s going to pull through, for example, with Alastair Lukies of Monitise there’s just something that I felt about him that he was extraordinary and exceptional. And, you know, when he got his first client he secured the first client and he sent me a text message, it was like a Friday night in 2006. And I remember getting a text message that said, you know, 106 meetings, 76 nights away from my wife, but we have a client today. And, you know, that’s irrational, that’s obsessive behaviour. Normal people do not do that, normal people don’t just keep on going. Now, he wasn’t just banging his head against the wall, what he was doing was constantly learning, constantly retargeting, adjusting. And so the man is extremely smart, which is why Monitise is doing, you know, Monitise will be one of the most important companies ever to have been founded in the United Kingdom. But it takes an irrational level of persistence. And I think I’m pretty good at figuring out whether somebody is up for that.There are many more great videos about entrepreneurial spirit and business success on Inside Finance. Look out for more briefings on the subject.